A Mosaic in the Making

    Zoe & Sozo Publishing - Foundlings

    Nicki Black  October 1 2010 09:57:35 PM
    Image:Zoe & Sozo Publishing - Foundlings

    Zoe & Sozo Publishing
    3034 Millers Landing Road

    Gloucster, VA 23061



    Item Details:


    Book Title: The Chronicle of Peleg, Book One, Foundlings

    Author: Matthew Christian Harding

    Genre: Historical Fiction (Although I would also put it in the Historical Fantasy genre)

    Publication Date: September 1, 2009

    ISBN: 978-0-9823484-0-6

    Book Length: 256 pages

    Price: $11.95

    Age Appropriate: Late Elementary/Middle School Aged

    Markets: Homeschooling, Young Adult Christian Reading, Creation Movement, Christian Family Reading

    Image:Zoe & Sozo Publishing - Foundlings

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    Want to see what my fellow TOS Crew members thought about Foundlings, by Zoe & Sozo Publishing?


    Image:Zoe & Sozo Publishing - Foundlings

    I am not one to read fiction, especially anything of the fantasy or LOTR flavor. I prefer to get those (smallish) doses via the big screen. Between the pages, my cup of tea would be how to make a cup of tea - namely - non-fiction. I voraciously gobble up trivia and fact, and store away such information in my mental Roladex to pounce on my unsuspecting victims as we debate such things as How To Cook The Perfect Roast, to What Is The Most Expensive Hotel Room In The World (the Royal Penthouse Suite at the President Wilson Hotel in Geneva, at $55,000 a night), to How To Change The Tile On Your Kitchen Floor. *insert Gunsmoke theme song* Muahhahaha.... My DD, on the other hand, absolutely LOVES fiction, ESPECIALLY the fantasy genre. I guess that's good, since at the moment I never have to worry about her borrowing any of my books and misplacing them. I suppose that's bad, since she may never learn what goes into a chicken pot pie from scratch or how to upgrade your seat from coach to first class. Anywho, the DH and I are acutely aware of, and do not allow reading of any kind of fantasy that opens the door or has even subtle nuances to things of the occult, or witchcraft, or demons and ghost-like themes. And believe you me, there are more books from this hook (line and sinker) than there are of "clean" fantasy, so we are very tight on what we allow our kids to take in through their eyes and ears, and subsequently, their hearts, and we vet all books before our kids read them. When Zoe & Sozo sent us Foundlings, I admit, I was a wee bit weary of what would lie between the pages. Much to my thankfulness, also included with Foundlings was a packet from it's author, Matthew Christian Harding, explaining the backstory on the book and on himself. I was reassured exactly what the back of the Foundlings book purports - "No Magic. No Evolution. No Humanism.". To our family and our value system, this meant a great deal.

    The story itself is set after Noah's flood, and after the Tower of Babel and it's scattering of mankind. Beasts roamed the earth and outnumbered humans. Fighting for their survival and place of authority over the beasts, mankind's plight unfolds in all it's ripe allure for struggle and warfare, ire and wrenching resolution. Certain kid-loving characteristics in Foundlings holds up against any other type of book in it's class, for starters, the "odd" sounding names of people and places - Grimcrack, Oded, Igi Forkbeard, the Chronicler. The story focuses around (upper class) Lord McDougal and his trusted (lower class) shield-bearer, Fergus Leatherhead. There are bogs and forests, crossbows and castles. Amidst the battles between giants and dragons, there is also a subplot throughout of Lord McDougal's annoyance and unhappiness that Fergus strives to be indentured at his side, and Lord McDougal feels greatly uncomfortable with the whole class system itself.

    Image:Zoe & Sozo Publishing - Foundlings

    Let me give you another glimpse from the back panel of the book, straight from the author: "Foundlings, book one of The Peleg Chronicles is Historical Fiction that takes place in the time period of Peleg, soon after the tower of Babel dispersion. In its pages we meet dragons, giants, false priests, the death hunt, an under-city of the Dwarven Brotherhood, and many memorable characters. The story begins with Lord McDougal and his faithful shield-bearer, Fergus Leatherhead, departing their lands with giants at their backs, while before them lie in wait denizens of the bog-land and forest.  Ever ready to protect and serve others, they gather in tow an assortment of displaced adventurers and find themselves embroiled in a mysterious search for the foundlings: orphaned Thiery with his companion Horatio the white wolf, and Suzie who has been deceitfully retained by the thieves Elvodug and Flemup. Others also seek the foundlings, and their purposes are most sinister - Dragon Priests who practice cozen sacrifices, and their leader Count Rosencross who is torn by his God given conscience and his pursuit of personal glory. Onward toward the city of Hradcanny they travel, meeting with treachery, beast attacks, camaraderie and psalms of praise with an eye toward the gospel. Though their battles are at times fierce and the outcomes uncertain, the author maintains the integrity of these noble characters, who through weakness are made strong by Him in whom they trust. Foundlings weaves together the Biblical principles of chivalry, truth, courage, duty, faith and love within the framework of Genesis, and a bold adherence to its historicity. It's an exciting page turner that leaves you wanting more, but more importantly it leaves the reader with Godly heroes to think on and emulate, and a young earth creationist view of history that conforms to the Word of God."

    What we found is that Matthew Christian Harding clearly defines that evil, no matter how "little" or wrapped up in a pretty bow, is still evil. There is no grey area in that, no rationalization that evil might have made some kind of good decisions along the way or helped a brother out, so therefore, have become suddenly "good". I did like this quite a bit, as in my opinion, there are an awfully lot of kid-friendly, animated movies and television programming out there that delves and dabbles into "good witches" and "nice spells", but at the heart they are still spells and witches. For our family (my opinion, not a judgement against yours), this is not ok with us, nor a value we want to open up to our kids.

    A couple of other observations I'd like to make is that while this book states itself as historical fiction, there are some discrepancies apparent to knowing adults, such as the author using modern day weights and measures, instead of what Biblical times would actually employ. I also found the story a bit too simple in verbiage and structure, lacking the meaty and vocabulary-rich pages of LOTR, or even Narnia. The beginning of the story also was a little choppy, not really finding it's stride until somewhere in the middle. Granted, this book is suited to younger audiences, so I let this slide. And though I am pleased that there was a line in the sand drawn about good and evil, I did not like the human sacrifice references, nor the dark overtones. Again, such things are actual found in the Bible, so it may be a matter of my own taste in genre, and what imagery makes me comfortable. I still have a hard time reading through Revelation without my bed covers pulled up to my nose, LOL.

    In closing, I do want to point out that at the very end of the book, Matthew Christian Harding shares the Gospel flat out, with scripture to back it up. I thought this was a beautiful way to wrap up and solidify God's grace and love, and draw out the heart of this novel. All told, my DD really loved Foundlings, and I would definitely let her read other books in this series.

    Happy Homeschooling!

    Disclosure/disclaimer statement, as required by the FCC:

    I have been given this free product in order to write this review. I used this product in my home, and the comments and thoughts shared herein are solely my own, based on my personal experience. Any products reviewed by me as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew have been given to me free of charge in order for me to provide you with an honest and genuine review of those products, and how we used the products within our family. I receive no other form of compensation for the reviews posted on this blog.

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