A Swiftly Tilting Planet

by Madeleine L'Engle
Series: The Time Quintet #3
224 pages, Science Fiction
Reviewed by Jeanne

A good book with some non-Christian spirituality.


Just as the Murry family is sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner, the President calls Mr. Murry to tell him there is a threat of an atomic missile being launched on the U.S. from Patagonia in South America. Given a charge by Meg's mother-in-law, fifteen-year-old Charles Wallace must travel through time to find a way to change the Might-Have-Beens in the past.


Good is good and bad is bad. The story follows a long line of feuds between brothers, but there is always a good and an evil.

Spiritual Content

Though built on a Christian foundation, there are references to other gods as Charles Wallace travels through time and L'Engle does not pass judgment on that, but seems to accept it as correct. The wind also helps him move through time, as well as 'Within' people so that he can become part of them. Characters also use what is known as Patrick's Rune, which helps them in times of great need.


There are scattered fights through the story. A boy falls down a flight of steps and splinters his skull, and a man falls off a cliff. A woman gets a black eye and blames it on having run into a post in the dark. There is a threatened hanging. None of the violence is described graphically.

Drug and Alcohol Content


Sexual Content

A man pinches his step-daughter's rear, and a queen is falsely accused of 'making eyes' at one of her husband's guards.

Crude or Profane Language or Content



'A Swiftly Tilting Planet' is a very ingenious story with a suspenseful plot and good morals. As in most of L'Engle's works, however, the downside of this story is the spiritual content; she accepts the worship of other gods in a way that could be polytheistic.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 11-12

Review Rating:

Average rating: 4 stars
Did we miss something? Let us know!

Jeanne This review is brought to you by Jeanne.
Read more reviews by Jeanne