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Sep 9, 2014

Under Drakes Flag ~ An Heirloom Audio Productions Review

We love audio books and, even better, audio drama.  Any time I can find something suitable for the boys to listen to in the car, I'm all over it.  Heirloom Audio Productions creates phenomenal audio drama with big WOW! factor.  Using movie quality sound and pulling together an incredible cast of accomplished actors with lovely British accents, Heirloom Audio's production of Under Drake's Flag sucks you right in to the excitement of a storm, a chase through the jungle, facing the Inquisitor, sharks...  Close your eyes and you feel like you're in the theater.

Analytical Grammar Review

Originally published in 1883, Under Drake's Flag was written by George (G.A.) Henty.  G.A. loved to tell stories and wrote scads of historical fiction with a strong Christian message.

Sir Francis Drake (1545-1596) was a British naval officer knighted by Queen Elizabeth I.  He led the second (first British) expedition to circumnavigate the world.  It took three years.  The Spanish called him El Draque, meaning "The Dragon."

Sir Francis Drake appears from time to time throughout the telling of this tale, but the focus of the story is on young Ned and Gerald who have one adventure after another, often from the frying pan into the fire.  They grow from boys to faithful, godly young men.  It's amazing to think how much sooner boys were considered men then.

Ned helps shape Gerald's faith in God while following the examples of godly men like Sir Francis.  Drake has a code, even as he and his men are pillaging Spanish towns, they are never to touch a woman nor harm an unarmed man.  His men are trained to follow the same code and Ned desires to be a godly man like Sir Francis.

At their most trying time, it is Gerald who supports and lifts up Ned.  He shows him how the Lord has used the men and circumstances in his life to make him into the godly man he wanted to be and was afraid he would never become.

The narrator is fantastic.  When the drama is intense, his voice thunders.  When the tale is calmer or things are secretive, his voice is calm and mellow.  The effects are wonderful.  The quality is very high.

How did the boys like this audio book?
We've listened to it several times over the last few weeks.  The first time we listened, when it got terribly exciting right before the end of the first disk, Xav was all wound up to hear what happened next.  He was very disappointed to have to wait a few days to hear disk two.

Even though the drama is intended for ages six and up, and it's very appropriate for all ages, even in it's most exciting segments, Xavier has a super soft heart.  When Drake's brother John died in the drama, Xav cried.  "Is this true?" he asked me.  "Tell me they made this up!  Why did they have to kill John?"  I explained that it was based on true events that happened hundreds of years ago, but it did take him a few minutes to calm down and be ready to listen to the rest.  I am not saying this to imply that the drama is too intense for younger listeners, but rather to show how involved in the story you become.

This two CD audio is two hours of exciting adventure!

An abridged study guide is included with the disks.  A full version is available as a PDF download.  The study guide is divided into three sections for each track.  Listening Well section is for comprehension.  Thinking Further guides the listener to think more deeply about the story, even about things that are implied rather than spelled out in the adventure.  Defining Words is a vocabulary section for further study of words.  Three short Bible studies conclude the abridged study guide.

The 28 page downloadable study guide is of the same format as the guide included with the disk, but it is just more; more questions and more vocabulary.  For example, in the section called On Board the Pacha, the Listening Well questions number ten vs. three, the Thinking Further section questions number three as opposed to only one, and the vocabulary words number seven rather than three.  Even the three Bible studies are slightly expanded.  This extended study guide makes a really good unit study and critical thinking assignment.

You can listen to the first chapter of Under Drake's Flag for free on the website, but I warn you, you will want to hear the rest!

The two CD set, plus bonuses, is available for $29.95.
Ages 6-adult.

Under Drake's Flag on social media.

Heirloom Audio Productions next audio drama is scheduled to release in the fall (possibly early November)! It is called In Freedom's Cause, the story of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce.
In Freedom's Cause
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