The Bronze Bow- Elizabeth Speare

Synopsis: He trains my hands for war so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. –from the Song of David (2 Samuel 22:35)

The Bronze Bow, written by Elizabeth George Speare (author of The Witch of Blackbird Pond) won the Newbery Medal in 1962. This gripping, action-packed novel tells the story of eighteen-year-old Daniel bar Jamin—a fierce, hot-headed young man bent on revenging his father’s death by forcing the Romans from his land of Israel. Daniel’s palpable hatred for Romans wanes only when he starts to hear the gentle lessons of the travelling carpenter, Jesus of Nazareth.

 

Violence

As Daniel is part of the zealots, he is a regular part of raids and pillaging. He is injured by a Roman, after showing disrespect. Freeing Joel from captivity, Daniel loses two of his friends to the Romans- one died immediately, the other was wounded and taken.

 

Romance

Talk of weddings. Thacia and Daniel develop an attachment, as do Leah and Marcus.

 

Alcohol/Substance

Throughout the book, wine is drunk.

 

Authority

Daniel is a part of the zealots- an uprising against the Romans. He detests their rule and rebels against it in action and in thought.

 

Language

n/a.

 

Religion

This is set in the time of Jesus, taking place and coinciding with many of Jesus ministry and miracles. Jesus is a character in the novel.

 

Other

There is plenty of hatred in this book, as Daniel has been consumed by his bitterness.

“In war, a lie is a weapon,” Daniel tells Thacia. It is so, throughout the novel, that there are underhanded dealings, deceit and lies thrown about without a care… at first.

 

Overall feel: The story is captivating, with a strong message about love and hatred. The content is clean in regards to romance and language, however, there is an oppressive feel to the book. Daniel has buried himself so deep in hatred and bitterness, that it truly takes a while for his heart to soften- in the end, it is worth all the heartache and the bitterness, as he realises that love has more power, more freedom, than what hatred could ever bring about.

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