As a family, we love a good historical adventure, and G.A. Henty was a master of historical fiction. However, I have one child who does not enjoy reading, and while I do love reading aloud, sometimes I just want to listen to a story too. So, I was very excited to check out the new audiodrama Beric the Briton from Heirloom Audio Productions. We have listened to several of their drama’s already and loved every one of them. This exciting tale of the Roman invasion of Brittania met our expections!
First, I have to say the cast for the story is top-notch. Heirloom manages to get great actors and actresses to portray the characters in their stories, including Cathy Sara (Downtown Abbey) and Tom Baker (Dr. Who). They all really bring the characters to life, giving them robust personalities and adding to the excitement to the story.
In this drama, we are introduced to Beric, a young man of 16 who is destined to rule his tribe, but who was taken captive by the Romans as a young boy in order to maintain influence over his mother, the chieftainess of the tribe. After returning home, Beric cannot hide the influence his time with the Romans had on him. However, while there are many things he admires about the Romans, he still longs for his people to be free. But, he is facing an uphill battle, because at the time, Brittania was a loose configuration of individual tribes often at war with each other, and resistant to the idea of uniting to fight a common enemy.
Over the course of the story, Beric wins his tribe over to his idea of fighting in a more unified style, and they begin to make some progress in their quest to defeat the invaders. After a hard-fought battle, Beric once again finds himself, and his friend Boduoc, captives of Rome, and sent off to gladiator school. A large part of Beric’s journey coincides with the spread of Christianity in Rome and the Great Fire. As Beric begins to hear whispers about “Christians” he finds some of his Roman friends are committed Christ-followers and they introduce him to the faith. While it takes some time for Beric to decide what he believes, he is intrigued by the idea, and comes to the defense of a Christian friend who is set to be fed to the lions after the fire.
Now, I don’t want to give too much more away, but I can tell you, it is an amazing story. One thing G.A. Henty was very good at was weaving Christian themes into his stories. They mesh seamlessly, and you can’t help but get caught up in the adventure. I love the way he ties together the historical and Biblical events. Hearing the story of Paul’s shipwreck told in context of what was going on at the time in the country, has a very powerful impact. Listening to this story as a family gave us a fantastic opportunity to talk to our children about God’s hand in history and in the world.
We listened to this story in the car during vacation, and it is labeled in chapters on the CD, so it is easy to pick up where you left off if you need to take a break. Heirloom Audio also offers some great extras that help enrich the story. First, there is a 50-page downloadable study guide that includes background information about the people featured in the story, and questions for each chapter. The questions range from basic recall questions to vocabulary, to questions that challenge listeners to go deeper and get to the themes of the story.
One nice feature of the study guide is that it has the track number and exact time where you can find each chapter on the disc listed with each set of questions, so if you want to go back and listen again, you can easily find it. At the end of the study guide, there is a list of books you can check out for further reading if you want. It also offers three different Bible studies you can do with your children.
Other cool features offered by Heirloom Audio include an eBook copy of the original story with illustrations. My older son likes reading so he always wants to check these out, and it is helpful if you want to encourage a child to follow the story in the book as they listen. You also get an MP3 version of the book and the soundtrack as well as posters and some other items. The best thing is, the extra resources are all flexible, so you can use as many as you want.
If you love history, exciting stories, or listening to books on tape, I would definitely suggest you check Beric the Briton out. There are multiple options for ordering the audiodrama so you can find the one that works best for your family. For more information, connect with Heirloom on social media:
Beric the Briton on Facebook
GA Henty Series on Facebook
Heirloom Audio Productions on Facebook
Heirloom Audio Productions on Twitter
Heirloom Audio Productions on Google+
To see what other members of the crew had to say about this adventure, click here: