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The Dragon and the Raven, with eBook

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In a time of chaos and Viking onslaught, Alfred the untested Saxon king must fight to save his ravished land. The tale unfurls through the eyes of a young thane, Edmund, who becomes Alfred's friend and mightiest warrior. When Danes overrun the land and the Saxons capitulate, this young knight trains and leads a devoted corps of pike-men to recapture the kingdom. On his ad In a time of chaos and Viking onslaught, Alfred the untested Saxon king must fight to save his ravished land. The tale unfurls through the eyes of a young thane, Edmund, who becomes Alfred's friend and mightiest warrior. When Danes overrun the land and the Saxons capitulate, this young knight trains and leads a devoted corps of pike-men to recapture the kingdom. On his adventures, Edmund is captured by the Pagan Danes, raises the siege of Paris, meets the Pope, and still finds time to fall in love. G. A. Henty, the "Prince of Storytellers," successfully weaves this plot of intrigue and suspense into the fabric of true history.


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In a time of chaos and Viking onslaught, Alfred the untested Saxon king must fight to save his ravished land. The tale unfurls through the eyes of a young thane, Edmund, who becomes Alfred's friend and mightiest warrior. When Danes overrun the land and the Saxons capitulate, this young knight trains and leads a devoted corps of pike-men to recapture the kingdom. On his ad In a time of chaos and Viking onslaught, Alfred the untested Saxon king must fight to save his ravished land. The tale unfurls through the eyes of a young thane, Edmund, who becomes Alfred's friend and mightiest warrior. When Danes overrun the land and the Saxons capitulate, this young knight trains and leads a devoted corps of pike-men to recapture the kingdom. On his adventures, Edmund is captured by the Pagan Danes, raises the siege of Paris, meets the Pope, and still finds time to fall in love. G. A. Henty, the "Prince of Storytellers," successfully weaves this plot of intrigue and suspense into the fabric of true history.

30 review for The Dragon and the Raven, with eBook

  1. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Zapata

    Number 10 on my Progressive Reading Challenge list, The Dragon and The Raven Or: The Day Of King Alfred is a story of England before it was England, back in the years when the Saxons were dealing with the marauding Danes in the mid- to late 800's. Our hero Edmund is just fourteen years old as the story opens, but he quickly becomes a man and a warrior, and we follow his adventures as he does his share in the battle for his God and his country. I was vaguely disappointed with the Number 10 on my Progressive Reading Challenge list, The Dragon and The Raven Or: The Day Of King Alfred is a story of England before it was England, back in the years when the Saxons were dealing with the marauding Danes in the mid- to late 800's. Our hero Edmund is just fourteen years old as the story opens, but he quickly becomes a man and a warrior, and we follow his adventures as he does his share in the battle for his God and his country. I was vaguely disappointed with the book for a couple of reasons. I was expecting more focus on King Alfred himself, but although we meet him now and then (once in a delightful scene when he was hiding in the swamps and was being scolded by the woman of the house for burning some oat-cakes he was supposed to be tending; she had no idea he was the King) he was very much a background figure and young Edmund was the star of the show. Understandable, since it seems that most of Henty's books were written to introduce and explain a bit of history for schoolboys, but I personally would have enjoyed seeing more about King Alfred. Also, parts of the story felt more like a history text than a story. There are ways to weave historic details into a story without having them feel like intrusions, but at least in this book, I do not think Henty managed that. In the opening chapters when Edmund is waiting for the return of his father, he goes out and checks his fish traps and such, and the descriptions of them are very interesting. But then when the father arrives we get a chapter or so of conversation that gives us the background to the story. It is not smooth and natural, it feels like Henty hit the Pause button and added The History Lesson. There are a couple of other titles of his I would like to read, one set at Agincourt and the other in the Crimean War, so I hope in those he manages to make the blend between history and story a bit smoother. When the action does get started, Henty is an exciting writer, so I can almost forgive him his clunkiness otherwise. I especially enjoyed the naval battles between the Danes and Edmund's men on their ship the Dragon. I thought these bits were the best part of the book. There is a bit of romance, and quite a lot of moralizing about how civilization was saved thanks to King Alfred. I could have done without most of that, but when it became too thick, I just skimmed over it. I was tickled by all of the names beginning with E. I know it is from the old Saxon language, but because of the way Henty revealed his background, there were a few early paragraphs full of Edmund, Ethelbald, Ethelwulf, Ethelbert, Ethelred, and Egbert. Later Elswitha is mentioned (King Alfred's wife) and even later we meet Freda, who eventually becomes Elfrida. Oh, and I mustn't forget the battle of Ethandune, that showed up later too. But when you read all those E names in one clump, they can be real tongue-twisters. Overall for me, this book was an introduction to this period of history, and I would like to learn more about King Alfred and his day. Which of course is exactly what Henty intended, isn't it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Steve Hemmeke

