Monday, September 25, 2017

Captain Bayley's Heir - A New Audio Adventure (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review)

Captain Bayley's Heir - A New Audio Adventure on Homeschool Coffee Break @ - A Review for the Homeschool Review Crew

Once again, we had the great pleasure of reviewing an exciting audio adventure from Heirloom Audio Productions! We've been enjoying these stories in The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty series for a few years now, and expected the latest, Captain Bayley's Heir, to be another thrilling tale. We were not disappointed!

Heirloom Audio Productions

Heirloom Audio Productions is passionate about 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", which told about 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 these powerful stories through excellent voice acting, realistic sound effects, and powerful musical soundtracks.

Their newest audio drama, Captain Bayley's Heir, is a sweeping adventure that follows young Frank from his home in England across the Atlantic Ocean, and then across the entire American continent to Sacramento during the gold rush. As you can imagine, he has many exciting and dangerous adventures along the way! He also makes some very good friends, and he experiences God's grace for himself in very powerful ways. 

We received this adventure in a two CD set, along with access to the Live the Adventure Club where we could listen to the entire story online, and download the bonus content - the original Henty novel in eBook format, the official soundtrack, the cast poster, the inspirational hymn poster, a desktop wallpaper, and the Study Guide and Discussion Starter. When you listen online to the story, you can also follow a read-along script!

Captain Bayley's Heir

Captain Bayley's Heir - A New Audio Adventure on Homeschool Coffee Break @ - A Review for the Homeschool Review Crew

Kennady and I listened to the CD in the car during drive times on the way to and from our activities. By now we've memorized the dramatic introduction to the story and recite it along with the announcer! But then we listen intently to Brian Blessed as Mr. George, to find out where he is currently traveling and what story he has to tell. This time he is in the American West, and as he chats at the campfire with his young guide, he is inspired to tell the story of Captain Bayley's Heir. 

Mr. George's narration accompanies the "live action" as we meet the cast of characters. The main character is Frank Norris, who lives with his uncle Harold Bayley, and is a student at Westminster School. He makes a daring rescue of a dog that belongs to a young crippled boy, and then befriends the boy and his family. Upon his return to school, however, he gets into some trouble when he and his friends sneak away to see a boxing match and get into a fight themselves. Frank is falsely accused of stealing some money, and when he is unable to convince the headmaster of his innocence, he runs away to America rather than be publicly expelled and humiliated. He is determined to make his own way and prove his worth to his uncle.

Frank works his way across the ocean on a clipper, then finds work on a flatboat on the Mississippi. He earns the respect and friendship of the flatboat pilot, who then helps him on his way to California where the gold rush has begun. Frank teams up with some new friends - Abe, Rube, and Dickens - on the wagon trail, and the four of them face indian attacks and other dangers together before arriving in California to stake their claims. There, they begin prospecting while also beginning a supply business to serve their fellow prospectors. Eventually, Frank befriends another young Englishman and his father, James Adams, and helps them on their claim which pays off big time for all of the men. When Mr Adams returns to England, Frank asks him to convey a message to Frank's childhood sweetheart, Alice, who is also a ward of Captain Bayley's. 

Mr Adams takes a long time to find Captain Bayley and Alice, who have been traveling Europe, but faithfully delivers the message. Finally Captain Bayley and Alice know where to find Frank and travel to California - and they arrive just in time, because Frank has been gravely wounded in a gunfight! 

Interspersed with Frank's adventures is the story of Captain Bayley and young Alice back in England, and how they discover Captain Bayley's heir, giving the novel its name. You see, Captain Bayley's daughter had married against his wishes and their relationship had been broken by Bayley's unwillingness to accept her choice and forgive her. After years without contact, Bayley had been trying to find his daughter to make amends, but she had already passed away. In a stunning twist, they find that her son was still alive and close at hand, and the family is reunited.

Throughout the story, the themes of second chances, forgiveness, and God's grace are echoed. In fact, my favorite quote is from Frank's friend Abe, who tells him:
Because it's God's grace that fills in the gaps. The Good Book puts it this way: "My grace is sufficient for thee."

