HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Keepers of Elenath
Author: Amanda Bradburn
Publisher: Tate Publishing Co., 2009
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Ages 10-15
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Bradburn, Amanda. The Keepers of Elenath (published in 2009 by Tate Publishing and Enterprises LLC, 127 E. Trade Center Terrace, Mustang, OK 73064). Do you know where Elenath is? It is a fantasy world created by the author, Amanda Bradburn. With the popularity of the The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia movies, there is a renewed interest in Christian (as well as non-Christian and even, unfortunately, anti-Christian) fantasy. Elenath is the territory ruled over by the wise and just Lord Nordik, who divided it among the five races, with Anirum going to the gnomes, Aenar to the elves, Glyphwarn to the shadowglyphs, Gwendagil to the etels, and Tamyr to men, appointing keepers to watch over it. However, evil has invaded the land. One of the former keepers, Gnaash, has rebelled and is now the enemy. Through his influence, Ermalan has killed King Theon Swordarm II of Anirum and taken the throne. When Ermalan is killed, his evil widow Zyr takes over and seeks to conquer all Elenath.
Theon’s son Prince Enduan leads the loyal army with his friend Prince Mathean of Tamyr, while Enduan’s sister Gwaeron remains in the capital city of Boronea as a spy. However, Gwaeron and a helper named Aen Blackwolf are betrayed and have to flee, both ending up at Maran Ithael, the city of Lord Nordik. There they learn that Gnaash and Zyr are looking for a hidden vial of black dragon venom by which they can create dragons that will be invincible in their attempt to take over all Elenath. Eight walkers are sent to Mede’s Labyrinth in the Barren Mountains to see if they can find the vial. They include the elf keeper Theloq, who has been Gwaeron’s mentor. Abweneth, the adventure-seeking daughter of Captain Sarr who is second in command at Maran Ithael, sneaks away with the walkers too. Will they succeed in their quest? Will they even survive their journey?
Bradburn, a homeschool graduate, began formulating the ideas for the story in the late months of 2006. She is currently a student at Indiana Baptist College. While not intended to be allegorical, Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings has certainly set the benchmark for Christian fantasy. Over the past few years, I have read and reviewed several fantasy series, both Christian and secular, for young people. All of them have been interesting and enjoyable. However, to me The Keepers of Elenath seems to come the closest to the excitement and intensity of The Lord of the Rings. The ending, while quite satisfactory, leaves the reading hanging on and eagerly anticipating the next book in the series. And the guides to the creatures, their lands, and the main characters, along with the map of Elenath, are all very helpful in following the action. This is a book that I highly recommend to all lovers of fantasy.