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Beric the Briton

By G.A. Henty
Read by Jim Weiss
Greathall Productions, Inc.

PO Box 5061
Charlottesville, VA 22905-5061

Beric the Briton by G. A. Henty takes place circa AD 60 in Roman-occupied Britain and Rome. Beric, a young British chieftain, fights the Romans under the Celtic queen Boadicea. The Celts are defeated, and Beric is taken prisoner to Rome where he becomes a gladiator, defends a Christian girl in the arena, enters Nero's service, and later flees for his life. Eventually, Beric regains his freedom, marries a Roman girl, and returns to Britain as a Roman governor. Readers will learn about the Druids, Celtic hierarchy, the role of women in both Celtic and Roman culture, Roman battle tactics, Roman laws, Roman city planning, gladiators, Christian persecution under Nero, Roman marriage, and much more.

Our family had a bit of a hard time getting into this book, but we pushed on and were glad we did. Both the story and Weiss's reading start off slowly, but both pick up once Beric gets to Rome. Weiss does a great job of creating different voices for all the main characters. Both boys and girls will enjoy this story because there are three key female characters in addition to all the strong male ones. Christians will be challenged as they learn how much the early church sacrificed to remain true to Christ.

One final note: Greathall Productions has "thoughtfully abridged" their Henty recordings, and I know that "abridged" is a nasty word among many homeschoolers. Let me assure you that you will never notice anything missing. Weiss simply condensed some of Henty's longer descriptions. Surely, ten hours of Beric the Briton is still a hefty book!

Product review by Heather Jackowitz, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, September 2007

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