We borrowed this book (on CD) from some friends and listened to it in the van whilst traveling hither and yon. To my shame, it’s the first Henty I’ve read. I have heard good things about Henty’s work for a number of years, but this was my first experience.
I wish I could have given the book 3 1/2 stars, but I bumped it up to 4… I’m a nice guy.
It was a good story, packed with historical interests. The protagonist, Malchus, was quite lovable in a PG sort of way. He exemplifies many admirable character qualities. The downside, however, was that it made his character seem a bit flat: almost Ned Flanders-ish, but not quite. The story moved from one pond of action and adventure to another to another, to the point where young Machus’s life seemed reminiscent of an episode of 24. The action portions of the book, however, were fun and well-told. The streams between those ponds of action, though, were not as pleasing. It would appear that Henty had a penchant for supplying detail, much detail, tedious detail. I think the book would have been better without it, but it was still a good book with it. My seven-year-old liked the book, so I’m sure we’ll do more Henty. Maybe we’ll even borrow some more from our friends!