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Between Two Kingdoms Paperback – March 1, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joe Boyd is a teaching pastor at Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. A gifted communicator, teacher, and storyteller, Joe has been speaking at conferences, events, and churches since he was a teenager. In 2002 Joe left vocational ministry to work in Hollywood as a professional actor and screenwriter. He and his wife, Debbie, live in Cincinnati with their two sons.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Standard Publishing (March 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0784723583
  • ISBN-13: 978-0784723586
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.4 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,606,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jason A. Coker on March 15, 2010
Format: Paperback
Joe Boyd's fairytale, Between Two Kingdoms, begins with the words of Chesterton, promising, by proxy, an adventure of truth, danger, and perhaps even a dragon waiting to be vanquished. What follows is a delightful tale of childhood faith, broken people restored, and, yes, a dragon of sorts, set within an imaginary realm that somehow contains two very different kingdoms.

Joe Boyd has been on quite the adventure himself over the past thirteen years. During that time he helped to plant a large "church-within-a-church" in Las Vegas in 1997, then transition that into APEX, a decentralized house church network in 2000 (Joe's story was recounted in the 2005 book Emerging Churches by Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger). Boyd is now the Teaching Pastor at the Cincinnati Vineyard Christian Fellowship, and working to integrate his passions for the Kingdom in a new city.

One of those passions is creative expression (Boyd is also a professional actor), and Between Two Kingdoms is his take on a Kingdom of God fantasy, complete with a King, good and evil Princes, a magical doorway between two realms, and an atmosphere of both innocence and tragedy. Throughout the tale, we follow our reluctant hero, Tommy, as he endeavors to follow his hero the Prince of the Upper Kingdom. Together they seek to rescue wayward subjects in the Lower Kingdom. Along the way we discover a little something about what it means to to have faith, be a friend, recognize true danger, and, perhaps most importantly remember what needs remembering and forget what we need never hold on to.

There is much more in this densely packed fable. There are swords, rescue missions, perilous confrontations and mysterious creatures.
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Joe Boyd is an author whom I've just encountered. "Between Two Kingdoms" is a riveting tale of two vastly different places. Boyd's writing style is simplistic yet also profound. As other reviewers have so eloquently stated, he has a God-given gift for conveying difficult concepts in an easy-to-comprehend style.

The Upper Kingdom is a beautiful land governed by a benevolent king and prince who rule with strength and love. The people of the Upper Kingdom are eternally seven years old. Imagine the luxury of eating warm, chewy chocolate-chip cookies for breakfast each and every morning! Tommy is often sent on missions by the prince to the Lower Kingdom, a land of darkness ruled by a malevolent Dark Prince. Those who enter the Lower Kingdom must face the horrors of lost innocence and rapid growth. Can Tommy rescue his friend, Bobby, from the Lower Kingdom before it is too late?

I was thoroughly mesmerized by the spiritual truths contained within this beautiful story. Mr. Boyd is never preachy, and the best part of this book is the excellent characterization. Tommy is steadfast, yet his vulnerability is superbly portrayed. The Prince is valiant yet also loving and gentle. The other characters are equally well drawn.

My favorite aspect of the novel is the way in which children from the Upper Kingdom help those in the Lower Kingdom to build tree houses. These structures give the subjects under the Dark Prince's spell a glimpse of the Upper Kingdom. Although the bespelled subjects often spend their time arguing over the composition and look of the tree houses, (thus missing the valuable point of why the houses were built), there are those who grasp the reasons the structures are constructed. This truth was beautifully conveyed and very moving.
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Joe Boyd has written a page-turner in this fast-paced fantasy of a Dark Prince's shadowy rule over a land where the True King is slowly being forgotten and usurped. With masterful storytelling and deft cliffhangers closing each chapter, readers are easily drawn into this sharply-imagined novel. A clever plot device poses the inhabitants of the real Prince's Upper Kingdom as eternally seven-years old, making their risky life-and-death mission into the Lower Kingdom a more powerful allegory. Lovers of fantasies from C. S. Lewis to J. K. Rowling rejoice: a new author has delivered the goods! And with a parable that will rattle your view of "real" life.
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It is hard to know how to cast Joe Boyd's book. I think the category of allegory is correct, however, at times I think that parable might be the better word. Rather, a string of parables woven into one longer story. What makes this nice is that you can read the book one chapter at a time, as a sort of devotional, or just plop down on the sofa and get lost in it for a whole night. I'd like to reread it with a group. It is that sort of book that you would want to read with friends and discuss.

The biggest thing I got out of the book was the authors concept of the upper kingdom. As I first read the book I was trying to figure out if the upper kingdom represented heaven or the church. Then I realized that there is no real distinction between the two. The upper kingdom is the "church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity" (CS Lewis, Screwtape Letters). I understood this concept, that the church is God's attempt to bring his kingdom into the world. However, when I finally made the connection in the book it was a shock to my system just how much I had separated the two in my real life. It is perhaps a little sad that I have not thought of the church the way it is presented in this book.

The title of my review is perhaps a bit lofty. It would be hard for me to place any book in the company of Lewis, Sayers, Tolkein, or Williams. Of the group only Lewis is really comparable, as none of the others wrote allegory. While "B2K" might not rank with the best of Lewis' work it is at least as good as if not better than his lesser works (such as Pilgrims Regress). The reason for the title is that the author is clearly influenced by these authors in the same way that Lewis was influenced by MacDonald and Chesterton. He is a good student of these masters. So, if you like Lewis' allegory, "Hinds' Feet on High Places", by Hanna Hurnard, or "Phantastes" by George MacDonald; then you should add this book to your reading list.
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