This is where Heimerdinger picks up a formula that he follows for the rest of his books. So far as I can tell he mixes things up just enough that the formula never gets completely stale.
It starts with some kind of tragedy that leads Jim Hawkins and family back into pre-Christ America. There’s always a love interest with drama for the main character and the main bad guy is some enemy from Jim’s past out for revenge.
If the second book of the series feels like Lord of the Rings then this book feels like the Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. It has the same feel of finally returning to the land that was so beautiful and serene and finding it torn beyond all recognition.
Heimerdinger continues to pepper his story with doctrinal opinion – nothing too radical. It begins to feel a little contrived when villains refrain from doing truly horrible things because of some made up custom – though I have a hard time complaining, as I would not enjoy reading a book where Gadianton Robbers treated prisoners as they probably did in real life.
This is pure entertainment. It’s great adventure and lots of action in a book that is firmly PG-rated with characters that don’t change that much – but they were pretty fun to begin with.