||Nov 26, 2011
Inspirational allegorical fantasy that includes adventure, mystery, humor, romance, and the best qualities of a “good verses evil” story.
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The young protagonist, Jejune, questions how conflicting theories can all be true and the ruling Illuminati brand him a troublemaker. Miserable and longing for something more, he decides to leave his home in Lofty Thought with his constant companion and alter ego, Wigglewot. He sets out with a clear goal to seek Wisdom, but things get complicated when he meets Worldly Wisdom and her sister Heavenly.
Follow Jejune into the Valley of Shadow where dangers and temptations await. Ethereal shadows hurl fiery darts and an injured Jejune gets off course and the dangers aren’t always so clear. When he meets the lovely Lady Chary, she uses her charms to lure him further into the valley. Along the way, Jejune decides to head to the Eternal City, but every village founded on the River of Tradition offers a different way to gain citizenship there. Then to his horror, Jejune learns he won’t be granted citizenship because of his Condition. There’s only one answer. Follow the Narrow Way and find Truth. He holds the cure!
The Inheritance, by Donna Sundblad, is written within the allegorical tradition of classics like Pilgrim’s Progress. It offers a literal but symbolic story for today’s fantasy enthusiasts. You’ll laugh, experience dangers, snares and witness a budding romance. This cleverly devised tale doesn’t tell you what to think, but stimulates thought as to why you believe what you believe in your own quest for the Eternal City. The Inheritance is an ideal discussion starter for youth groups, homeschoolers, and families who enjoy meaningful discussions.
The sun settled large and orange against the horizon while the two pilgrims gathered leaves and long pine needles into two piles.
"This makes me think of what Heavenly Wisdom told us." Wigglewot dumped his load of pine straw onto the beach.
Jejune gathered his makeshift bed near the fire and stopped. He glanced at Wigglewot and scratched his head. "What do you mean?"
"She said we would have what we needed along the way. Look around. With these trees around this lake, we have bedding and everything necessary to build the fire and water to drink. It's exactly what we needed."
"Hmmmm, you're right." Jejune added a large piece of driftwood to the fire and eased onto his bed of leaves. He patted his knees. Wigglewot jumped from his collection of foliage and pine straw into Jejune's arms. They rolled back and laughed, knocking the foolish hat from Jejune's head. "This is great. Let's have a piece of that fruit." Jejune rubbed his stomach and grabbed the bulging pack. "It's what we need." He laughed again.
Wigglewot hesitated. "I'm not sure we should have taken the fruit. Heavenly Wisdom told us not to take it."
The smile on Jejune's face wavered and vanished. "You're right." He stared at the pack in his hands. "But, I'm hungry." His posture slumped for a moment, but he straightened his back. "No one will know." He reached into his pack and pulled out a large pulpy piece of green fruit. "Who would fault a hungry person that needed food? And…and Worldly Wisdom said that we should take it." He took out the map and spread it on the ground in the flickering firelight.
"This is food. It's what we need." He slipped the dagger of power and might from its sheath, wiped the blade on the front of his tunic and cut into the succulent fruit. The peel curled and dropped among the pebbles. Jejune laid a slice on his tongue. "It's even more delicious than the yellow fruit." The blade cut another thin bit of the tart fruit. "Here." He offered a morsel to Wigglewot.
"I'll wait until later. I'm not hungry enough to eat that." He jabbed his tiny finger toward the tidbit dripping at the end of Jejune's blade.
Jejune shrugged, tipped his head back and dropped the fruit into his mouth. Wigglewot flitted to the ground and wandered to the water's edge, jumped into the water, and ran back and forth along the shoreline. He cupped his tiny hands and slapped the surface of the water sending a spray onto the shore. "Come on, Jejune. You have to get cleaned up."
