Title: The Betrayer’s Fortune
Author: Dave & Neta Jackson
Series: Trailblazer Books
Major Themes: Anabaptists, Menno Simons, Belgium, Christian Fiction
Synopsis: When his mother is imprisoned for her faith, Adriaen Wens must make a decision for himself, whether to set her free by betraying Menno Simons, or to take her faith for his own.
My children always enjoy it when I read one of the Trailblazer Books, by Dave & Neta Jackson, to them. They love the adventure, as well as the fact that they are based on real people. One of our recent ones was The Betrayer’s Fortune, about Menno Simons and the early Anabaptists in the Low Countries, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Adriaen and his father were doing a job away from home when Adriaen witnessed the capture of Dirk Willems. Adriaen was terrified when he learned that Dirk was one of his father’s fellow Anabaptists—was the persecution starting up again? They hurried home as soon as the job was finished, anxious to be with the rest of the family again. However, no one was in the apartment when they reached home. And then, they learned the horrible news. Mama had been captured and was in prison. What would happen to them now? Adriaen had to find her and talk to her.
Going into the prison to talk to Mama, however, meant that Adriaen endangered not only himself, but all the rest of the small group of Anabaptists in the city, as well. He had to flee with Menno Simons and live in hiding with him. The solution to all his troubles soon fell into his hands, however, when he got hold of a handbill offering a reward, including the forgiveness of crimes, to anyone who would turn Menno in to the authorities. If he did that, he could get his mother freed! What an opportunity. What should he do about it?
The Betrayer’s Fortune helps children think about what it means to follow Jesus. There were people in this story who gave their lives for their faith, and Adriaen had to make a decision for himself, whether he would risk his life to follow Jesus and the teachings his parents believed, or would he attempt to save his family’s lives by betraying the famous preacher? The book is also a good introduction to the early Anabaptists, and the founder of the Mennonites. And by the way, not only is Menno Simons a historical character, but Adriaen’s mother, Maeyken Wens, is as well.
WARNING: Chapter 1 shows people discussing burning a man at the stake. Chapter 5 shows a man being tortured.
Read Aloud—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12