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A Knight of the White Cross: A Tale of the Siege of Rhodes (MP3 Audio Recording)

By G. A. Henty; narrated by Jim Hodges
Jim Hodges Productions
www.jimhodgesaudiobooks.com

20601 S.E. 74th Street
Newalla, OK 74857
405-391-5762

What a treat to have another installment in Jim Hodges's ever-growing collection of narrated G. A. Henty novels! Henty was a nineteenth-century author who wrote historical adventures to "inspire boys to honesty, courage, diligence, and duty." Written from a Christian perspective, his books wove the "adventures of a fictional boy hero together with real life events." (Quotes from publisher.)

However, Jim Hodges, of Jim Hodges Productions, has taken the delightful stories by Henty to a whole new level. The combination of great writing plus spellbinding narration creates the perfect product for bringing history to life, and the MP3 recording of A Knight of the White Cross is sure to be a hit with the history lovers (boys, girls, and adults of all ages) in every home!

A Knight of the White Cross is set at the time of the War of Roses (1470-1480), and the main character is a young Englishman named Gervaise Tresham. At the age of 12, he is sent by his father to join the Knights of St. John, a military order whose members take vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty. And Gervaise is indeed a man dedicated to God's service, as well as obedient and pious in his personal life.

As the story progresses, he quickly rises in rank and experiences many exciting and dangerous adventures--commanding a galley and enduring the dangers at sea, capturing a spy at Rhodes and heading off an insurrection, destroying an entire corsair fleet, and conducting a secret mission disguised as a galley slave before being captured and sold into slavery, etc. After doing time in a Tripolitan dungeon, this brave English knight finally escapes to help defend Rhodes before returning to his homeland. In the end, Gervaise is rewarded for his service and valor, and finds happiness for himself.

The MP3:

Jim Hodges has done an excellent job of bringing Henty's book to life. He has a clear and pleasant voice, and I really like the way he uses expression and vocal inflections to emphasize each character's dialogue. But these inflections are subtle and not distracting or irritating, as some can be when narrators change between the voices of the characters. And although there are no background effects or music, none are needed.

The story flows along at a comfortable pace, and the listener is immediately drawn into the story. The recording is professional sounding and of high quality. Mr. Hodges is a first-rate storyteller--not to mention an excellent judge of fine literature that is worthy enough to be forever captured on audio. A living book in living sound! Well done!

This MP3 recording is unabridged and lasts 12 hours, 49 minutes. However, the disc will only play on a computer CD drive, a DVD player, or an MP3 compatible CD player. It will NOT play on a standard CD player. The cost of the MP3 (on his website) is $25.00, and I think the product is well worth the money. He also offers a digital download at the reduced price of $18.00. You can also download the fifteenth chapter as a freebie, which is a nice option.

I want to get even more of Mr. Hodges's recordings to add to our homeschool audio collection, especially since we want to foster good listening skills as part of our children's education. And I think that having the child follow along in the book as he/she listens to the audio is also a valuable idea! My son will often listen to a book on tape during quiet time, and G. A. Henty books are always at the top of his list!

For more information about Mr. Hodges, his available recordings, articles, links, frequently asked questions, and even more about G. A. Henty, you can visit Jim's website at www.jimhodgesaudiobooks.com. This MP3 recording of A Knight of the White Cross  is definitely a keeper in this homeschool, and I highly recommend this audio resource (and all of Mr. Hodges's recordings) to other homeschoolers--especially those who have a love of history, fine literature, and great storytelling. You won't be disappointed!

Product review by Amy M. O'Quinn, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, November 2010






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