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The Last Battle

by C. S. Lewis
Our price: LBP 385,000Available
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Product Details

  • Publisher: HarperTrophy
  • Publishing date: 08/07/1994
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 006447108x


The last battle is the greatest of all battles

Narnia ... where lies breed fear ... where loyalty is tested ... where all hope seems lost.

During the last days of Narnia, the land faces its fiercest challenge -- not an invader from without but an enemy from within. Lies and treachery have taken root, and only the king and a small band of loyal followers can prevent the destruction of all they hold dear in this, the magnificent ending to The Chronicles of Narnia.

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  • With a whimper. Oh, I'm sorry; that was from me.
    From Amazon

    The other books were so gentle. An adventure in Narnia is like an adventure in one's backyard - kids just like us (or just like we once were) discover in their coat closet or attic or schoolyard a wonderful fantasyland next door. They explore it under the guardianship of kindly fantastic creatures and, though there is real and potent evil, the battles are no more violent than a good dodgeball game. Lewis's habit as narrator of stopping and starting the story to explain unfamiliar concepts to his young readers or share memories from his own boyhood like a devoted grandparent only enhances the stories' warm intimacy and fairy-tale feel.

    Nothing of this Narnia exists in The Last Battle. We are here to see things die. Valiant kings and unicorns. Entire families, both parents and children. Horses by the herd. *Dogs* - lots of them. (The animal deaths are milked for maximum effect; the dogs are heartbreakingly happy and slobbering, "as doggy as they can be", in their willingness to go to their deaths at Calormene spears, and the horses are filled with arrows by jeering crowds after a dramatic Helm's Deep-ish arrival.) I don't exactly recall how I reacted when I first read The Last Battle at ten years old, but I do remember that I wasn't that impressed with the overall proceedings. Revisiting them at twenty-nine, however, they're a knife in the heart. Every genesis means an eventual apocalypse, I suppose, but the book revels in nasty business in a manner quite contrary to the Christianity of the previous volumes. They painted its God and his son as a terrible force, yes, but also a loving and accessable one ("'Course he isn't safe. But he's good") and trusted that children would be moved to goodness through the wonder of creation and the genuine consequences of evil behavior rather than through fear and gratuitous pathos and death. The Last Battle compares poorly with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which featured true danger and death but did not compromise.

    Strange for me, then, to see others charge the book with being too "syrupy-sweet" and happy. "Happy"? This book made you *happy*? Well, yes, I suppose the denouement, with everyone - EVERYONE, with one infamous omission - reunited in a Narnian heaven is overwhelmingly happy in a two-dimensional sense; it reminds me of the artwork in Awake! where, as humorist Lore Sjoberg put it, "kids get to play with baby pandas for all eternity". There's no resonance, though, as everything, and everyone, is so two-dimensional. The Pevensies react without shock or sadness that their entire family has been killed in a railway accident and seem without regret that their paradise lacks their sister. The denouement does little to dispel the long night before. (The climax of The Silver Chair, with one beloved character rejoining his childhood friends and getting a five-minute romp in the "real" world he's always wanted to see, contains more genuine joy than everything in this ending.)

    Even if I look at the book with a proper critical eye, removed and analytical, it's lacking. Narnia's King Tirian and his companion, Jewel the unicorn, are sympathetic, but they are skimpily drawn compared to Caspian or the Cabby or even Rillian. After six books of wonders, the only memorable sights here are those of blood-curdling apocalypse. (The image of Narnia's human stars screaming home, their flaming silver hair streaking behind them, burns bright, but for a depiction of a world comsumed by greed and hatred, I will take the still, ruby-lit ruin of Charn from The Magician's Nephew.) Narnia's downfall is implausibly, artificially swift; an ape slaps an old lion skin on a donkey, and the next day, Calormen's sold Cair Paravel for paving stones. Had Narnia's hold on independence and moral rectitude been this tenuous, it would have fallen long ago; it's implausible for both our heroes and Narnia at large to be so submissive and inert in the face of evil. The story is on rails to its ultimate destination; its only concern is to get everyone to martyrdom as quickly as possible.

    The racism. Well, what is there to say that others haven't, really. Click the 2-star reviews and look for the one by Joe W, who will tell you what it was like to read this material being eight years old and black. The text explicitly points out how human Narnians are all "fair" and contains a chanted slur that should not appear in any children's book. Likewise, tons of ink have been expended on the problem of Susan; I'll just note that, while apologists claim it's the supposed single-mindedness of her obsession with "stockings and invitations" instead of its focus that gets her excommunicated, Lewis does reliably identify "feminine" charm and frippery with his "fallen" females (the witches, Lasraleen, Susan). Sit down and have a good talk with your kids before they read this last Chronicle.

