Having successfully written and published Inside Narnia: A Guide to Exploring The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to coincide with the release of that film, Devin Brown has now penned Inside Prince Caspian: A Guide to Exploring the Return to Narnia in anticipation of Walden Media’s release of “Prince Caspian” this spring. Brown ambitiously attempts to discuss the moral lessons presented in Prince Caspian and comment on the literary aspects of the chronicle as well. He provides discussion questions at the end of each chapter intended to help the reader “see” the devotional aspects of the story.
In his preface, Brown explains that his study of Prince Caspian “takes a literary rather than a purely devotional approach” to Lewis’s fiction. Brown does, indeed, provide an explanation of Lewis’s craft, noting distinctive qualities of fiction and how Lewis displays them. He makes reference to Shakespeare and other English writers, remarking on their influence on Lewis. He makes numerous references to Tolkien as well, drawing parallels among The Chronicles of Narnia and The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. However, Brown’s discussion of Prince Caspian as literature, though intelligent, occasionally digs too deep, and his commentary sometimes becomes tedious. It seems Brown has forgotten that Prince Caspian is a fairy tale, and a story meant for children (though not excluding an adult reader). In his attempt to give a fresh perspective on this chronicle, he overanalyzes and neglects to “let story be story,” as Lewis himself desired.
It would appear that Brown has read everything that has been written about The Chronicles of Narnia–no small feat. His discussion of Prince Caspian is thorough. For someone who has just been introduced to The Chronicles and has read little of what has been written about Lewis and his work, Brown’s study can be useful. Inside Prince Capsian does offer insight and application. It also contains an excellent bibliography. It is not necessarily the lively discussion that Brown identifies as his intention in the preface and probably not the kind of discussion that Lewis would have enjoyed about any of The Chronicles. The target audience for the book remains unclear, for the discussion questions would most certainly insult the student of literature and the commentary could easily put off the reader who enjoys Lewis because he or she enjoys story.
Nonetheless, Inside Prince Caspian has redeeming qualities, one of which is Brown’s estimate of the success and failure of Walden Media’s film of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The discussion of the growth of the Pevensie children is thoughtful, and his delineation of themes in Prince Caspian is sound as well. His knowledge of Lewis’s work is commendable, and his appreciation for Lewis comes through clearly. -- Dr. Pamela Jordan-Long, Christian Book Previews.com
Return to the land of Narnia for another adventure
If you found Narnia through the wardrobe, you may think you know all there is to know about this mystical land. But you've only just begun the journey. In Prince Caspian, there is much more to discover. Tracing through Prince Caspian chapter by chapter, Devin Brown explores fascinating symbols, hidden meanings, and easily missed details that swirl in and around the return to Narnia--all to the delight of book lovers and film fans alike.
If you're ready to be transported back into the magical world of Narnia, this careful literary analysis is where you should start.