When we get the chance to review any of G.A. Henty‘s adventure novels, we know that we have a great time ahead of us. Captain Bayley’s Heir was sent to us a few weeks ago, an audio drama produced by Heirloom Audio Productions. And as we knew, it was a great adventure indeed focused on the American gold rush (and God’s amazing grace).
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How We Used This Audio Adventure
Captain Bayley’s Heir is the story of not only the search for California gold, but more importantly, the story of God’s grace. The adventure begins as a story within a story. A writer is traveling west in America and shares a fireside chat with a young entrepreneur rancher. He then begins the story of a young lad with a physical ailment (problems walking and running). As the story goes, this young lad, Harry, is a wonderful reader and musician, but because of his frailty does not like to go outside very much at all. When he does on this one particular day, his dog falls through an ice patch on the pond and nearly drowns. However, a young lady, Alice, and her two house-mates/”brothers” happen by and one jumps in and saves the dog.
This adventure leads to others (like a bit of fighting, subterfuge, running away from home, wagon trains, Indian attacks, and so much more!). It’s one series of adventures after another. And twists? Yes, there are a few plot twists and a few times I was like, “No way! I didn’t see that coming.” I don’t want to give it away, but as the back stories and the current stories start to merge, you can see God’s grace weaving its way through the entire adventure.
That’s what God’s grace does…Helps you see. Without it, we’re all savages.
I also had the opportunity to review the study guide for this adventure. While I did not use any portion of it, let me explain what I found. Within its 38 pages, the guide is separated into chapter segments. Each chapter segment contains two sections of questions (ranging from easier questions for younger students to more thought-provoking questions for older students). And, there are also “defining words” (vocabulary words). And, the study guide also expands on other areas that would interest students (and are applicable to the story), including explanations of Victorian money, the Manifest Destiny, Important People of the Gold Rush, and others. The point of these additional explanations is to expand on the students’ knowledge. And, they provide more insight and deeper thought. For example, the Manifest Destiny section explains Manifest Destiny and then asks:
- How do you feel about all this?
- Do you think “big guys” should rule all, or should everyone be entitled to their own land?
- Can you think of another example of “Manifest Destiny”?
These are all good questions and can provide a great opportunity for students to do a little extra research and perhaps even write a paper on this topic. It would be quite easy to turn this audio adventure into a very in-depth learning opportunity by diving into this study guide and really expanding on the suggestions within it.
I truly enjoyed this audio adventure. I believe what I love the most is that it portrays so many issues we face today – greed, envy, jealousy, compassion, heroism, integrity, character, deceit, and so much more. But, more than that it showed me that while we may face these issues, we have a choice to make. We can choose to live with jealousy or envy, or we can choose compassion, humility and grace on how we handle ourselves and those around us. Through it all, we have God’s grace to guide us, to help right our wrongs, to show us that there is a higher road to take, even when we don’t think we can.
We all need a benefactor in life – someone who takes us in, cares for us, loves us, chastises us, and shows us the way. For me, that is God and it was reflected so many times in this audio adventure. I hope you take this chance to purchase a copy of Captain Bayley’s Heir for yourself (or your family). You won’t be disappointed.
By the way, you can also read my full review of In the Reign of Terror audio CD by Heirloom Audio Productions.
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