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The Christmas Chronicles    by Tim Slover order for
Christmas Chronicles
by Tim Slover
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Ever wonder where the Santa Claus legend came from, and how Santa became the man he is today? According to Tim Slover (who learned this story from The Green Book which he acquired in a magical fashion), it all started in 1343 when young Klaus was orphaned by the Black Death in the Black Forest.

Adopted by the Worshipful Guild of Foresters, Carpenters, and Woodworkers, jolly Klaus grew up to become 'a very fine worker of wood', his amazing skill arousing the enmity of Rolf Eckhof, who was only a competent woodworker. When Klaus was twenty the Black Death returned to the village, turning it 'into a Swiss cheese, with holes in most families.' Determined to bring some joy back to the surviving children's lives, Klaus made toys, which he left on their doorsteps on the Eve of Christmas.

This was such a success that demand quickly spread to neighboring villages, and Klaus struggled to meet it. This is when Anna showed up with her reindeer Dasher and helped Klaus deliver his presents. They wed and she helped him foil Eckhof's spiteful sabotage of his work. She also made him a crimson coat trimmed in white ermine. They were both jolly, and the years sped by. They even forgave Rolf Eckhof, who hid his continuing hatred.

When Klaus needed speedier gift delivery, more reindeers magically appeared. And when Eckhof did his worst - and all seemed over - the Green Council convened. Headed by Saint Nicholas, they offered Klaus the choice - and a way - to continue his work in the True North. With the help of Anna and Elevated Sprits, the List Protocols were established and Chronolepsy exploited to get gifts delivered in time. But sadly, Eckhof was still out there and struck again, requiring a new reindeer, Ranulf, to step up.

Tim Slover clearly had fun developing his Christmas Chronicles to answer many of the questions asked by the skeptical about Santa Claus. In closing his magical story, he warns us that the result of Eckhof's evil is that 'Love for Klaus begins to wane. So, too, does understanding of what he really means; hearts knit together, belief in happiness just for itself and in the joy of causing it without judgment or profit, and, above all, hope: hope that in a cold time life will come again.'

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