We’ve listened to many great G.A. Henty stories through our reviews of Heirloom Audio Productions CD sets. The latest one we received to review is called Wulf the Saxon. It is a 2 CD set containing a 2 1/2 hour long audio book that is family friendly. They say it is for ages 6 to adult, and I agree with that range.
Wulf the Saxon
The story is set in 11th century Britain where a young Saxon page, Wulf, dreams of becoming a Thane. He wants to rule over his family’s land and has to figure out how to act in order to reach those goals. At the beginning of the story, he actually finds out the hard way that his behavior reflects upon the Earl of whom he serves, and begins to act more honorably after that.
His life becomes a lot more interesting at this point. At just 16, he begins a life full of battles, heartbreak, difficult decisions, and heavy responsibilities. He witnesses betrayal, death, and amazing displays of love. Wulf grows into a man with each challenge.
The story was a little intense for my 5 year old and a little over his head. He had a harder time understanding what was going on because it was a very politically-driven story, full of fighting and tense confrontations between people. He was asking me why prisoners and other people were being forced to either comply or die.
My older children enjoyed following Wulf as he continuously found himself in impossible situations. My son thought it was great that he was so loyal and stood for what he believed in, no matter what. He was a good friend and honorable.
My daughter liked that there were women in the story, especially since they were seen as strong and wise characters! They gave good advice and were brave in their own right. She did think it was annoying that they were promised and married away at will due to what was good for their families rather than for love. We all agreed that it was kind of sad to live in a time and place where marriage was seen as such a power play rather than following their hearts! You’ll have to listen to the story to see who was able to, but sometimes marriage for love did happen and men and women during that time period did get their happily ever after. This was my favorite part! I guess I’m a romantic at heart. 🙂
Overall, the story is very heavy on history, so if you want to brush up on your knowledge of the Norman invasion in England back in the 11th century, it would make this audio adventure even better. I confess, I had to crack open a book to read up on the Battle of Hastings so I could fully appreciate this audio book and the magnitude of the decisions that were made and the impact that certain people had. Even if you or your children are not very interested in historical fiction, you’ll still find the CDs enjoyable. Pretty much any back story and historical context you would need to understand the timeline of events are included within the story.
Heirloom Audio Productions
As with other Heirloom Audio Productions, there is a very talented all-star cast doing the vocals of this adventure. You might recognize Brian Blessed (fron Tarzan, Star Wars, King Lear), Helen George (from Call the Midwife), Chris Larkin (from Valkyrie and Master and Commander), or Jack Farthing (from Poldark), among others. The sound effects for the story are high quality and make the adventure much more believable and exciting.
Another thing I love about this audio book is that there is a great moral message. Keep in mind that G.A. Henty stories are all about taking a time in history and telling a story that is exciting and shows the characters’ courage and character, but also showing how faith in God helped in times of despair and hardship. While some moments might seem tense or even a little scary, it’s nice to see that, in the end, everything works out according to God’s plan and people are touched by His grace.
I listened to the story with my kids after they were done with their schoolwork for the day. My new van does not have a CD-player, so we weren’t able to listen on our commute as we normally would. When you purchase this CD, you WILL receive instant access to an mp3 of the disc, so if you’re in the same boat, you can still listen via Bluetooth or using an auxiliary cord after downloading Wulf the Saxon to your phone or other device.
My kids like being able to listen to their stories, and this is far more interesting than a straight audio book. All of the different voice actors, the music, realistic sound effects, and engaging narration really make this hard to turn off!
If you’re interested in other stories from Heirloom Audio Productions, check out my reviews of previously-released albums like Under Drake’s Flag, In Freedom’s Cause, The Dragon and the Raven, and With Lee in Virginia. If you really love having access to all of the stories, check out the Live the Adventure Club. You get three 2-CD sets sent to you each year, get access to lots of great extras, have some extra educational resources, be able to stream over 500 old time radio shows, and more. This is a monthly membership, and there is even a digital-only option available.