    My first read of G.A. Henty’s 140 or so books, I came away somewhat satisfied. The main character, fictional Edmund, is placed in the historical events of King Alfred’s early reign when the Danish Vikings were plundering and overrunning divided England. Edmund, through discipline of himself and his men, helps push back the Norsemen. He acts with honor and courage even when captured. He thinks ahead and plans wisely, fighting in defense of his country, but never for his own aggrandizem My first read of G.A. Henty’s 140 or so books, I came away somewhat satisfied. The main character, fictional Edmund, is placed in the historical events of King Alfred’s early reign when the Danish Vikings were plundering and overrunning divided England. Edmund, through discipline of himself and his men, helps push back the Norsemen. He acts with honor and courage even when captured. He thinks ahead and plans wisely, fighting in defense of his country, but never for his own aggrandizement. I read after finishing that Henty was a war correspondent, and that makes sense. Sometimes his writing is rather factual and historical – not always an engaging plot-mover. But he writes mainly for young boys, both to convey history and encourage their personal virtue – a uniquely edifying purpose in books for young readers these days. Three themes I appreciated: 1. The contrast of Viking to English worldview. Do the strong take what they can for themselves, or use their strength to protect and provide for the weak? Henty more shows and assumes this by how the (his)story goes than preaches about it. 2. Strength and dominance is not always with the virtuous and the Christian. Living at this point of time in the West we can forget this point, though events are pressing it upon us again as we become more and more post-Christian. 3. Unity and teamwork are a critical element to being strong. Edmund’s soldiers don’t succeed until they work together and follow orders in the middle of battles. Coordinated plans with multiple fronts acting together succeed. May God give us the strength in these days to be self-controlled, work together for the good of others, and to look to our good Lord Jesus Christ for mercy.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jed

    I read a lot of Henty when I was around twelve. This is classic brit lit for boys jingoistic and sensational. Lots of fun if you are the right age.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Had so much fun listening to this with Ryan. :)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Conrad

    Should note that children’s action-adventure isn’t my genre—I’m 77 and write character-driven novels—but I try to reach outside my tastes to see what the rest of the world is like. This 1892 novel is set in Saxon England, charting the battles with the ravaging Danes in the days of King Alfred. It’s full of battles, noble patriotic sentiments in stilted dialogue, good vs. evil, pitting English patriots against wolfish Danes. Henty has been criticized for his racist and imperial sentiments—this re Should note that children’s action-adventure isn’t my genre—I’m 77 and write character-driven novels—but I try to reach outside my tastes to see what the rest of the world is like. This 1892 novel is set in Saxon England, charting the battles with the ravaging Danes in the days of King Alfred. It’s full of battles, noble patriotic sentiments in stilted dialogue, good vs. evil, pitting English patriots against wolfish Danes. Henty has been criticized for his racist and imperial sentiments—this really doesn’t contain much of that, other than a general sense of the nobility of the Christian Saxons and the nastiness of the Pagans. It’s a pedestrian formula thing, effective in drawing us forward along a familiar path, with no complexity of character that interfere with the carnival ride. A bit too many battles that are “desperate struggles, but at last…” I would have enjoyed it when I was a kid, though I’m very glad our own kids never read it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Issabella

    This has an amazing plot, however, it brushes over plot in favor of more detail to historical fact that as far as a work of fiction, I found it sorely lacking, but as an informative historical work with fiction, it is very precise and enlightening of the time that built ours. If it were a bit better written, it would be amazing.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Going to check out the unabridged audio at the library for Jacob. He is studying Asser's King Alfred in AO Y7 term 1...krb 9/26/19

