Monday, December 22, 2008

The Bronze Bow

by Elizabeth George Speare

summary from
Daniel bar Jamin is fired by only one passion: to avenge his father's death by crucifixion by driving the Roman legions from his land of Israel. He joins an outlaw band and leads a dangerous life of spying, plotting, and impatiently waiting to seek revenge. Headstrong Daniel is devoid of tenderness and forgiveness, heading down a destructive path toward disaster until he hears the lessons taught by Jesus of Nazareth.

I read this book because it won a Newbery. I try to read one Newbery winner per month rotating between books that I think look interesting and books that I don' t think look interesting. I didn't think I would like The Bronze Bow, among other things, I thought it was really weird that this wasn't a "religious book" yet featured Jesus Christ as a prominent character. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I did in fact like it.

Daniel hates the Romans, and even though he's about 18, he can hardly control himself when he is near a soldier. Always spitting, and various other things to make sure they realize his distaste. A few times his actions even get him into trouble, and it was kind of frustrating to me how often he was willing to put himself and others in danger because of his hatred. However, watching Daniel grow up and realize that Rosh isn't all the he's cracked up to be and maybe some of the teachings that Jesus of Nazareth promotes makes sense.

I really liked the supporting characters. Daniel's sister, Leah, really interested me. In the book they think she is possessed by demons. I suspect today she would be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress or something - she never really recovers from witnessing her father's crucifixion. Watching her come out of her shell is fabulous, and I couldn't help hating Daniel when he yelled at her.

I wouldn't classify this book as religious. There are several scenes with Christ - most of his words are taken from the New Testament - but it's not a book that is trying to convert you. It's just a fabulous story of forgiveness and love. It turned out to be a great read for the Christmas season.


Chain Reader said...

I liked this one too!

Laura H said...

I read some of this book too but couldnt get into it and stopped.From your description maybe I should have kept going.
This author also wrote The Witch of Blackbird Pond??(I think thats the name) I really like that one.

Laura H said...

Kt did you read The Devil's Atithmetic???

Jeane said...

I thought this book looked boring at first (I had to read it in school) and then was surprised when I really liked it. I'd always wondered what it would be like for someone who lived back in those times to run into rumors of Jesus, and I liked seeing how it touched David's life, even when he wasn't religious.

KT said...

Chain - yay.

Laura - It does start of kind of slow. It's actually fairly slow throughout (minus a couple of fight scenes), but I enjoyed it. And, yes, I have read The Devil's Arithmetic.

Jeane - I agree. I really enjoyed getting a feel for those times. I'm surprised you read this one for school - it seems like it wouldn't be "appropriate" mentioning Christ and all.