Updated: Dec 18, 2021
ANTONY B. KOLENC
Age Range: 11/12 and up
After visiting his uncle in Lincoln and solving the mystery of the haunted Cathedral, Xans life has pretty much returned to normal, or at least as normal as it can be. Xans best friend, Lucy, is now permanently staying with her father and no longer at Harwood Abbey, and Xan is trying to be more friendly to John, the bully who always has something mean to say. But after an accident that leaves John blind, Xan tries to make more of an effort to be nice to him and invites him on a journey to Grenton Priory. This new monastery seems odd but becomes even more strange when a precious treasure, the fire of Eden, goes missing. Can Xan figure out who stole it and, in the process, become friends with John, or will he lose it all?
Thank you so much Loyola Press for sending me a complimentary copy of The Fire of Eden! I was happy to read and receive this book. My review of this book is entirely my own. The Fire of Eden is the third and newest book by Anthony Kolenc, and the more books I read by him, the more books I wish he would make. I love his writing style and his way of making readers feel like they are right along with the characters figuring out the mystery. In this book, we see a different side of Xan and see his struggles discerning his vocation and becoming prideful. In each book, we learn more and more about him, and I'm glad that we do. In most books, the main characters don't have many faults and are flat, but not Xan. He feels like a real boy with struggles and problems. I liked when we saw a lot of what Xan was thinking about his discernment to become a monk or get married. It is so hard to know God's will and to wait for him to lead you on the right path, but in the end, God is always right. In one part of the book, I felt for Xan and was so sad for him when he was making his discernment, but I think it will all work out in the end.
In this story, Xan and his friends go to Grenton Prior to see brother Andrew become a priest, and I have to say that I wished they stayed at Harwood Abbey. I didn't really like the new characters as much, and I felt they weren't as good as the others. This is mainly because the monks at this new Abbey do not follow the Rule of Saint Benedict the way they're supposed to and don't seem like the holiest of people. I just like to imagine all religious people being righteous and faithful, but I know that's not always true. I enjoyed this story but not as much as the first book, which I felt was the most surprising and thoughtful. I can't wait until the fourth book comes out to find out what happens to Xan in his next adventure. I would also like to point out that there's a section on how to read historical fiction and then a map of Xan's world in 12th century England at the beginning of each book. Each book ends with an author's historical note and glossary for words that people may not be familiar with. I find these things beneficial, and I am glad that they are put into all three of the Harwood Mysteries books. This series is incredible for any boy or a girl looking for a new exciting story, with some Catholic themes!
Things to Mention: There is some fighting and other violence. One woman lives with a man she is not married to, but there is no mention of this until the end of the book.
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More books in The Hardwood Mysteries:
More books by Antony B. Kolenc:
Catholic Teen Books Anthologies Series:
Treasures: Visible & Invisible (he was apart of this book in the series)
If you have read The Fire of Eden, let me know in the comments below. I'd love to hear your thoughts! Do you have a book you want to be reviewed? Let me know, and I'll add it to my list! Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you're here.