Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Dragon and the Raven (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

G.A Henty, Henty Alive, Heirloom Audio, Dragon and Raven, Audio Drama
Prior to becoming a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, I was unaware of Heirloom Audio Productions or the wonderful world that is G.A. Henty.  Then, roughly a year ago, I was asked to write a review for the audio production of In Freedom's Cause, the story of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, and I absolutely fell in love.  Later that year, I was once again asked to review Heirloom Audio Productions release of With Lee In Virginia and once again found my family completely immersed in the rich audio experience that these products provide.
As a member of the 2016 Crew, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on the latest release by Heirloom Audio Productions -  The Dragon and the Raven.  Once again Heirloom Audio productions knocks it out of the ball park with this fourth installment t o their The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty series.  This time around is the telling of the story of Alfred the Great, King of Wessex, as his people are terrorized by the Danes.  Together with his loyal thane, Edmund, King Alfred's story teaches about forgiveness, loving your enemy, and how the Lord can use anyone to make a difference in the lives of others. 

What I Received:

I was given the opportunity to review the 2 CD performance of The Dragon and the Raven presented in a visually stunning, full color trifold case.  I also received the accompanying Study Guide as well as the extras that included access to the MP3 download of the performance, an Ebook copy of The Dragon and the Raven by G.A. Henty, The Dragon and the Raven Soundtrack MP3 download, a printable cast poster, a printable poster containing King Alfred's Hope (Proverbs 21:31), access to the newsletter website and access to the 50 minute documentary about the making of The Dragon and the Raven


As with every Heirloom Audio Production previous,  we ripped this one open and instantly started listening to it as a family the day it arrived.   

There are a few things I've really come to expect from an Heirloom Audio Production.  Two of these would be Brian Blessed and an All-Star cast.  The Dragon and the Raven once again delivers on both of these expectations. 

Brian Blessed again returns as our storyteller, G.A. Henty, and as always he is amazing.  Brian has a great voice for audio.  However, John Rhys-Davies is by far one of my favorite screen actors so seeing his name attached to this production along with Brian Blessed was more than I could ask for.  John Rhys-Davies also has one of those very distinctive voices and while I typically enjoy his talent on the big screen, he does a great job in this audio production as well.   Other well known talent included in The Dragon and the Raven include Sylvester McCoy (although, I'll be honest, hearing him I kept picturing Radagast the Brown from the Hobbit in my mind), Helen George (Nurse Trixie Franklin from Call the Midwife) as love interest Freya and Stuart Pendred who you might remember as William Wallace in Heirloom Audio Productions In Freedom's Cause.  

Another thing I've come to expect is a spectacular soundtrack from John Campbell. Campbell has produced the audio soundtracks for the past productions and has a very distinct style that I've come to enjoy.  Once again, Campbell provides the perfect musical backdrop that does not distract from the action but indeed enhances the listening experience. 

Finally, I've come to expect "edge of your seat" action and a story you get emotionally invested with but that ties to an overall message about spirituality and faith, which once again, they deliver.  These audio stories really allow the listener to get immersed into the tale being woven.  Listeners experience the emotional ups and downs through characters victories, defeats and loses.  Always, the characters lean on God and their faith to overcome hardships or celebrate the Lord for the blessings given to them, reminding the listener to do the same. 

Study Guide:

As with every other Heirloom Audio Production, the purchase of either the physical CDs or the MP3
downloads come with the complementary full color, downloadable study guide and Discussion Starter Ebook.  These study guides have always been a welcome addition with the audio as they provide a good amount of information in the life and history behind the actual person.

One new addition that I really enjoyed is that time stamps are now included at the top of each page in the study guide.  This makes it extremely easy for people like myself who prefer the convenience of  listening to the MP3 format on tablets, computers or phones to jump ahead quickly to find the proper track to match with the guide, as the MP3s are not divided into individual tracks.  I think this addition is a great feature and I was extremely thrilled to find it this time around.

Included in the 49 page ebook Study Guide:

Listening Well Questions:  These provide the perfect opportunity to test listening comprehension in regards to what your child has heard and remembers. All answers are easily found within the listed track.

Thinking Further Questions:  These questions require a bit of independent research or deeper thinking beyond just what was heard.  These are great for older students as a platform for independent study on the various topics covered in the recording. 

Defining Words:  These provide vocabulary lists of words that were used in the recording that students might not be familiar with.  These words are easily found within a standard dictionary. 

Bible Study:  A three page study is also included.  Each page uses Bible verse to allow students to see what the Bible says in regards to God's Law and the Nations, Loving Your Enemy and Literacy. 

I really enjoy the value that comes with an Heirloom Audio Production.  Each of these recording contain more than 2.5 hours of amazing story telling and each time you listen to it, you'll learn something new.  Because of this, Heirloom Audio Productions quickly became a favorite in my homeschool and in my household.  We've Enjoyed these CD's during long, cross country road trips as well as just lounging around the house on a lazy Sunday afternoon.  

While the original texts by G.A. Henty would easily be considered in the category of "Living Literature" by Charlotte Mason standards, these audio productions take his books and literally give them life.  I highly recommend them.  

There are currently four audio recordings in the series with plans for many more in the upcoming future.  Recently announced, The Cat of Bubastes is currently in production and will feature the voice talents of Anthony Daniels (Star Wars C-3PO) and is set to be released sometime this spring.    All of the currently available recordings can be purchased at Heirlooms Audio Production's Website

With Lee in Virginia, The Dragon and the Raven and In Freedom's Cause .  Not Pictured: Under Drake's Flag
Heirloom Audio Productions Social Media Sites:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeirloomAudio
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeirloomStories
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/HeirloomAudioOfficial/
Google+: https://plus.google.com/b/114534826166314080647/114534826166314080647/posts

The Dragon and The Raven product specific facebook page:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheDragonAndTheRaven 

The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty specific facebook page:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheExtraordinaryAdventuresOfGAHenty 

The Dragon and the Raven {Heirloom Audio Productions Review}


  1. Great review! This was our first experience with Heirloom Audio, and we loved it.



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