The young man shook his head and smiled. "All right." He tossed the core of the fruit into the brush. "You don't have to tell me. I know I've got to wash. Surrogate didn't raise a barbarian, you know." He slipped his sandals from his feet. "It aggravates me when you tell me what to do." He stood. "Ouch." The stones poked at the bottom of his feet. He pranced across the stony beach toward the water. His feet reached the waterline. Without warning he jumped, grabbed his knees, and hit the water with a big splash.
"Bet you can't catch me." Wigglewot dipped below the surface.
Jejune dived. The moon offered little light beneath the murky surface. He groped in the darkness expecting to grab Wigglewot when his fingers grazed against something in the shallow water. His lungs screamed for air while he lingered to feel the corners and latch of a chest. He tugged at the box but it didn't budge. Droplets sprayed as he popped to the surface and gasped for breath.
"What are you doing?" Wigglewot asked.
"I found something." Jejune shook water from his curls and wiped his eyes. "I think it might be a treasure chest. It's right here." Moonbeams rode the ripples he created as he pointed toward the dark surface of the water, sucked in a breath, and disappeared.
Water splattered when he popped into view holding the small chest. "I got it!"
Wigglewot flapped his wings and hovered above the water, his little wot curled in a question mark. "Let's see what's in it! Now, this is adventure!"
Christian Book Reviews: The Inheritance by Donna Sundblad
You'll laugh, you'll cry and you'll shake your head in frustration sometimes as you wonder when Jejune will ever learn from his mistakes and make better choices. He's on a quest to find Wisdom but like many of us, he finds himself distracted by the promises of worldly pleasures or the pain of worldly loss. Join him on his quest to find Truth in the Eternal City.
Digging Deeper into This Christian Allegory
The most compelling feature for me as I lived the adventure with Jejune was the skill with which Sundblad literally brought her characters to life on the printed page.
Jejune, just like the rest of us, made many poor choices. Sometimes he learned from them and made better choices but all too often, he yielded to the temptation of the world or the flesh and made the same bad choices repeatedly.
I could empathize with him (I’ve made my own poor choices)!
I found myself trying to encourage him or exhort him mentally as I devoured the pages to find out what would happen next.
Jejune does meet a fair lady—in fact, he meets two of them, lucky boy!—and gets himself into a bit of difficulty.
I won't spoil the plot for you by telling you any of the revealing details, but I think you will find this subplot to be one of the better portions of the book.
Stay alert or you will miss the clues to the surprise ending of this side story.
The other thing I really liked was how Sundblad used allegory and symbolism to represent Christian concepts and principles without being “preachy” or trying to influence my thinking processes.
This excellent book would be perfect for a women’s study group or youth group looking for something besides the traditional Joyce Meyer and Beth Moore offerings (which are great study books, by the way!)
The two classic Christian allegories I mentioned earlier are both fine books in their own right, and they have places of honor on my bookshelf. I am thrilled to add The Inheritance to my collection as well. If you are looking for other reading and audio visuals materials with a Christian worldview, you might want to check out the Bibleman series from Thomas Nelson as well. Bibleman, who is played by Willie Aames in some of the DVDs and Robert Schlipp in others, fights evil with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Kids get a good dose of high-energy action packed adventure mixed with a healthy dose of scripture. What's not to like?
Fiction Writing - Bella Online
The Inheritance, a Christian fantasy novel by Donna Sundblad, is a modern-day version of Pilgrim's Progress. This is not a rewritten version of Paul Bunyan's classic, but an original fantasy story, one that proved to be exciting and hard to put down.
The protagonist, Jejune, is unhappy in Lofty Thought. He feels there is more to life, that something is not right in his village. Surrogate, the lady who is his guardian, is good to him, but he misses his parents. Sometimes he wonders if they are still alive. His father and mother had set out on a quest to find Truth, but never returned. Jejune wonders if they found what they were looking for.
Jejune does not get along with the pundits (wise men) who rule his village. The day before his Coming of Age ceremony, he finds out his father had been the ruler of Lofty Thought, but his position left him unsatisfied and he, too, knew there must be something more. This is why he had undertaken a quest to find Truth. His mother, who had ruled in his father's absence, eventually followed along.
