What if saving the world isn't all it is cracked up to be? Eight years ago, Daniel and Freya did just that with the help of sleeping warriors underneath England. However, both are now suffering the consequences. Daniel is a homeless vagabond who can't get his life together, and Freya is an OCD university student on the verge of a mental breakdown. Things are happening in the world; things they never thought to see again. Now the two must come together to protect each other and maybe the world again.
I enjoyed the premise of Lawhead’s tale. The idea of hidden warriors waiting for the time they are needed has a very Arthurian Romance feel to it. The flaws and unpleasant circumstances of the characters are what helped to keep the story more personable. These are not conquering heroes, but characters that are scared and want to go home. This magical world is not fun at all. With that, Lawhead does a nice job of weaving together two storylines for his characters: one set in the past with the first adventure, and another one set in the present dealing with the repercussions.
However, this is not a perfect story. The narrative can get confusing. The weaving between the two times is a little awkward at first, but it does improve. And there is one part with Freya that I am still scratching my head on, wondering what was going on. The biggest fault is that the pacing is slow. There seems to be action happening all around, but it doesn’t seem to affect the characters much. It does pick up near the end, but be aware that there is little resolution to the storylines.
The Realms Thereunder is not groundbreaking. It is a good tale, built on solid and familiar tropes. I hope that Lawhead builds upon this foundation in his next book of The Ancient Earth Trilogy, A Hero’s Throne.