HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Born to Battle: The Confessions of Saint Illtyd
Author: D. A. Stewart
Illustrator: Anna Newcomb
Publisher: Straeon, 2021
Related website(s): http://www.peregrinipress.com
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Older teens and adults
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Category: Historical fiction
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Stewart, D. A. Born to Battle: The Confessions of Saint Illtyd (Published in 2021 by Straeon, Lantwit Major, Wales, an imprint of Peregrini Press, a division of Awen Collaborative Limited). It is A.D. 470, and as the once-mighty Roman Empire crumbles, Illtyd ap Bicanys is born the son of a British prince in Amorica (modern Brittany). His family is Christian, and his parents wish for him the life of a scholar. Together with his cousins, Myrddin ap Cynwal and Arthwyr ap Meurig from Britannia, Illtyd is trained to lead by the druid Kian, the warrior Brennus, and the priest Scapilion. The Saecsons are trying to conquer Britannia and also launch raids against Amorica, during one of which Illtyd’s father is killed while the boy is away in school. Faced with perilous circumstances, he must choose his way in the world.
As Illtyd becomes a man, he also becomes a warrior and goes to Britannia to help his fellow Britons in fighting their enemy. Illtyd makes his choices and finds himself in the heart of many battles for himself, for his people, and for the woman he loves. Will he follow the ancient ways, trusting dark powers for deliverance? Does he give in to the lust for revenge? Or can he find it in himself to seek Christ’s plan for his life? A highly entertaining, fast-moving historical novel that’s tough to put down, this wonderful story of a little known priest-turned-warrior-turned priest again brings historical characters and settings to life in vivid detail, giving the reader a feel for the turbulent times in which Illtyd lived. The lessons that Illtyd learned in his journey of faith can still speak to us today.