  8. 4 out of 5

    Eustacia Tan

    G.A Henty's stories are aimed at boys and are super patriotic, to the point of offending those that aren't British. As a result, all his heroes are blond boys. Thankfully, this is believable in The Dragon and the Raven, unlike The Cat of Bubastes (really, a blond boy in Ancient Egypt?). Apart from being suspiciously similar to English boys, his characters also approach the Gary Sue character, being brave and heroic and .. and ... zzzz. I actually read it more for the descriptions of the period o G.A Henty's stories are aimed at boys and are super patriotic, to the point of offending those that aren't British. As a result, all his heroes are blond boys. Thankfully, this is believable in The Dragon and the Raven, unlike The Cat of Bubastes (really, a blond boy in Ancient Egypt?). Apart from being suspiciously similar to English boys, his characters also approach the Gary Sue character, being brave and heroic and .. and ... zzzz. I actually read it more for the descriptions of the period of the time than for the characters. The Dragon and the Raven is set in the period of King Alfred, where the Saxons were fighting against the Danes (the Vikings). It's got a lot of fighting scense, which are long and to be honest, kind of boring, but is quite an interesting read nonetheless. However, early on in the book, our protagonist (not even a supporting character) speaks against equality. There is always a romance in these books, and thankfully, the romance between Edmund (the protagonist) and his love interest is more believable because it wasn't added last minute. I actually knew it was coming, although I'd have liked it to be a bit more developed (well, at least he fought for her). "Why father" Edmund exclaimed in astonisment, "surely you would not have all men free and equal." "The idea seems strange to you, no doubt, Edmund, and it appears only natural that some men should be born to rule and others to labour.... their race is no doubt inferior to our own, Edmund." But compared to the mis-understood theory of Christianity in the book, the racism is almost excusable. Although all characters claim to be Christians, they don't seem to have any real love of Christ or understanding of Christianity. There is no reference to the changing power of the Grace of Christ, but rather, the main impetus for conversions would be the "peacefulness" of Christianity. It's not the peace that surpasess understanding, but mainly the lack of war. I think this next quote sums up the author's understanding of Christianity, that it is for civilised people rather than being Truth that is for everyone: "So long as men's lives are spent wholly in war they may worship gods like yours, but when once settled in peaceful pursuits they will assuredly recognise the beauty and holiness of the life of Christ." Seriously, "beauty and holiness"? It should be something like "Christ died for all men, and we believe that when you experience the truth of this, you will come to love him as we do". But then again, none of the characters appears to have understood the heart of Christianity (but they definitely have the trappings of religion down pat). First posted at Inside the mind of a Bibliophile

  9. 5 out of 5

    John Enfield

    I found this book while wandering the aisles at my local library a few weeks ago. Sometimes, I don't go with a certain book in mind. I just walk passed the search computers (remember when you had to know how to use a card catalog?), and just start looking at books at random. I've stumbled across a few gems that I might have otherwise never even thought to search for in the computer. The Dragon and the Raven artfully blends history and historical fiction in an entertaining way. It weav I found this book while wandering the aisles at my local library a few weeks ago. Sometimes, I don't go with a certain book in mind. I just walk passed the search computers (remember when you had to know how to use a card catalog?), and just start looking at books at random. I've stumbled across a few gems that I might have otherwise never even thought to search for in the computer. The Dragon and the Raven artfully blends history and historical fiction in an entertaining way. It weaves a compelling drama about characters you can come to care about into the tapestry of pre-Battle of Hastings British history. If you are interested in medieval battles, both on land and sea, this book is for you. Travel all across Britain, including many places you can still find on a map and some that have new names since then, and 'see' them through the prose as they once were long ago. Then, up to Norway and as far South as the Southern coast of Italy. I'll not give away any of the plot as the twists and events in the plot are quite compelling, especially when you don't already know what will happen next. I'll just say that even if you know nothing of history, you'll still enjoy this book as much as any fantasy story.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Rabe

    All I can say is: I'm so glad we're finally finished with this book. I have heard so many homeschoolers rave about G.A. Henty, and we have tried off and on over the years to read him. The problem is I just don't find him an inspiring writer. He includes so many details and descriptions that are not necessary, and none of them are the kind that make the reader's heart soar. Yes, we learned many facts about the battles between the Saxons and Danes, a glimpse of King Alfred, and a taste of life in All I can say is: I'm so glad we're finally finished with this book. I have heard so many homeschoolers rave about G.A. Henty, and we have tried off and on over the years to read him. The problem is I just don't find him an inspiring writer. He includes so many details and descriptions that are not necessary, and none of them are the kind that make the reader's heart soar. Yes, we learned many facts about the battles between the Saxons and Danes, a glimpse of King Alfred, and a taste of life in England in the late 800s, but it was far too unsatisfying a reward for plowing through the bland writing and lame dialogue. Remind me of this the next time I am tempted to pull another Henty off the shelf for our readaloud time.

