Friday, October 1, 2010

The Chronicles of Peleg, Book One: Foundlings

Fans of fantasy fiction are in for a treat with Foundlings, the first book in a new series, The Chronicles of Peleg, written by Matthew Christian Harding. According to Harding, "Foundlings is historical fiction that takes place in the time period of Peleg, soon after the tower of Babel dispersion". Dragons, giants and huge beasts are common throughout the storyline adding to a more fantastical experience for contemporary readers.

Harding, a homeschool Dad, offers a young earth creationist Biblical worldview which he says, "conforms to the Word of God". "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", he says.

Understanding Harding's motivation for writing the Chronicles of Peleg is equally noteworthy. The author states in his testimony that he is a former member of the occult saved through divine intervention only God could orchestrate. His credentials include an English degree from St. Olaf College and a Masters in Special Education from the University of Arizona. The greatest motivation, however, came from his love for his children and the desire to share meaningful stories with them at bedtime. "When I put the children to bed at night, they would often ask to hear stories about when I was young. Tiring of the same routine, I began to make up stories that got longer and more intricate, sometimes lasting for months", he says.

Encouraged by his wife to record these works of fantasy, Harding began to write the Chronicles of Peleg. To date he has completed, Book One: Foundlings and Book Two: Paladins. Harding says he plans many more to follow.

Foundlings is designed to appeal to children ages 10-12 and older. Younger children may enjoy the novel as a read aloud. My 13 year old daughter, however, is not a fan of fantasy fiction and did not enjoy the novel. Unfortunately, I also struggle with fantasy literature often feeling I have to work too hard to learn a new vocabulary, and follow complex plot lines. It is a personal genre preference that kept me from enjoying all Foundlings had to offer. I could not identify with the characters easily and the rich descriptions were not enough to carry my interest forward.

In an effort to give Foundlings a fair evaluation I passed the novel on to my 21 year old daughter, a self-professed fan of Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis, both genius fantasy authors in their own right. Her review of Foundlings was more favorable, "It's creative, but very long and drawn out. I felt it was overly detailed. I would still recommend it however, to lovers of fantasy fiction, especially because of its Biblical content", she said.

For those who enjoy a unit study approach to literature study, Harding is intending to publish a companion book which will investigate the historical, Biblical and character building themes of the literature. Consideration is also being given to creating a lapbook and educational game in the near future.

Foundlings and Paladins can be purchased at Hardings website,, local bookstores,, Barnes &, Ingram and Baker & Taylor. The 256 page novel sells for 11.95 in paperbook format. Harding offers free shipping on his website for all customers. In addition, a "money back guarantee" accompanies each purchase.

* As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received Foundlings for free in exhange for this review. My review is a reflection of my honest opinion of the book. *

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