Title: The Revolt
Author: Douglas Bond
Major Themes: Bible, England, John Wycliffe, Serfs, Translation
Synopsis: Two young men, a secretary and a serf, find themselves thrown together repeatedly as John Wycliffe stirs things up in 14th century England.
My favorite genre is historical fiction. I can’t resist a good book set in some historical period in the past, so when I came across The Revolt I knew I wanted to read it. I wasn’t disappointed—this is a good book!
I was a little confused when I started reading this book, because the point of view switches frequently. After a couple of chapters, though, I was able to easily switch back and forth. The story is mainly told through the eyes of Hugh West’all, an 18-year-old pressed into service as a secretary in the army of King Edward III of France as he tried to take over the throne of France from King Philip VI in the year 1346. During a battle, he sees a young archer and his father, also an archer; after the battle he watches the young man bury his father. This young man’s story is told alternately with Hugh’s story as they go back to England and both end up listening to the teaching of John of Wycliffe.
Hugh and his friend Alfred, students, are drawn to John of Wycliffe and find themselves helping him in various ways. The young archer, Willard, though as a serf he is considered subhuman, finds himself drawn to the revolutionary teachings of John as well, especially as he must battle against the wrongs he sees around him in church men. When plague sweeps through England, will any of them survive? Should they listen to the friars who are selling overpriced “preventatives” for the plague, and indulgences to protect their souls should they die? When Willard challenges a friar and wins, and his life is in danger as a result, is there any way to protect him? What about his beautiful sister?
The Revolt is a great book for anyone who likes to read books set in real times and places in the past. By reading it, you will get a real feel for the way people lived in the 14th century, and exactly how revolutionary John Wycliffe was.
I received a free ecopy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
WARNING: Not for young children; while it is not very explicit, there are battle scenes and a couple of scenes in which the friar tries to use Willard’s sister for his own pleasure. There is a thread of romance running through the book, but it basically only serves to tie the story together.
Listening Level—Ages 10 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above