Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket: If All the Swords in England

by Barbara Willard

This book is one of the recommended resources for Connecting with History volume 3 at the grammar level. First Daughter will be using mostly grammar level resources but I wanted to read this one ahead of time because I was afraid the martyr's death at the end might be upsetting to her.

The book is written from the points of view of twin boys, separated by service. Edmund serves the King of England while Simon serves the Archbishop. They see each other only rarely. In the end, Edmund realizes what is going to happen and attempts to warn the Archbishop. He arrives too late, but St. Thomas Becket knew already what would transpire. The hectic ride is the focus of the back cover which I thought was a little silly since anyone reading the book probably knows the book will end with a murder.

The title comes from St. Thomas Becket's own words as they are quoted in the novel.
"I know you have come to kill me." He rose, then. He pulled himself up to his immense height and his great powerful voice rang out over their heads. "I make God my shield. If all the swords in England were pointed against my head, your threats could not move me. Foot to foot you will find me in the battle of my Lord."
The moment of martyrdom is described and it is violent. The attackers hack at the holy man and a renegade monk deals the final blow.
He drew his sword and struck at the skull of the dead man, scattering brains and blood on the pavement.
It is only a few pages, though Simon's sorrow continues.

I think First Daughter can handle this book even if the ending may be a bit outside her comfort zone. It is an excellent introduction to conflict between earthly and heavenly kingdoms.


I purchased this book from the publisher (not an affiliate link) which often runs sales, but I've linked above to RC History (affiliate link) because I intend to use this book with Connecting with History. It is also available from Amazon (another affiliate link)

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