Jejune inherits the ruling position in Lofty Thought, but instead chooses to set out on his own quest to seek what is true. Before he leaves, he puts Surrogate in charge and declares that anyone who seeks to be part of the Illuminati must set out on a quest and complete it.
Jejune sets out to find the All Knowing One and the Eternal City with his alter-ego companion, Wigglewot. While searching for Wisdom, confusion and doubt set in when he meets up with Worldly Wisdom and her sister, Heavenly Wisdom. The reader gets to accompany Jejune on journeys that take him though places such as Syncretism, where anything goes and everyone just agrees to disagree, and Rumor Lodge, where the food and rooms don't cost money, only juicy gossip. The reader journeys with Jejune through the Valley of Shadow, a valley full of dangers and temptations. Then, Jejune discovers he has the Condition and must find a cure before he will be allowed to enter the Eternal City.
The author has skillfully woven symbolism throughout the book. Each character's name has a special meaning. For example, Jejune means understanding or describing ideas in a way that is too simple. Chary means unwilling to do something because you are afraid that something bad is going to happen. The names of the villages also have meaning. Syncretism, the village where anything goes, means the attempted fusion of different systems of thought or belief.
Jejune meets many people along the way, along with a lot of opposition, both friendly and unfriendly. He almost gets married for the wrong reasons, then falls in love for real. At the end of his journey, will he be reunited with his parents? Are they still alive? Will Jejune find Truth at last?
I believe that anyone would find The Inheritance a joy to read, no matter what your age or beliefs. This book mirrors the walk we have as Christians in a world filled with things that distract us from our Lord and Savior. Younger readers may not yet be able to grasp all of the symbolism that is intricately woven throughout Jejune's journey, but that will not take away from their enjoyment of the story.
My copy of this Christian fantasy novel was sent to me free of charge by the author, Donna Sundblad. If you would like to purchase a copy for your own reading pleasure, I have provided an Amazon link for you below. Right now, it is only available as a Kindle ebook and can be read with Kindle, either a hand-held one or one installed on your PC. It will also be available in print at Amazon in the near future.
Book Review: The Inheritance by Donna Sundblad
A Rich, Mysterious Beginning
Since I work with young children every day, and then take care of my husband, three kids, three cats, a dog and sometimes my youngest daughter's goldfish in the afternoons, I rarely get the chance to sit down and enjoy a good book geared toward adults. Recently, I decided to take a little bit of time for myself and read The Inheritance by Donna Sundblad.
As I began to read the book, the first thing that caught my attention was Sundblad's choice of names for the characters and places in the book. The reader will quickly grow accustomed to names like Illuminati, Pundit Tenacious, Punctilious, Wigglewot, and of course the main character, Jejune. Places are given creative names such as the Village of Lofty Thought, the Valley of Shadow, and a most important city, The Eternal City.
Within the first chapter, the reader's attention is captured with mysteries which make it difficult to put the book away. The story opens with a vivid description of the town and it's surroundings. The reader gets a feel for the atmosphere surrounding the story. The main character, a Seeker named Jejune, is inside a counsel chamber before the High Pundit Tenacious. The reader is not immediately aware of the reason for the counsel session, but is given just enough information to stir curiosity. The reader can't help but wonder who Jejune really is and why has he found himself inside the chamber and before the High Pundit. Soon, the reader learns that Seeker Jejune questions the philosophies of Lofty Thought.
The first chapter of The Inheritance is rich in mystery. Before the end of the first chapter, the reader is anxious to read on to find the answers to questions such as:
What is a Seeker?
Why does Jejune question the philosophy of Lofty Thought when others follow the philosophies and traditions without question?
What are the philosophies of Lofty Thought?
What is the Fountain of Tradition and why is it important?
Where is the Eternal City?
Why have so many searched for it?
Once one reaches the Eternal City, are they trapped forever or do they choose to stay?
What is Truth?