  11. 4 out of 5

    momma.hailey

    Historical fiction from a biblical world view. Does it get any better?!? The Dragon and the Raven Dramatic audio (lamplighter publishing style) by G.A. Henty. We recently listened to this epic story of King Alfred of Wessex standing against the Danes as they invade England in the late 800s. I cannot recommend this enough. You don't be disappointed. My entire family listened (ages 1-39) and we all loved it......well.....the 1 year old napped during most of it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Because_I'm_Batman

    This was a book I had to read for school and I must say I enjoyed it, it was a nice story that told the history surrounding that time period in a fantastic way. It was a rather straight forward style of writing with okay dialogue, the further I got the more sucked in I was.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bill Tillman

    Great children's tale as told by one of the 19th century's great authors.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kent Keifer

    I love books about the middle ages, so I would have enjoyed this book no matter what. Although this is considered a classic, and Henty is known for his historical accuracy, I wouldn't rate this as a great book. Henty wrote in Victorian times and his characters speak like they're from Victorian times. They are very proper in their speech and it's pretty hard to imagine this formal speech in the heat of battle. Henty definitely favors the English in this book, with the main character being a flawl I love books about the middle ages, so I would have enjoyed this book no matter what. Although this is considered a classic, and Henty is known for his historical accuracy, I wouldn't rate this as a great book. Henty wrote in Victorian times and his characters speak like they're from Victorian times. They are very proper in their speech and it's pretty hard to imagine this formal speech in the heat of battle. Henty definitely favors the English in this book, with the main character being a flawless Hero, and the English being completely good and the Vikings bad. I'm used to modern books with flawed heroes, and it's hard for me to imagine someone being as perfect as Edward and King Alfred are presented in this book. The book did take me back to the books of my childhood though, when the world was very black and white, and I could really believe and celebrate the noble deeds of the brave knights in conquering evil. I still feel we can celebrate the great patriotism and bravery of these men, while considering that there is always another side with their own set of heroes and tales of lore. I believe the story of the Danish invasion of the British Isles and the many efforts of the Saxons and others to push them back is fascinating, and if you don't mind the strongly English bias, this is an inspiring tale with a cross-cultural love story as well.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ron Smorynski

    Yah know... at first I was like... this is weird... the pacing was... weird! It sure ain't like modern fiction methinks. There would be narratives then suddenly months or years would pass by in a sentence or two! I'm like... wow. But I guess you gotta do that. Its about 1 young earl who fights vikings and kind of feels almost like my Alfred book series in a way. He comes up with novel ways of fighting and the vikings ability to defeat farming England really sets up an untenable & interesting Yah know... at first I was like... this is weird... the pacing was... weird! It sure ain't like modern fiction methinks. There would be narratives then suddenly months or years would pass by in a sentence or two! I'm like... wow. But I guess you gotta do that. Its about 1 young earl who fights vikings and kind of feels almost like my Alfred book series in a way. He comes up with novel ways of fighting and the vikings ability to defeat farming England really sets up an untenable & interesting situation. Definitely gives interesting and somewhat probable notions of what folks back then thought and how they acted. I've actually never read anything like this, it kind of felt more like the writing of a graphic novel than a novel. If I may so. But left me with lots of invigorating imagery and action sequences.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Ricker

    Part of my lack of enthusiasm for this book is probably due to the audiobook narrator, who managed to make even the exciting bits sound terribly dull, and who dragged out the last couple words of his sentences in an oddddd fashiooon. But the story itself lost me at points, especially since the book alternated between following one main character's story and going off on long summaries of historical events. Good historical fiction makes you feel as though you were present, not as though you're si Part of my lack of enthusiasm for this book is probably due to the audiobook narrator, who managed to make even the exciting bits sound terribly dull, and who dragged out the last couple words of his sentences in an oddddd fashiooon. But the story itself lost me at points, especially since the book alternated between following one main character's story and going off on long summaries of historical events. Good historical fiction makes you feel as though you were present, not as though you're sitting through a lecture of the most significant events of the time period.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ross Anderson

