The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare was one of my favorite family read-alouds as a kid, and I’m thrilled that our older kids loved it just as much as I did.
This wonderful work of historical fiction explores the early Roman Empire through the eyes of Daniel, an 18 year-old Israelite growing up during the time of Jesus.
Daniel has a deep set hatred in his heart for the Romans. He has vowed to avenge his father’s death by joining a small, but growing band of rebels called the Zealots, who are determined to drive the Romans out of their homeland.
However, when his Grandmother dies, Daniel must return to his town to care for his demon-possessed sister. Here, he learns that hatred almost always results in the destruction of those he cares about. His anger seems to be a force for evil, and not the solution for power over the Romans he anticipated it would be.
Can the carpenter’s son – the Man who heals his demon-possessed sister, Leah – change his heart of stone and convince him that hatred is not the answer? Is it even possible to show love to a Roman?!
In addition to conveying the powerlessness of hatred, and the wonder and miracle of Christ-like love, The Bronze Bow gives us insight into the cultural challenges Jesus may have faced in his earthly ministry to the Jews who were very much under oppression from the Romans. It also gives us a better idea of the geographical area in which Jesus lived.
With the exception of the first chapter or two, the story is quite fast-paced, so it holds the reader/listener’s attention well, and is especially riveting for boys!
I’d recommend The Bronze Bow as a family read aloud, or for older children, ages 12+.