Friday, January 06, 2006

The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow, Allen French

The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow(originally published early 1900’s; Bethlehem Books, 1993), 244 pages.

This was a great story! It did seem to start slowly, and the language is different (they talk in Elizabethan English and various Icelandic or Norse terms). However, there is a glossary to help in getting started, and the story is well worth the work. There is grand adventure, battles, intrigue and an underlying theme, as typical in the old tales, of honor, nobility, courage and faithfulness. The closing even drew together points from the story to make a strong point concerning endurance without complaint and the value of humility and being willing to ask forgiveness. French, according to the introduction, was steeped in the ancient sagas and lore, and this shows in the style and quality of his writing. This was another story that made it difficult on the next book we turned to.

The story follows the life of Rolf a young boy in Iceland around 1010 AD, about a generation after Christianity was introduced to the island. In addition to the positive qualities just mentioned, the story is helpful in becoming familiar with this era in history in Northern Europe which has significant connections to the development on British and therefore American history.

This is one of the really good ones. My 9, 8 and 6 year old boys loved it. It is probably too complicated for children younger than 6.

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