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Lunatic: The Lost Books    by Ted Dekker & Kaci Hill order for
by Ted Dekker
Order:  USA  Can
Thomas Nelson, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Elizabeth Schulenburg

Johnis, Sylvie, and Darsal live in a world very much like ours, but many thousands of years in the future. They belong to the Forest Guard, an elite group of warriors who protect the followers of Elyon from the murderous Horde. Just sixteen and seventeen years old, they have been chosen by Thomas Hunter, leader of the Forest Guard, to be commanders in his army. Unknown to Thomas, they have also been chosen by a greater force for a secret mission - to recover the seven Lost Books of History, and save the world.

In the first four books of the series, Johnis, Sylvie, and Darsal, along with friends Billos and Karas, have fought unimaginable odds to locate the seven books. Their journeys have taken them across their world, and into a different reality - our own world, where they discovered the strange, wondrous sights and sounds of Las Vegas. They completed their mission, saved the Books from the Dark One, and are now ready to return home. Only three of the Chosen will be returning, however - Billos gave his life to save his friend, and Karas feels more at home in our world now. They are warned that their world had changed much in the time they have been gone, but nothing prepares them for what they find when they return.

The Forest Guard is gone, destroyed by the Horde, who now rule. The followers of Elyon are outlaws, hiding whereever they can, formed into a mysterious confederation called The Circle. Separated from Darsal during their return, Johnis and Sylvie attempt to find Thomas Hunter, or any of the people they used to call friends. As they make their way through the wilderness, Johnis is contacted by a mysterious woman, Shaeda, who has a new mission for him. As her power overtakes him, Sylvie becomes more and more concerned that Shaeda's influence is not for good. Darsal, meanwhile, is taken captive by a Commander of the Horde and made a slave. As the three friends fight to reunite with each other, evil forces are at work, and they begin to wonder if everything they have gone through until now was useless - how can they save the world when there might be nothing left to save?

Lunatic, the penultimate installation in Dekker's Lost Books series, returns his young heroes to their own world, where the series really shines. Throughout the first four novels, Dekker has nurtured their individual relationships, and now those relationships are tested to the fullest, as each of the characters grapples with questions of loyalty and personal sacrifice. Much of this novel takes place within the Horde stronghold, and it is interesting to explore this aspect of Dekker's world.

As usual, the action is fast-paced and thrilling, making the novel nearly impossible to put down. In a modern literary world where the young adult fantasy genre seems to be deluged with novels about fairies and vampires and wizards, this series is a refreshing change - compelling and well written, it should appeal to teens and adults alike. This novel is highly recommended, and I can't wait to see how the story of Johnis, Sylvie, and Darsal is concluded.

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