*Originally written Feb. 11, 2008
I am often asked about the ideal reading order for The Books of History Chronicles. Readers from all walks of life have waxed eloquent on this subject, glad to give a new reader the inside scoop on this somewhat twisted world of books Iâ€™ve coaxed to life.
There is an answer to the question, but it isnâ€™t what you might expect. Then again, nothing in the Books of History Chronicles is what you might expect.
I could say that the first books to read should be the Circle Trilogy, Black, Red, and White, but that isnâ€™t entirely right. They are a prequel to the whole series, much like Genesis is a prequel to Matthew. Does reading Genesis before Matthew affect your appreciation for either? Not necessarily.
I could say that Showdown should be the first book you read, but that isnâ€™t right either. Showdown is a prequel to Sinner (due out in September 08,) much like Exodus is a prequel to the Gospel of John.
So then where is the beginning? Surely all things have a beginning and an ending. Just quit running circles and tell me.
But thatâ€™s just the point. The Books of History Chronicles are unique because they are circular, not linear. You may make friends with the story at nearly any point and not feel cheated any more than making friends with your future husband or wife leaves you feeling cheated for not knowing her during grade school.
Having said that, there are some books best read in order. Read Black before you read Red and White, because the trilogy itself is one story.
Read Chosen, Infidel, Renegade and Chaos in that order if you can but read them before or after Black, Red and White — your choice.
It doesnâ€™t matter if you read the Paradise novels (Sinner, Saint, and Showdown) before or after the Circle Trilogy, but it might be more fun to read Sinner then Saint then Showdown, the prequel about how it all began. It will be like reading the New Testament first then the Old Testament.
Each series in the Books of History Chronicles is a very different experience to be engaged either on its own or with the others.
Some may take exception with me because they want everything to line up in perfect order, and thatâ€™s fine for other series out there. But these are the Books of History Chronicles and we donâ€™t like to follow the crowd here.
We like the mystery of it all. We like piecing the puzzle together. We like to take a big bite out of the middle and then work our way to either end because we get more grease and juice on our chins when we do it that way.
So go ahead, take a bite out of Sinner this fall and then decide which way you want to go. Left to Saint. Right to Showdown, or all the way around to the Circle Trilogy.
Or read Showdown and Saint now, your choice, it really makes little difference.
Either way, enjoy.