CSFF Blog Tour – The Legend of the Firefish, Day 3

If you haven’t had a chance yet to drop by other blogs participating in this month’s tour, I suggest you carve out some time this week to leisurely explore the online discussion of The Legend of the Firefish by George Bryan Polivka (Harvest House).

We even had a new member who just joined CSFF this week post about our featured book. Why not add a visit to Lisa Cromwell‘s site, just to say hi.

Here are more of the tour high points. We have another excellent interview posted by Chawna Schroeder. You might also want to read the “official” interview at Harvest House.

Of course we have more reviews, too, which gives you a range of opinions about the book. Here are some I suggest you won’t want to miss:

Yesterday Beth Goddard posted a special feature—her favorite scene from The Legend of the Firefish. If you’ve read the book already, it’s fun to see if the one that grabbed you most is also the one that caught Beth. For those of you who are still reading, or who have just ordered the book, you might want to wait.

Speaking of ordering, I understand Amazon only has 3 copies left, though more are coming. I suggest you get your copy ASAP. Of course it is also available at the bookstore nearest you.

As is the sequel, The Hand That Bears the Sword which released July 1..


The Story. The Hand That Bears the Sword takes up where The Legend of the Firefish left off. Some time has passed, however, so there are some significant changes, first in Panna and Packer’s personal lives, and also in the circumstances of their nation. Suffice it to say, there is war on the horizon, because, after all, a foreign agent had assassinated the sword master of Nearing Vast.

That’s about all I can tell you without spoiling the story. Of course, you can suppose that the ship, Trophy Chase plays a significant role. And the firefish is not absent.

There are some startling surprises however, so I don’t want to give anything out that would ruin the impact for you.

Strengths. More of the same. Meaning, what George Bryan Polivka accomplished in the first book, he continued to do here.

His characters are real. He makes these people come alive; gives them adequate motivation; shows their struggles, failures, successes, fears, hopes. In my opinion, Panna is the stronger of the two, and I thought the more engaging. I had no trouble rooting for her.

The plot is full of action and suspense, twists and surprises. Nothing predictable in this story.

The world comes alive, even more than in The Legend of the Firefish, simply because it expands. We are no longer confined to the deck of the Trophy Chase or Packer’s small fishing village. We also spend time in the City of Mann and in far and foreign parts of the world.

In some respects this book reminded me of Karen Hancock’s Legends of the Guardian-King series because of its textured world. There’s diplomacy, legal issues, battle strategy, spies, noblemen, and nobility.

The theme of the book is strong, without being overbearing. It is an integral part of Packer and Panna’s struggles. Because it is advanced through the development of the characters, it does not feel high handed, as if the author is in reality trying to convince the reader.

There is an unending list of what to like in this story. But don’t lose sight of the fact that it is the middle book of a trilogy, meaning that at the end, we are far from THE END. This is good news, in my opinion, because it means I have another great read to look forward to.

Weakness. There’s really only one, but in my opinion it is significant. Not enough to spoil the story, mind you. The problem is Packer. As he struggles with his faith, sometimes I wanted to smack him up side the head and tell him to get on with things. Too often the angst-driven musings came in the middle of an action scene and his fretful contemplation, while representing accurately the struggle a Christian faces to do what God calls, slowed the story down too much, in my opinion. Plus, it made Packer seem weak. What he ends up doing is actually a strong thing, but by appearing to be weak in the deciding, I’m afraid some readers may miss the strength that is behind it.

I realize I’m being circumspect here—of necessity so I don’t give any spoilers. Remember, I do not think this weakness in the story is one that spoils it. I do think, however, it is why I enjoyed the Panna sections more than the Packer ones.

Recommendation. I highly recommend The Hand That Bears the Sword for all Christians who love fantasy, or pirate adventure, or good writing. It’s another winner, one Harvest House is showcasing appropriately.

Published in: on August 22, 2007 at 12:40 pm  Comments (5)  


  1. Once again, Ms. Miller trumps us all by reviewing the next book in the series! The dastardly plot thickens…

    It looks like a great sequel. I’m sure those of us who read the first book will be delighted to read the next.

    I think it’s so much fun that while we are all reviewing the assigned book, you stand back like the master of ceremonies, reviewing the tour itself. It adds a wonderful dimension to this particular blog tour that I don’t get to see in the other tours. Or maybe I’m just dense and don’t know where to look.

    Either way, I really appreciate all that you do to pull this together, Rebecca. I know it’s a blessing for the authors and for the publishers, but it truly is a blessing for all of us too.

    Another fine, fine job by everyone!


  2. Thanks for putting up those reviews, they were very well written. Thank you for picking this book, I really enjoyed this month’s book immensely. I am waiting anxiously now for The Hand that Bears the Sword from Amazon. Any day now!


  3. Hi Becky, today it worked. I’m able to leave a comment. No idea why but this is good. I did spend 3 hours at the Apple shop yesterday (no fun!). I had no Internet access last night so wasn’t able to visit as many blogs as I’d hoped.

    Btw, your site is phenomenal. Your review is fine-tuned and extremely helpful to writers. You have a gift girl.

    Ok, will stop by again another time.

    Janey, your Brit neighbor — http://www.orphansfirst.org


  4. Thanks Becky! As usual I am excited to read “The Hand that Bears the Sword”, especially after your great review. You always have great comments and recommendations.
    Thanks again,


  5. Thanks for the comments all.

    Merrie, Tina usually posts a summary of the tour at CSFF but she was on vacation this week, so I took it up. It’s actually fun to point people to these great reviews. We have some very sharp people on this tour.

    Justin, I appreciate your kind words and hope you like The Hand as much as you liked Firefish. It’s a great series!

    Janey, yeah! 🙂 Your comment came through. Hope that means it’s all taken care of. Thanks for your encouragement!

    Gil, now if someone would just get you a copy of the book … 😀 Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment.



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