    Not bad. Not particularly spectacular, either. I have a feeling this would constitute a gripping novel 150 years ago, but it is hard to climb out from behind today's standards. I felt dissatisfied at not seeing what modern fiction is rated on: hearing characters' mental monologues, careful precautions against info-dumping, and a climactic conquest of the villain by the hero. Still, worth reading, especially to gain a good understanding of 19th-century historical fiction or what an adventure stor Not bad. Not particularly spectacular, either. I have a feeling this would constitute a gripping novel 150 years ago, but it is hard to climb out from behind today's standards. I felt dissatisfied at not seeing what modern fiction is rated on: hearing characters' mental monologues, careful precautions against info-dumping, and a climactic conquest of the villain by the hero. Still, worth reading, especially to gain a good understanding of 19th-century historical fiction or what an adventure story set during the time of Alfred the Great would entail.

  18. 4 out of 5

    La Haynes

    It was slow reading through the Introduction, Preface, and first-second chapters. Since I was generally unfamiliar with the geography of England (and France), and this time of history, I spent a good amount of time studying maps, which I enjoyed. I am glad to have Henty’s word pictures filling in this part of history. So glad that I don’t have to slog through marshes, or travel with warriors. This story showed me that the “English” section of my heritage is more likely a complex mixture of Europ It was slow reading through the Introduction, Preface, and first-second chapters. Since I was generally unfamiliar with the geography of England (and France), and this time of history, I spent a good amount of time studying maps, which I enjoyed. I am glad to have Henty’s word pictures filling in this part of history. So glad that I don’t have to slog through marshes, or travel with warriors. This story showed me that the “English” section of my heritage is more likely a complex mixture of European ancestry. Misleading: The illustrations make the Danes look blonde, instead of dark haired.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Nims

    Eh, it was pretty good. From the perspective of a somewhat pulpy historical adventure, it was actually quite enjoyable. I can’t speak to historical accuracy, but it seemed pretty grounded. Had never heard of the author before, so I didn’t know I was going into such preachy Christian fiction. Not sure I’d read more oh his stuff, but this was enjoyable enough.

  20. 5 out of 5

    George

    This historical adventure novel opens in 870 and quickly moves to 875 (continues for another 20 years) England when Danes are overrunning the Saxon kingdoms and a Saxon King Alfred must fight to save his ravished land. It opens with then 14 year old Edmond and the story unfolds through his eyes. He becomes Alfred's friend and and grows into a major Saxon warrior and leader.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I am still trying to understand if there are two levels of the storyline or some strange method of descriptive narration. It seems to be too cold for non-fiction and too emotional for documentary. Hope that was the idea.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bill Suits

    This was a lot different than I thought it would be. I liked the first part and the Siege of Paris storyline but then it went somewhere I did not want to go. Background for further reading is there though.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    I'm glad I picked this up at a giveaway table for a church. The reason it caught my eye is how the title reminded me of A Song of Ice and Fire. Although, there are no actual dragons in this book, I would definitely recommend to anyone who wants to read history in their fiction.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    This book is strong on the historical side, which I enjoyed immensely. The story is almost secondary to the history, but it’s a GREAT intro for a new student of history for this era. Highly recommend.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    My 13 year old, who read this for school, consider the book too long with old timey (his word) language. In other words it was mostly boring to him. I found it entertaining and a fun adventure.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jacquie

    My 12 year old read this one. He did not enjoy it, it was a chore for him. This one is too far outside his box.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tim Van Order

    A fascinating story. Henty is a master of keeping the reader spellbound with what will happen next. A fast-paced historical narrative with a hero that is easy to root for.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tina Ambury

    Kind of a boy's own history and at times (the siege of Paris), a little boring.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Roberts

    I liked this book for the insight it gave into Saxon culture and the chronology of Danish invasions. But I find G. A. Henry’s writing and pacing tedious. All plot and little character development.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Clarkston

    We have been loving GA Henty's books this year. (I do them with my kids.) While I would have a hard time choosing a favorite story, I think I have to pick Alfred the Great as my favorite character. There are so many wonderful heroes of old we learn more of in Henty's rich stories- William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, King Harold II- I think I fell in love with Alfred the Great. He's my historical figure crush. I mean really, the guy was all that AND a bag of chips.

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