Many Waters

by Madeleine L'Engle
Series: The Time Quintet #4
Reviewed by Jeanne

Good read, but some sexual content and an acceptance of Evolution.


The Murry twins, Dennys and Sandy, are sent back in time to a pre-flood world when they touch their father's time experiment. There they find manticores, 'virtual unicorns', and men and women the size of pygmies. Also, they find the nephilim - fallen sons of God - and the seraphim - sons of God - who live among the humans and affect their lives for better or for worse.

The time of the flood is getting closer, and as Sandy and Dennys get to know the people and even fall in love with a girl, they find they have a part to play in the story that took place long before their own time.


The twins were not supposed to go into the experiment room, something they don't realize until long after the fact. Men and women vary between very bad and very kind in the story, and the major characters all have their struggles as humans.

Spiritual Content

The people of the pre-flood time worship 'El' (God). The seraphim are angels, the nephilim fallen angels. Dennys and Sandy seem to be Evolutionists, a point never addressed. The Unicorns in the story have the ability to heal.


One of the twins is beaten by a family, and both twins are badly sunburned. Of course, the realization that God is going to flood the Earth and wipe out most of the people is ever-present.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Wine is made and drunk. A woman mentions that there was heavy drinking at a wedding and that people got drunk.

Sexual Content

All the people wear only loinclothes, women included. A girl's body is described, though not in great detail. A woman tries to seduce one of the twins, but doesn't succeed.

The nephilim marry and have intercourse with the women of the land; embraces between young women and nephilim are mentioned, as well as a few kisses and a nephilim 'wedding ceremony'.

There are embraces and kisses between married couples, and a girl kisses Dennys and Sandy toward the end.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

One of the twins mentions that he has to use the bathroom while a girl, his 'guard', is around. A baby is born and the birthing, though not gruesome, is detailed.


'Many Waters' is an interesting telling of the world as it was before the Flood. L'Engle's telling of the nephilim and the seraphim is very thought-provoking, and the romance in the tale is very sweet. However, her treatment of some Biblical principles (such as the way she expands the verse saying that Enoch "walked with the Lord and then was no more, because the Lord took him") should be taken carefully and maturely.

Though none of the sexual content is described graphically or even in detail, it is best suited for a young adult audience. Also, the general acceptance of Evolution was something that made this book less enjoyable to me than the other stories of the Time Quintet.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 3.5
Written for Age: 11-12

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