Title: Spring Tide
Author: Mary Ray
Major Themes: Britain, Christian History, Roman Britain
Synopsis: When Con and his friend Julius discover that their new friend Brychan is a Christian, they try to help him escape the persecution that the emperor has just decreed.
Britain, A. D. 311. The Roman Empire is starting to lose its grip. The local tribes are threatening to rise up and throw off the Roman yoke. One spring day, as Con and his friend Julius were helping Fabius cut poles, they saw ominous signs of movement in the forest. They hurried back to the farm, arriving just in time to help fight off the raiding party of Britons—with the help of a young stranger who also arrived, with an old man who was traveling with him. Con and Julius were drawn to the quiet young stranger—and then they discovered that he was a Christian. This posed quite the quandary for the boys, especially when word arrived from Rome that the emperor had just issued an edict stating that Christians were the enemy of the state! They knew they couldn’t turn Brychan in; he was their friend. What were they to do with this knowledge?
I appreciated a number of aspects of Spring Tide. Mary Ray has done a masterful job of showing what life was probably like in Britain at the time. I appreciated the way Con’s father was involved with his son. The story in which one man gave his life for another was good, also. On the other hand, it didn’t seem like the author understands the Bible the way we do; her description of salvation and what the Christian life is about seemed to have a very strong Catholic slant to it. She did do an excellent job of capturing the conflicting feelings of various people as they had to live under different emperors who issued edicts either ordering persecution or stopping the persecution. People didn’t know from one day to the next what the status of Christians would be—outlaws or good citizens.
WARNING: Chapter 1 has a character exclaiming, “Jupiter!” Chapter 2 describes hand-to-hand fighting and killing. Chapters 7, 8 and 10 include lying.
Listening Level—Ages 10 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above