    As has been noted, no reader would plow through six volumes and skip the grand finale, but I dunno. Everything that Lewis tries here - the end of a once-great world through human frailty; a radiant vision of heaven; a Biblical allegory with a towering Satan figure (who, unlike Tash, isn't drawn directly from Jack Chick) and a terrible yet great son of God - he's accomplished before, far better, elsewhere in the series. I would've been happier leaving Narnia at The Magician's Nephew or The Silver Chair.

  • The Last Battle
    From Amazon

    This final book in the Chronicles of Narnia series thankfully returns to the early splendour of "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe". After "The Silver Chair", which seemed a little flat compared to other books in the series, "The Final Battle" restores some of the magic that made the first few novels so enjoyable and successful.

    Lewis does well in beginning the novel from the point of view of the Narnians, specifically the last King of Narnia, instead of the from the childrens' perspective. We begin to see a particularly brave story develop from who is essentially a Christian author: A false Aslan has begun corrupting Narnia from within, who eventually comes under the thrall of the vicious realm adjacent to Narnia. Considering the powerful although admittedly insipid themes that Lewis is fond of, it seems a brave move to take his allegory so far. As a child the danger must read very real, and as an adult it is interesting to see the mythology of Lewis' realm with his potentially fully drawn.

    Cracking characters and a smooth, compelling storyline make this one of the best of the series, as good as "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" and a fantastic, thrilling and emotional end to the book series.


  • A Nice, Sweet Ending
    From Amazon

    For me, personally, this is one of the finest in the series. Though it may seem to start off a bit slow at first, the pace of The Last Battle quickly picks up during the latter half of the book.
    You can tell CS Lewis builds up to the final epic scene, using elements from previous books, as well as, of course, some new ingenuity.
    The last scenes of the books are strikingly unforgettable, and will leave the impression upon readers that, if they haven't felt like visiting Narnia before, they most certainly will now.

  • Further up & Further In
    From Amazon

    C.S. Lewis' entire NARNIA book series (concluded in 1954) cannot be judged by the same standards as today's children's books. It was written in a different era, for a different set of children, in a different publishing environment, yet somehow it manages to stand the test of time and speak to readers today. The storytelling style is nearly timeless, the stories simple yet engaging (most of the time), and the layers deep and rewarding (for those who are looking). THE LAST BATTLE is clearly the final installment of the 7-book series and received the Carnegie Medal for its efforts upon publication.

    Once again, readers find themselves in Narnia, this time at the edge of a waterfall in the presence of Shift the ape and Puzzle the donkey. When a lion's skin comes over the waterfall, they retrieve it and make plans to make the world a better place by pretending to be Aslan, come back to lead Narnia again. What begins as a simple, selfish plan to better the people leads to an invasion of foreign armies, the enslavement of the Narnian people and animals, and the Last Battle of the Last King of Narnia.

    Eustace and Jill, old friends of Narnia and the original Pevensie children, are whisked into Narnia to save King Tirian and the unicorn Jewel from the hands of the Calormene's and the false Aslan. During their adventures, they cross paths with Peter, Edmund, and Lucy (alas no Susan), Lord Digory and Polly who were there at Narnia's creation, Father Time, unicorns, speaking eagles, unruly dwarves, genocidal slave drivers, mystical waterfalls, and magical doorways. The task before them is to restore peace to the land and find the true Aslan, a difficult job in light of all the trickery going on. But they must. Narnia depends on it.

    "All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had been only the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on Earth has read."

    With risk of ruining the plot for those who've yet to read it, the series ends with a fantastic view of the Kingdom of God as it will continue into eternity: Life as the characters knew it on Earth transitions seamlessly into Narnia and then just as seamlessly into the real Narnia, the more beautiful Narnia waiting for them on the other side of life. It awaits all of Aslan's followers, chock-full of adventure and beauty and amazing landscapes waiting to be explored and "ruled" by his people. Our friends who followed Aslan in their life are already there, living eternally in a far more perfect world, further up and further in to Aslan's presence and joy.

    --- Reviewed by Jonathan Stephens

  • Fighting For Freedom
    From Amazon

    'The Last Battle', by C.S. Lewis is the final book in the chronicles of Narnia. In this book, an ape named Shift decides he should be in charge of Narnia. He starts things he isn't able to stop, and amid the confusion, a neighbouring country is trying to take over Narnia.
    I thought the best part of 'The Last Battle' was when the last battle actually takes place. It's great because it's King Tirian and his few followers battling against seemingly unbeatable odds. Do they win or lose? You'll have to read the book to find that out, but this sequence is so well written that you can feel what Tirian is feeling while he fights for his freedom.
    'The Last Battle' is a spectacular ending to the Chronicles of Narnia. One reason it's so good is because of the message it gives and how it makes you think. This book has lots of cliffhangers, so you always want to know what's going to happen next. Also, this book is written from more than one characters point of view. All these things together make 'The Last Battle' a really great book that deserves to be recommended.

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