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Jejune has not seen his parents since he was a young boy. His mother and father left Lofty Thought in search of a place called the Eternal City, but they never returned. Just before Jejune's Coming of Age ceremony, he sneaks into a forbidden room where he believes he will find answers to many questions concerning his parents, his mysterious heritage, and the Eternal City.
Within the room, Jejune finds a journal. The journal doesn't describe the way to the Eternal City, but it does list a few routes that do not lead the way. Jejune must decide which way to go.
Jejune has decisions to make. Should he remain in Lofty Thought and fulfill his duties or should he leave Lofty Thought in search of the Eternal City?
The only thing he knows at this point is that he must search for Wisdom. Jejune believes Wisdom will lead the way.
Jejune finds a way to fulfill his obligations in Lofty Thought which results in a little twist on the chain of authority there while he satisfies his longing to search for Truth and set out on his own quest for the Eternal City.
During his journey, Jejune finds himself in a few predicaments. He is distracted from his quest and questions his decision to leave Loft Thought on various occasions. His path leads him to interesting characters who help Jejune find his way. He must rely on the advice of Understanding, Prudence, and Humility, just to name a few. At times, Jejune finds himself struggling to decide whether to follow the way of Heavenly Wisdom or Worldly Wisdom.
To make matters worse, he discovers he has a "Condition" and must find the cure. Otherwise, he will not be permitted to enter the Eternal City, even if he finds it. As if Jejune didn't have enough to worry about, his travels are made more interesting when he meets a young lady. The young lady accompanies Jejune on his quest for she has similar ambitions, or does she?
The two face obstacle after obstacle together and Jejune becomes more and more aware of the confusing ways of women. This particular woman is particularly confusing and when Jejune is at his whits end with her . . . well, let's just say he "gets more than he bargained for."
Finding more advice from his new friends; Understanding, Prudence, and Humility helpful, Jejune finds his way back on the "narrow way" in search for a cure for his "Condition" and the Eternal City.
Questions and Answers
The first chapter of The Inheritance leaves the reader anxious to find answers to questions. The body of the story builds on those questions and leaves the reader pondering over the answers while presenting the reader with a few more questions:
What exactly is the Condition?
Why can't a person with the Condition enter the Eternal City?
Is there a cure?
The answers to all those questions are revealed by the time the reader gets to the end of one of the craftiest, most delightful stories I have ever read.
Spiritual Warfare in Human Form
The story of The Inheritance includes adventure, mystery, humor, romance, and the best qualities of a "good verses evil" story, including the snares of a Dragon and the tragedy of great loss. In the Inheritance, the "good guys" are not just "good guys" and the "bad guys" are not just "bad guys." Imaginative characters take on the names of their personalities.
Each character in the story represents an element of spiritual warfare in human form.
While reading The Inheritance, the reader gains a bit of insight as to why people believe the way the do. The Inheritance doesn't force a belief on the reader, but it shines a light on what makes sense and what doesn't in the real realms of Heaven and Earth.
The Inheritance by Donna Sundblad is highly recommended literature and it will be available in print on Amazon by the end of November 2011.
Knowing the meanings to the following words will enhance the reader's understanding of the story.
Jejune: Lacking knowledge and experience, childish.
Lofty: Exalted in rank, dignity, or character, arrogantly or condescendingly superior in manner.
Tenacious: Persistent, stubborn, keeping a firm hold.
Punctilious: strict or exact in the observance of the formalities or amenities of conduct or actions.
Pundit: A learned person, expert.
Illuminati: Person claiming to possess superior enlightenment.
Quidnunc: A person who is eager to know the latest news or gossip.
Chary: Cautious, careful.
Calumny: False statements made with the intent of harming someone else.
Penury: Extreme poverty, insufficiency.
Halcyon: Calm, peaceful, happy, prosperous.
Pragmatism: the doctrine that the content of a concept consists only in its practical applicability
Avarice: insatiable greed for riches; inordinate, miserly desire to gain and hoard wealth.
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