HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Crushed Yet Conquering: A Story of Constance and Bohemia
Author: Deborah Alcock
Publisher: Inheritance Publications, republished in 2002
Related website: http://www.inhpubl.net/ (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Alcock, Deborah. Crushed Yet Conquering: A Story of Constance and Bohemia (originally published in 1900 by the Religious Tract Society; republished in 2002 by Inheritance Publications, P. O. Box 366, Pella, IA 50219). It is 1401 when the book opens with the death of a husband and wife in France, leaving two boys orphans. Hubert, the elder of the two, is the son of the wife by her first marriage to an Englishman, and Armand is the son of her second marriage to a Frenchman. Hubert is sent to study under the Bishop of Arras and ends up serving in the court of Jean Gerson who is the Chancellor of Paris, while Armand is attached to the household of the Duke of Burgundy and becomes a squire. The plot then skips ahead a few years, where the brothers meet again in Constance where the Bohemian reformer John Huss is condemned to martyrdom by the Roman Catholic Council under the leadership of Gerson.
Hubert is so repulsed by the unfair actions of the council that he leaves the service of Gerson and accompanies the knight John of Chlum, who was Huss’s greatest supporter, back to Bohemia. There he falls in love with Chlum’s daughter Zedenka. The rest of the book relates the history of the church in Bohemia and the terrible persecutions which those who support Huss endure at the hands of the Catholic authorities. What will happen to Hubert and Zedenka? Crushed Yet Conquering is filled with accurate historical facts about John Huss and the Hussite wars. The story of John Huss is strictly true. Nothing has been added or altered. All the dialogue given to Huss in the book is directly taken from his quotations, and the actual words of others are in italics. The relations of Gerson to Hubert Bohun are imaginary, but almost every expression of opinion attributed to Gerson has been taken from his writings, and the circumstances of his death are strictly historical as well as the instances of martyrdom introduced.
Deborah Alcock (1835-1913) was the author of several historical novels about the Reformation period and other times, including The Romance of Protestantism, Dr. Adrian, Done and Dared in Old France, The Czar, Archie’s Chances, Prisoners of Hope, and perhaps her best known The Spanish Brothers. Crushed Yet Conquering is part of the Reformation Trail Series published by Inheritance Publications. We did it is a family read aloud. There are several references to drinking wine and other alcoholic beverages which I edited out in reading aloud. It is a gripping story that is not easy to read aloud because of its length, slightly antiquated language, rather intricate plot, and many asides by the author, but it is worth the effort. While the emphasis is on the Catholic persecution of the Hussites, Alcock doesn’t shy away from pointing out some of the mistakes made by the Hussites. It certainly increased our understanding and appreciation of this often overlooked part of Western history.