Enjoying Classic G.A. Henty Books with Audio Adventures (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

As a young homeschool mom, I heard about G.A. Henty books at a workshop at a homeschool convention. These great historical fiction books are living books that can be used when you’re studying a particular time period in history. I excitedly purchased a few and began reading the first aloud to my kids. It was a flop.

Audio adventures review

They didn’t like the book. And I didn’t even particularly like the book. We were G.A. Henty dropouts. And then a few years ago, I was introduced to Heirloom Audio Productions through the Schoolhouse Review Crew. These excellent, quality productions bring the G.A. Henty books alive through audio dramas. I’ve had the opportunity to listen to several and was excited to review the most recent, Beric the Briton.

My children are still not as much a fan as I am. But I really enjoy the way that the stories are presented. The time period of Beric the Briton- during the Roman conquest of the Britons- is one I particularly like to read about. So, I reviewed Beric the Briton primarily as fun for me, although the kids occasionally listened as well. The audio drama is considered appropriate for ages 6 and up, according the Beric the Briton web page. But I think that some younger kids might be frightened during some of the intense scenes, so it probably depends on the individual child.

What We Received

We received a two CD set of the audio drama. We also received downloadable bonuses that include:

  • A set of mp3 files of the audio drama
  • The original Beric the Briton ebook
  • The official mp3 soundtrack from the audio drama
  • A printable cast poster
  • A printable Scripture verse poster
  • A study guide/discussion guide to use along with the story
  • Access to the Live the Adventure website and e-newsletter- a site that seeks to bring history to life and show God’s hand in it
  • A behind the scenes video
Review of Heirloom Audio Beric the Briton

Heirloom Audio Productions

Heirloom Audio Productions seeks to bring history to life and seeks the truth in historical stories. Their productions are based on a Christian worldview, and their historical dramas show God at work throughout history. Besides Beric the Briton, they currently have audio dramas based on the following G.A. Henty works:

  • The Dragon and the Raven- set in England during the Middle Ages; the story of Alfred of Wessex
  • With Lee in Virginia- set during the Civil War; the story of Robert E. Lee
  • In Freedom’s Cause- set in Scotland during the Middle Ages; the story of William Wallace
  • Under Drake’s Flag- set in the 1500s during the time of exploring new Worlds; the story of Sir Francis Drake

Beric the Briton

The story of Beric the Briton takes place in AD 61 at the height of the Roman Empire. Beric is a young British chieftain. The Britons are resentful over the domination of the Romans, and many of them wish to fight off Roman rule.
Brice has lived for some time with Romans and has good relationships with some of them. He has watched the Roman legions train and fight. He tries to encourage his men to learn how to fight like the Romans in order to be able to stand against them, but many of them don’t want anything to do with Roman ways.
When a powerful Briton queen- Boadicea- is disgraced by Romans, the Britons decide to rebel against them at last. Because of their unorganized fighting style, they are ill prepared. They are defeated and Beric is one of the men captured and taken to Rome to become a gladiator.
Throughout the story is woven the influence of early Christianity among the Romans and the Britons. And persecution of Christians under Nero’s rule is an important theme throughout.

Audio Drama vs. Audiobook

This audio drama is not the same as listening to the G.A. Henty book read aloud. The audio drama consists of actors who read out the lines, along with music and sound effects. It is similar to listening to a movie without watching it.
Although the audio drama is true to the book, as much as I’ve seen, it isn’t the original story like audiobooks typically are. It is a dramatization.

The Study Guide

Because I was the primary one listening to and enjoying Beric the Briton, I didn’t use the study guide this time. I did look through it, and there is so much good information that I could use were I to use this audio drama as a supplement to our history curriculum. (I’m doing the ancients this year with my younger crew and could easily lead up to this. And my 10th grader is doing world history from ancient time to early modern time, so I could use it with him as well.)
The study guide is meant to help parents discuss the story and help younger children understand. It can also provide written assignments for older kids. And there are some fun activities that go along with the story.
The study guide is divided into segments that correspond with the tracks on the CDs. Each section has three types of questions. Listening Well questions are mostly basic comprehension questions to have kids recall what they heard. Thinking Further questions require more processing of information and thinking through what was in that part of the story. Defining Words helps increase kids vocabulary by defining words from that section.

 Heirloom audio drama study guide

The study guide also includes:
  • A short biography of G.A. Henty, Nero, and Queen Boadicea
  • Extra notes that explain certain elements of the culture and time
  • Recipes 
  • Websites to visit for more information
  • A supplementary booklist
  • A short section on the historical context of Beric the Briton
  • Three Bible studies covering different themes within the story
  • Information about the Roman colosseum and its significance to early Christianity
Berc the Briton study guide
The study guide could definitely provide a full history study for the time period for the whole family. Older kids could answer questions and do some of the thinking questions as writing assignments. Younger students could discuss and answer questions with some help as well.

Audio drama study guide

My Thoughts

This audio drama is very well done. I thought the story was very interesting. There are 2 1/2 hours of story, and I found myself wanting to listen to the whole thing at once because it was so good I didn’t want to stop.
The kids still aren’t huge audio drama fans. They’ve always liked to listen to me read aloud, but there have been few audio books or dramas that they’ve enjoyed.
I think that using this audio drama would be a great way to introduce the original G.A. Henty or a great way to wrap up having read the book.
The study guide is an awesome resource and could be a great way to extend the learning and make this a part of your history curriculum.
Other Review Crew members had the opportunity to listen to Beric the Briton. You can see what they thought by clicking below.

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions  Review

Find Heirloom Audio Productions on social media:

Beric The Briton FB Page


The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty series FB page


Heirloom Audio Productions social pages

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeirloomAudio

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeirloomStories

Google+: https://plus.google.com/b/114534826166314080647/114534826166314080647

Instagram: @HeirloomAudioOfficial

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