Captain Bayley's Heir - A New Audio Adventure on Homeschool Coffee Break @ - A Review for the Homeschool Review Crew

I mentioned the Bonus Content available through the Live the Adventure Club. If you prefer to listen to the audio drama online, you can do that, and there is a read-along script available to follow as you do. A great help for comprehension, especially when hearing unfamiliar words or following rapid dialog. Plus it's just fun! If you'd like to read the entire original G.A. Henty novel, you can do that online or download the eBook. (You won't be able to follow along as you listen though, as the story has been altered somewhat for the audio drama version.) You can listen to the full soundtrack online or download the MP3. And of course, you can download and use the 30-page Study Guide and Discussion Starter if you'd like to dig deeper into the history and themes of the story. The Study Guide contains background information on the setting and historical details in the story; and for each chapter of the story presents a full page (or more) of comprehension questions, discussion and thought-provoking questions, and vocabulary words. The "Expand Your Learning" feature gives further background on things like Victorian money and gold prospecting. It's easy to follow along because each chapter of the Study Guide lets you know which track on the CD or at what time stamp on the MP3 it's referring to. At the end of the Guide, there is some suggested further reading and there are three Bible studies based on themes in the story.

Captain Bayley's Heir - A New Audio Adventure on Homeschool Coffee Break @ - A Review for the Homeschool Review Crew

Captain Bayley's Heir - A New Audio Adventure on Homeschool Coffee Break @ - A Review for the Homeschool Review Crew

Captain Bayley's Heir - A New Audio Adventure on Homeschool Coffee Break @ - A Review for the Homeschool Review Crew

Captain Bayley's Heir - A New Audio Adventure on Homeschool Coffee Break @ - A Review for the Homeschool Review Crew

Especially loved this - Bible Study II is called Becoming a Christian, and it briefly explains the gospel message and then gives Scripture to guide the reader through the Biblical teaching on sin and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection. 

Captain Bayley's Heir - A New Audio Adventure on Homeschool Coffee Break @ - A Review for the Homeschool Review Crew

What we liked best:
  • an exciting story with two dramatic plots that highlight grace and forgiveness, along with courage and loyalty.
  • wonderful acting and realistic soundtrack. I like to describe these audio dramas as being like 'watching' a movie where there is nothing visual!
  • an in-depth study guide with plenty of historical content, as well as good Bible study starters.
What I need to mention:
  • as with most of the series, the characters do encounter violent situations. In this one, there are fistfights, Indian attacks, and a stagecoach robbery complete with gun battle.  For this reason, young or sensitive children may find this story too intense and frightening. 
  • there is no answer key for the questions in the Study Guide, so you'll need to listen and decide for yourself what the correct answers would be.
Our bottom line: My daughter and I were speculating that although she might be getting 'too old' for these audio dramas, I will probably continue collecting The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty from Heirloom Audio Productions so that my grandchildren can enjoy them when they are old enough! The thrilling tale of Captain Bayley's Heir is another wonderful addition to our audio library, and I warmly recommend it for wholesome and exciting family entertainment!

As I mentioned, we've reviewed all but one in the series so far, so if you're interested in more extraordinary adventures, be sure to also check out our full review of In Freedom's CauseAn Extraordinary Adventure in Scottish Historyour full review of With Lee In VirginiaAn Extraordinary Adventure With Lee In Virginiaour full review of The Dragon and the RavenAn Extraordinary Adventure With Alfred the Greatour full review of Beric the BritonBeric the Briton - Another Extraordinary Adventure from Heirloom Audio Productions; our full review of The Cat of BubastesAn Extraordinary Adventure in Ancient Egypt; and our full review of In the Reign of Terror: An Extraordinary Adventure During the French Revolution.

Heirloom Audio Productions

Would your family like to come along on this extraordinary adventure? Here's what you need to know:
Visit the website:
Learn more about Heirloom Audio Productions:

Pricing: See the Heirloom Audio website for purchasing options and full pricing information.

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Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog for more information and to read other reviews.

Captain Bayley's Heir {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}

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