What a privilege it is to review another Extraordinary Adventure of G.A. Henty from Heirloom Audio Productions! This time we traveled back to the British Isles and Rome during the first century for the exciting story of Beric the Briton.
Heirloom Audio Productions does an amazing job of engaging the imagination of listeners by telling great stories about real historical events through exciting audio drama. The stories are based on the novels written during the late 1800s by master story-teller G.A. Henty. Henty's stories of "virtue and valor, daring and determination, character and courage" told of historical events and people as seen through the eyes of a fictional young person that he placed on the spot. In The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty series, Heirloom Audio tells the moving stories through excellent voice acting, realistic sound effects, and powerful musical soundtracks.
We received the 2-CD set of the audio drama Beric the Briton, along with a collection of downloadable bonuses. These included a 50-page Study Guide, the ebook of the original Henty story, an mp3 version of the audio drama, an mp3 of the full soundtrack, a beautiful color inspirational quote poster and a cast poster, access to the Live the Adventure newsletter, and Behind-the-Scenes video. The CDs come in a beautiful full-color case.
Beric and his friend Bodouc are fictional characters invented by G.A. Henty, but many of the other people in the story of Beric the Briton are historical figures, and the battles and some other events described really happened. Through this story, listeners will learn about the Roman Emperor Nero, the queen Boadicea, and events that took place during the reign of Nero. A brief summary: Beric is the chief of his tribe of Britons, and having spent some time as a hostage prince with the Romans, he is familiar with their style of warfare. He uses his knowledge in an attempt to help the Britons in battle against the Romans, but ultimately the Romans are victorious; and Beric and Bodouc are among the captives taken back to Rome. In Rome, they are being trained as gladiators, and Beric also hears about the one true God and about his Son Christus. During this time, Nero begins his persecution of Christians, and when Beric is to compete as a gladiator, he chooses to act as champion for a Christian girl, who happens to be the daughter of the Roman governor that had held Beric so many years earlier.
I think I've said this in every Heirloom Audio review I've done, but it's true and bears repeating: When listening to these audio dramas, you feel as though you're 'watching' the audio-only of a live-action movie filmed on location. The actors voicing the characters are excellent, and the amazing sound effects and dramatic soundtrack make it all sound very real.
As with each of the other G.A. Henty adventures in the series, it's entertainment enough just to listen to the audio. We like to listen in the car, and the story is perfect for a road trip, since the whole family can enjoy it. However, if you wish to add to the experience, or use the story to dig deeper into history or Bible study, the Study Guide will be of immense value as well. It provides background information about author G.A. Henty as well as about Nero, Boadicea, and various aspects of the history of the time period. For each chapter, there are Listening Well questions, Thinking Further questions, and a Defining Words section. Listening Well helps with comprehension of the story; Thinking Further suggests ways to draw conclusions about the characters or to speculate on their mindsets; and of course, Defining Words is just that, and you may need the help of a dictionary. The Study Guide is in full color and in addition to all the background information, there are some recipes and illustrations, and three suggested Bible studies.
|sample pages from the Study Guide|
And you know what else I loved? This simple little thing - the Track Number and Time given at the top of each page of the Study Guide so it's easy to follow along, or to find the place on the CD if you're going back to review or need to know where exactly you left off last time. Simple yet brilliant. It's the little things. Thank you for thinking of that one, Heirloom Audio!
And it's just a really interesting Study Guide that could be used as part of a Unit Study for students of any age. In fact, we may refer back to it when Kennady studies the Roman Empire this coming school year. (Also, Heirloom Audio has been dropping hints as to the next G.A.Henty story coming out later this year, and it's one on her required reading list for world history. Perfect timing and I totally plan on getting that one too!)
What we liked best:
- as always, the outstanding quality production
- an exciting story that captured interest from the very beginning
- beautiful Study Guide that can be used in many ways
- a story that brings history to life, and that highlights the bold and courageous faith of early Christians
What I need to mention:
- there are battle scenes and people die. It's clear that's what is happening, although I didn't think it gory or graphic in any way, but you should be aware of that before listening with little ones or with especially sensitive children.
- the presentation is based on the G.A. Henty story of the same name, but has been adapted so you won't be able to follow along in the book. (The ebook they included with the downloadable bonuses is a super read though, and in beautiful full color.)
- and speaking of full color, keep that in mind before deciding to print all 50 pages of the Study Guide!
Our bottom line: Another winner from Heirloom Audio Productions! Beric the Briton is a highly entertaining and engaging audio drama, and I love that it encourages and challenges us in our faith, and sparks interest in the study of history. This is another great addition to our road trip library, along with the other Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty that we own. (Be sure to also check out our full review of In Freedom's Cause: An Extraordinary Adventure in Scottish History; our full review of With Lee In Virginia: An Extraordinary Adventure With Lee In Virginia; and our full review of The Dragon and the Raven: An Extraordinary Adventure With Alfred the Great.)
Would your family like to be part of these extraordinary adventures? Here's what you need to know:
Visit the website: http://www.BericTheBriton.com/
Pricing: See the Heirloom Audio website for purchasing options and full pricing information.
You can follow Heirloom Audio on Facebook. There are also specific Facebook pages for Beric the Briton and for The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty. You can also follow Heirloom Audio on Twitter, on Google+, and on Instagram @HeirloomAudioOfficial.
Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog for more information and to read other reviews.
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