Hand that Bears the Sword, The

Fiction - Fantasy - General
432 Pages
Reviewed on 03/10/2009
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

Cap Hillis has retold the story of the slaying of the Firefish over and over; as legends tend to do, it has grown with each telling. People came from far and wide to see the great Packer Throme or catch a glimpse of Panna, the woman that risks all to save him. Panna and Pack had been married but a brief two weeks when a herald from King Reynard arrived with a message. The Royal Navy had been attacked by the ships of the Kingdom of Drammun. King Reynard had declared war. The “Honeymonth” was over. Packer’s reputation is that of a hero. By placing him at the forefront of the war, Prince Mather believes others will be given courage and a drive to fight for their country. Packer is forced to fight great advisories, pirates, firefish and the enemies army. Panna is confined in the Prince Mather’s castle, where the Prince’s desire for her grows.

The Hand That Bears The Sword is the second book in the Trophy Chase Trilogy. I have not read the first book, The Legend of the Firefish. While The Hand That Bears the Sword will stand alone, I recommend reading them in order. It took me a bit to figure out who was who and what was what. I enjoyed this fantasy novel. The plot is exciting and has many twists and turns. The characters are well developed. You will find yourself cheering the Pack and Panna on to triumph over their adversities. I hope this series is made into a movie! George Bryan Polivka is a talented writer. This is Christian Fiction at its finest.

Grace Brigette Francis

Long, long ago, on the other side of the world, Book One of the Trophy Chase Trilogy incited me to write one of my longest book reviews ever. So to say I was pleased when I finally got my hands on Book Two - well, that's an understatement.

Packer and Panna's marital bliss is interrupted after only two weeks when he is called away by royal decree to go to war. The Drammune navy is sailing to invade Nearing Vast, and the king wants Packer on board the Trophy Chase, now commandeered as the flagship of the fleet. What most people don't know is that the Drammune had already destroyed the entire fleet, which means that the Chase and two other ships are all that stands between Nearing Vast and the huge invasion force. So Packer sets sail against incalculable odds.

Panna, remaining in the palace under royal care, fights off the unwelcome attentions of the Crown Prince in her typical determined manner. Trouble piles up until the prince imprisons both her and her father for their stubbornness.

Across the ocean in Drammun, Talon rises to power in the empire - she's the bad girl extraordinaire that we already know from the previous book. As she gains the emperor's confidence, she also gains insight into the treachery of his council, even while their red-sailed ships fly across the ocean to attack Nearing Vast. This is no straight-laced villain, but rather one who often thinks back to her encounters with Packer Throme and the unusual power he gained by faith.

Back on the ocean, the Trophy Chase and her companions soon run into the enemy. Three ships against hundreds? Watch and be amazed. These naval battles are finely choreographed and cleverly paced - and a hungry Firefish adds depth and complexity to what looks like a hopeless situation.

Once again I'm impressed at how the author captures moments in time, stretches them out, and makes them last long enough to insert every possible impression and flash of enlightenment. Even in the midst of battle there is time aplenty to consider the foundations of your theology while the adrenaline pumps through you. Passionate faith glows in every scene and only ventures once or twice into all-out preaching. The story wraps up with several astonishing twists, not the least of which involves two young princes recognising their own shortcomings with startling results.

Full of awe-inspiring large-scale imagery, personal development and international intrigue. A page turner all the way to the end - far into the night!

S. Devary

This was one of the best books I have ever read. I bought it for my kids and when I previewed it I couldn't put it down.

Victoria Rich

I purchased the trilogy (all three) for my husband and he finished all three within two days. He loved them and was excited to complete one and move onto the next. GREAT READING!!

Michael A. Heald

The Hand that Bears the Sword, by George Bryan Polivka, is the second book of an exciting series - the Trophy Chase Trilogy.

Packer Throme is a fisherman from a poor village. He has been acclaimed a hero in the kingdom of Nearing Vast for his exploits recounted in The Legend of the Firefish. However, when the greed of men threatens to transform his victory into the destruction of Nearing Vast, he must answer the call of duty and loyalty and serve to defend his country in a war against overwhelming odds.

He discovers that God has given him a choice - to raise his hand as the one who bears the sword in blood when no other way seems possible, or to let God work the impossible.

In the first chapter, Mr. Polivka sets the delightful tone of his book.

The man stood unsteadily for a moment, then put a hand to the small of his back, wincing as he stretched. "Awful way to travel," he said.
That being the royal sentiment if he had ever heard on, Cap took a knee and bowed his head dutifully. He wished he had a hat to remove.
"Yokels," the man said.
Cap looked up, startled.
"Stand up, man! I'm not the heavin' king."
Cap struggled to his feet.
The stranger eyed Cap carefully, then spoke in confidence. "He's much fatter than me."
Cap nodded. "Yes, sir."
"I'm his herald." The man said it as though the job had been punishment for some offense. "You have ale inside, I hope?"

After that delightful example of beginning, Mr. Polivka weaves together the stories of the characters who return from his first book. Each must deal with a crisis of faith during, often with intriguing and surprising outcomes.

Mr. Polivka dips into many of his characters' lives in order to get inside their minds and to recount their experiences. Often, these viewpoint changes flow seamlessly and provide a depth to the story that would have been difficult to achieve otherwise. At other times, the multiple viewpoint changes seem intrusive, particularly when a section of narrative summary halts the flow of the storytelling in order to update the reader on what had been happening to the character.

The Hand that Bears the Sword is an engrossing sequel to The Legend of the Firefish, and I am looking forward to reading the concluding volume - The Battle for Vast Dominion.

Tommy Taylor

As both an author and reader of fiction, I was impressed with "the Hand That Bears the Sword". Maybe it is because I have always enjoyed a book that could hold my attention and make me think at the same time. In a nutshell, the characters are believable and yet a little out of the ordinary and the story line unique. Give this book a try. I have not read his first book but now I will.
The Christian fiction book that I have written main story theme is about ten years in the life of a little girl who was "chosen by God" to be the next Madonna in the second coming of Christ.
Tommy Taylor


This is one of my new favorite Christian fiction series. The second book was as good as the first.

sig ep oner

this book rocks so hard! I'm serious, I'm so amazed how he brings you right back into the story line but this time even more in depth and intriguing! Seriously, I cannot wait for the third installment it's gonna be off the chain. George Bryan Polvika is the Thomas Kinkade of Christian literature: sound doctrine, unreal story line, great character development, nothing's cheesey and all the action rocks face.

This guy rules and if I were one of his kids, I'd be so jazzed to tell everyone how rad are my dad's books.

You rule man
keep writing!

God Bless