From the back cover
When Pythius, the wicked young king of Paladya, learns of the hidden realm of Elysiel and the crystal scepter that protects that northern land, he journeys to kill the Keeper and steal the scepter. But his defiant act unleashes a terrible curse, and the Seer foretells his death one day at the hand of his son, now a newborn babe. To thwart the prophecy, he attempts to murder his child, but the queen escapes and sends the babe off in a trunk across the sea, where he is found and raised by a humble fisherman.
Years later, Perthin, the cast-off babe now grown, hears his call of destiny, and is visited by a specter who tells him of the land of Elysiel and of the Gorgon—the evil creature fomenting war in the Northern Wastes. Perthin’s village of Tolpuddle is being ravaged by a monstrous sea beast sent by this enemy, and Perthin accepts the challenge to kill the creature by cutting off its head—although anyone who looks upon it turns to stone. Armed with magical shoes and a legendary sword, Perthin arrives in Elysiel, where the trolls lead him to the ice cavern where the sacred site made of crystal slabs awaits him to show him his future. Perthin feels a strange connection to this land, unaware that he is the heir to Elysiel’s throne.
With the help of heaven’s army, Perthin bests the enemy and returns to stop the sea monster as the beast is ravaging the kingdom of Paladya. He rescues the princess, who has been set out in the harbor as a sacrifice for the beast, and then stops the sea monster by exposing it to the Gorgon’s head, yet through his heroic efforts he unknowingly fulfills the prophecy foretold by the Seer. He returns to Tolpuddle a hero, where many surprising revelations await him as to his heritage and legacy, for he learns he is not truly a fisherman’s son but a king foretold. The Crystal Scepter is an adventurous retelling of the classic story of Perseus and Medusa with a twist, as the heart of the story involves the gates of heaven—the sacred sites erected by heaven to prevent evil from taking over the world of mankind. It also has parallels to the story or Oedipus Rex, the 17th-century play by Spanish playwright Pedro Calderón de la Barca entitled Life is a Dream, and Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors.
FCB: I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading The Gates of Heaven series. How did you come up with the idea for the series?
C.S. Lakin: I actually came up with the idea upon plotting out the second book. I planned to do a number of stand-alone fairy tales, then when in England, I visited Stonehenge, and thought to find a way to tie all the books together. I already had a kind of Stonehenge structure in the first book, The Wolf of Tebron, at the end of the world next to the Moon’s house.
So I came up with the idea of having a different sacred site or gate of heaven in each book, in a different part of the realm. The second book, The Map across Time, goes in deep into the history of the sites and how God set them up to keep evil from taking hold of mankind, and by appointing Keepers that would protect the sites. But since the sites were becoming abandoned and torn down, their protective powers were waning. So the thread now is going to be wrapped up in the final book as the enemy seeks once and for all to destroy all the sites and kill the Keepers.
FCB: What is the biggest challenge in writing “The Gates of Heaven” series?
C.S. Lakin: I think the hardest challenges are 1) coming up with fresh, original plots and characters in a new locale each book and 2) finding a way to tie in the overarching story of the seven sites with traditional fairy tale elements.
FCB: You’ve written a few different genres, which genre is your favorite and why?
C.S. Lakin: That’s a hard question to answer as I love writing in all these different genres. To me, it’s not about the genre but about the story I want to tell. I get a great idea and develop it, and whatever story it’s going to be determines the genre. I have two books I want to write and one is dark humor and the other suspense/thriller. But I’d love to write a play and hope to do a short story collection too.
FCB: Sounds like fun!!! Now for my last question to help us get to know you a little better. Do you have a favorite scripture verse(s) that you would like to share?
C.S. Lakin: I don’t have only one! I use so many Scriptures in my books because the wisdom found there is bottomless and timeless. I often tell people my favorite verse is Proverbs 30:2, which in the NRSV says “Truly, I am too stupid to be human.” Sometimes I really feel that way! No, but seriously, I love Romans 8 and Hebrews 11 as chapters, and I remind myself often that nothing can separate us from God’s love—not even ourselves!
FCB: HA! I think I need to remember Proverbs 30:2, seems to fit some days! Thank you so much for sharing with us. I think The Crystal Scepter is my 2nd favorite book after Map Across Time. I’m so loving how characters and locations are crossing over in stories. I so enjoy escaping life in your stories!
C.S. Lakin: Thanks so much for featuring my series!
To learn more about Susanne you can visit her website at: http://www.cslakin.com/
Once again, C.S. Lakin captures the imagination with a wonderful story of adventure and the timeless truth that it’s about availability and willingness, in her fifth installment in The Gates of Heaven series.
The author introduces us to a new three lands, Paladya ruled by the wicked young King Pythius, Elysiel the enchanted land and home of another of the scared sites, ruled by the wise King Cakrin, and the fishing village of Tolpuddle. We also meet a new cast of characters and yes we also see some “old” ones. The storyline flows quickly and once again the author paints a picture of these lands and the creatures that live there. I thoroughly LOVED the trolls. They made me laugh during each of their interactions in the story. King Pythius is the most evil character I’ve seen so far in this series, his violence was a little disturbing.
My favorite part of this story is watching Perthin grow into his role in the story. As in many of the books in this series it’s not about the strongest or smartest but the one with the willingness. The author reminds us that it’s about being available and willing to listen to the wisdom of the ages.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys escaping the realities of this world into a land of magic and adventure with sea creatures and heros. There is also strong Biblical truths spread throughout the story. Although this is the fifth book in the series they are independent of each other. The author uses small tidbits such as locations and minor characters from other books, but you do not need to read the other books to enjoy this one.
I would like to thank the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book. I was under no obligation to give anything but my honest opinion.
The Give Away
C.S. Lakin has been gracious enough to offer a copy of The Crystal Scepter to one lucky winner. Leave a comment here to be entered. Visit the Favorite Christian Book Facebook, like the page for another entry. I’ll pick a winner March 1!