Creatures and dragons and unicorns, oh my! All those things and more are what you’ll find when you enter the world of Wynnewood, a medieval village in northern England. You’ll meet Philip, the young apprentice to the town’s fletcher (arrow-maker) and the Ge-sceaft, a frightening creature shrouded in mystery and superstition. Along with Philip, you’ll soon find that the Ge-sceaft isn’t so fearful a creature at all, but rather a young girl with a mysterious secret.
The Annals of Wynnewood include Shadows and Secrets, Cloaked in Secrets, and the soon-to-be released Beneath the Cloak, which make up the adventure-packed trilogy written by Christian author, Chautona Havig, for kids ages 9-12.
The first book in the series, Shadows and Secrets, introduces you to Philip, a boy of extraordinary character and integrity. Unwilling to accept the town’s superstitious tales about the Ge-sceaft, he sets about to befriend the creature. Soon, Philip and “Dove” are fast friends who set out on a series of adventures together. Interwoven into their adventures are Philip’s recounting of the stories and characteristics of his God, who is not fully accepted in an area filled with polytheistic beliefs. From discovering that dragons do exist, to saving the village lord’s daughter, Philip and Dove find one adventure after another.
The adventure continues in Cloaked in Secret, with Philip and Dove searching for the mythical unicorns. Do they really exist? Will Dove and Philip be able to capture one and tame it for Lord Morgan? You’ll find out in this second round of adventures, which includes danger, secrets and even war.
The characters in this Christian adventure series are engaging and believable. Parents will appreciate Philip’s loyalty, work ethic, unfailing integrity, and faith in his God. Young readers will appreciate his sense of adventure and his bravery. The books provide a mostly-realistic look into daily life in medieval England, along the lines of Lord of the Rings — complete with detailed maps and ancient vocabulary, alphabetic characters and spellings, but without the wizards.
The books are evangelical in nature, as opposed to many books in the Christian fiction genre which let you know, within the realm of the tale, that they are Christian, but never go much more in-depth than that. It is Philip’s desire to see his non-Christian friends and neighbors come to know Christ and accept God as the one true God. The reader will find familiar Bible stories retold in varying degrees of detail, such as Noah and the Ark and the Battle of Jericho.
The book also includes some degree of theology, with an explanation by Philip of the Trinity and occasional discussion between him and Dove as to why God might have done one thing or another. I don’t think it’s anything that would offend most Christian parents, but, depending on your denominational beliefs, you may want to pre-read the book. There was also a brief reference to the Pope in which it crossed my mind to wonder if Catholic readers might take offense, but I wasn’t sure since I’m not Catholic and don’t know a great deal about the Catholic faith.
Overall, I found the books to be well-written page-turners that would capture and maintain the interest of young readers. I enjoy a book where the personalities of even the secondary characters are well-developed and interesting, which I found to the case in the Annals of Wynnewood books…enough so that I’ll probably have to purchase the third book when it comes out so that I can find out what happens!
I received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it. I received no other compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my personal, honest opinions. Your experience may vary.