HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Lion of St. Mark: A Tale of Venice in the Fourteenth Century
Author: G. A. Henty
Publisher: Preston-Speed Publications, republished in 2000
ISBN-13: 978-1887159524 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1887159525 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-1887159531 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1887159533 (Paperback)
Related website: http://www.prestonspeed.com/ (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 9 and up
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Henty, G. A. The Lion of St. Mark: A Tale of Venice in the Fourteenth Century (originally published in 1889; republished in 2000 by Preston-Speed Publications). It is 1376, and sixteen-year-old Francis Hammond is the son of an English merchant living in Venice, Italy, a city-state whose banner is the Lion of St. Mark. Francis has occasion to rescue two young sisters, cousins of his friend Matteo, from a would-be but undesirable suitor a couple of different times. In the process he makes some enemies, but he also makes some good friends. The girls’ father, a wealthy Venetian merchant, gives young Francis a job in his business. Over the next four years, Francis is captured by pirates and escapes, and also participates in the war between Genoa and Venice, contributing to the Venetian victories at Porto d’Anzo and Chioggia. The hero displays good sense and bravery which carry him safely through an atmosphere of intrigue, crime, and bloodshed.
George Alfred Henty, one of our favorite authors who is known as “The Prince of Story-Tellers” and “The Boys Own Historian,” had as his chief purpose in writing his stories to encourage a manly and enterprising spirit in young men. Francis, like all of Henty’s heroes, is diligent, courageous, intelligent, and dedicated to his country and cause in the face of great peril. His manliness, courage, and presence of mind enable him to foil the plots of his enemy and assist Venice in her struggle to remain free. This action-packed adventure is placed in an accurate historical setting, thus making the study of history exciting. In fact, respected historians have acknowledged Henty’s histories, particularly the accounts of battles, for their accuracy. We listened to this book, read by the inimitable voice of our friend Jim Weiss with some judicious abridgement, while travelling.