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Blackthorn Winter Blackthorn Winter Comprehension Guide Review by Kate KesslerSusan Creek
By Douglas Wilson
Veritas Maritime Series
Argh, Matey! Hike up your boots and gather ye gold pieces! Ye are off to a good adventure here! These are 100% thrilling adventure stories with a nice dose of reformed theology thrown in for good measure. The first in the series, Blackthorn Winter, has all the ingredients necessary to make an exciting plotline: a young man who longs for the sea, murderous pirates, a buried treasure map, and the possibility of hidden treasure. The main character, fifteen-year-old Thomas Ingle, faces great dangers with only the prayers and knowledge his godly widowed mother has imparted to him over the course of his young life. He must make choices that either aligns with that knowledge or veers from it. He is challenged from every angle, but also encounters a strong godly male character as well. I really don?t want to give away any of the plot so I will say that if you dislike stories with fighting, pirates, murder, and general manly aggressive behavior, you will not like this story. If, however, you want to see a young man making hard decisions in a balanced Christian way, a great adventure story that begs to be true, and some godly adult characters with solid minds, you will like this story!
Veritas Press also created a Comprehension Guide to go along with this book. If you have never seen Veritas Press materials, you will not know what I am talking about when I say it is the same high quality, beautifully crafted, challenging materials that they always produce. You can really delve deeply with this book if that is what you choose to do. Discussion questions on each topic are included along with their other offerings such as: Historical Setting, Pirate Report, Covenanters (Scottish reformers), Treasure Map, Prayers used at Sea, Pirate Flag Symbols, making a Treasure Chest, hunger of pirates, Golden Light Illustration (words that make a vivid picture - you are to draw a picture based upon a description they give), Mulberry Pie recipe, Reynold's Inn Sign (make your own sign), Pearl of Great Price, Doubloon project, Literary Structure of a chiasm, and the answers to all the many and varied discussion questions.
Susan Creek, also by Douglas Wilson, is the sequel to Blackthorn Winter and is just as engaging. The saga of the same family continues, but now it is set in the days of the First Great Awakening. This time though, we have unprincipled officers, French and English spies, a young lady with a dangerous secret, and our hero, seventeen-year-old, John Monroe. A mere twenty-nine years before the American Revolution, there is much going on in the colonies that could be trouble for those who live there. John must make some very hard decisions, risk his life, and that of his father's in order to make sure there is safety in the land. This is purposely vague because I really don?t want to spoil the story for you! Both Susan Creek and Blackthorn Winter are high quality softcover books with full color paintings for inside illustrations at a fifth grade reading level. Veritas Press is unabashedly reformed in their theology, and that comes across especially in this book. We found that a wonderful addition to an already well-done story.