Title: The Night Rider’s Call
Author: Albert Lee
Major Themes: Adventure, Bible Translation, William Tyndale
Synopsis: The thrilling adventures of two young people as they try to protect William Tyndale and his work.
Soon after I learned to read, I was introduced to a book called Thrilling Escapes by Night. I remember reading it and enjoying the story, but it soon was forgotten as I found other books to capture my attention. Recently, I remembered it again, and when I looked it up, I discovered that it has been renamed and re-released as The Night Rider’s Call. The audiobook proved a diverting companion as I worked in the garden, and though it wasn’t nearly as gripping or well written as I remember from when I was 8 or 9, it still proved to be an interesting story, one I was happy to share with my younger siblings!
Just as she was starting to head back to her home in the city one evening, Margaret came across a weary wayfarer. The man proved to be William Tyndale, the hunted heretic, she and her fiancé Herman Bengel secretly take him into the city and hide him in Herman’s home for a while. While he lives with Herman, they learn of Tyndale’s work and become determined to do their best to protect him. The heretic hunter Cochlaeus is on his trail, though, and soon Tyndale must move—or be caught, tortured, and killed by the merciless Inquisitors. With the city gates watched, however, they can’t take him out as easily as he came in…but when Herman and Margaret discover a secret passageway, can that be their ticket to freedom for the hunted man?
The Night Rider’s Call is written for an audience much younger than me, but somehow, it still catches my fancy. I’ve always thought the idea of secret passageways fun, and even though the concept felt almost overdone in this book, it still provided a good way of adding to the tension and creating the possibility for escape.
The main point of the book—sharing William Tyndale’s work and some of the struggles he went through to a younger audience—was well done. As far as I know, everything in here is fictitious, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that he was spared from arrest on countless occasions while he did God’s work. The gravity of the work and the careful way he went about doing it came through in here, and I appreciated seeing that. He had a reverence for God’s word, and he was determined to do his best—with whatever time was granted to him.
As far as the rest of the book is concerned—it’s a great adventure story, which would likely appeal the most to boys. There is a bit of fighting and other danger, nearly all of which is off-screen and only talked about. If you’re looking for a clean read for your children that has enough action to keep them interested, this could be a good choice. They’ll learn some history from it, even if most of it is completely made up!
WARNING: There is lying in ch. 6, two long-dead people are found in ch. 7, a man is found badly beaten in ch. 22, and a man is thrown from his horse and killed in ch. 28. A man is mentioned who was tortured and drowned, and someone retells a fight where lots of men were killed in ch. 30. Throughout the book, there are mentions of the names of some of the torments done by the Inquisition (the rack, the thumb-screw, etc.), but they are never detailed.
One character is frequently referred to as “simple”, with other characters continually surprised at his abilities; I found this part of the book somewhat disturbing, because the attitudes shown in here, though perhaps true to the time, are not the way God would want us to think of/treat our fellow human beings. The connotation I got from the attitudes displayed and the narration is that we should look down on the “simple-minded”, and I didn’t appreciate that.
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12