Tales of History & Adventure
The Dragon and the Raven
Setting: AD 870-901; Viking Invasion of England and France
Story: The Saxons and Vikings fought many fierce battles in Britain in the 8th and 9th centuries. During the struggle, 23-year-old Alfred ascended the throne and temporarily beat back the pagan hordes and concluded a peace treaty. Following another war in 878, peace was again achieved; the Danish King Guthrum accepted Christianity and withdrew to East Anglia, and Alfred the Great fortified cities, built a navy, codified laws, and revived learning among the Saxons until his death in A.D. 900. The hero is a Saxon thane named Edmund who joins the forces of King Alfred, fighting the Danes on land and in their own element, the sea, in his ship The Dragon. Carried by storms to the shores of Norway, he defeats Sweyn the Viking in single combat, takes part in the siege of Paris on behalf of the Franks, and tracks down his nemesis in order to rescue the Danish maiden he will later marry.
When people ask us for recommendations for good books for boys, our first thought is usually G.A. Henty. Why? His heroes are fantastic role models of the manly virtues, yet likeable and adventurous and every bit of the history you learn is real. Henty was an Army officer, war correspondent, a historian who began telling these stories to his own children. He was known for writing with stacks of primary source documents surrounding him and you’ll be hard pressed to find a historical error of any kind. And they are just plain fun!
Written in the late 1900s, the language can be a bit challenging for some boys (but it’s so good for them), so we recommend audiobooks! Our friend Jim Hodges does a wonderful unabridged version (you don’t want to miss a word!) and we are delighted to sell them!
These are the books the Youngs grew up on — enjoy!
~Hal & Melanie Young
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