In 2014, I reviewed Under Drake’s Flag. In 2015, I reviewed With Lee in Virginia. And now… in 2016, I’ve been privileged to review The Dragon and the Raven, all by Heirloom Audio Productions, a company we’ve come to love, The Dragon and the Raven is an audio production adapted from a book by G. A. Henty. An engaging 2 1/2 hours of storytelling, with sound effects bringing the story to life, The Dragon and the Raven brags fabulous voice talent from many well-known figures, such as Sylvester McCoy from The Hobbit and Doctor Who VII, Brian Blessed from Star Wars, Tarzan, and King Lear, and John Rhys-Davies from the Lord of the Rings and Indiana Jones.
The Danes ruthlessly invaded England, and King Alfred of Wessex bravely stands against him, with a brave young warrior named Edmund at his side. As the Danes waved their “flag of victory” – smoke as they burned community after community, King Alfred and Edmund fought, learning hard lessons and realizing that only turning to God would help them win their battles. A story, in typical Henty fashion, of bravery, heroism, mercy, loving enemies, and standing firm in faith (plus just a smidge of love!), the Dragon and the Raven is geared for ages six and up, though my seven and eight year old migrated outside before the story finished. My older kids appreciated it far more, understood better, and were drawn in to the take of Alfred the Great.
I was a little fearful that the war would be graphic and scary, but it was well said. Violence is evident in the story, but my littles around didn’t understand. Eden, 11, however… she was drawn in and looked devastated at the deaths of good men, then thrilled when she figured out that Edmund was headed for his love. Since she’s old enough to digest such information, I’m going to consider that a sign of a well-done story!
The God who would show mercy to His enemies… who requires blood, but took his Son’s blood in exchange for ours – these lines from the story were the ones that stuck with me. The gospel is clearly explained, and I love it. The story intertwined the story of Christ into the story and did it fabulously.
Also included from Heirloom Audio Productions are bonus materials. We’ve found this to be a great addition, helping spark conversation and to see what my kids – and often I – really understood. Some of it is typically over their heads or missed, and this time around, we mostly just enjoyed the audio drama and discussed less. As time goes, though, we typically revisit these Heirloom Audio’s dramas many times and appreciate owning the study guide for current and future use. Included are some amazing things, including:
- Access to the MP3 of The Dragon and The Raven sound track
- The Dragon and The Raven e-Study Guide and Discussion Starter for download
- The Dragon and The Raven ebook
- A printable poster of the cast of The Dragon and the Raven
- A study guide/discussion guide
- A behind the scenes 50-minute video documentary on MP4
The study guide is 49 colorful pages. As PDF files, they can be looked through on a device or printed out to put into a binder, though that would require an abundance of ink so we choose to keep it digital. The Listening Well portion focuses on what was heard, Thinking Further emphasizes forming an opinion/thoughts further on what was in the story, to analyze characters and their choices, and Defining Words helps with complicated vocabulary and making sense of unknown words. It’s very colorful and professionally done.
I can’t recommend Heirloom Audio Productions’ works enough. We’ve loved ever G. A. Henty Adventure we’ve heard from them, and will continue to look for their works in the future. They are so very well done, teaching character traits and the need for Christ in a thrilling fashion like we’ve heard nowhere else.
You can find Heirloom Audio Productions on Facebook, Twitter with sign @HeirloomStories, and Google +. The Dragon and the Raven too can be found on Facebook. The Extraordinary Adventures of G. A. Henty can also be found on Facebook.
To read other opinions on The Dragon and the Raven from the rest of the Crew that is on this review, check out the Review Crew Blog!