Monday, February 19, 2018

Wulf the Saxon - Another Hit by Heirloom Audio Productions!

How does a woman become the "best mom"?  Sometimes, simply by handing her children a surprise (for them) package that has
Wulf the Saxon, an Heirloom Audio Productions CD-set in it to review. 

Sure enough, when I did this a month ago, my children erupted in squeals of delight and proclamations of how I am the "best mom", and they are so glad I am part of the Review Crew again this year.  My children just LOVE Heirloom Audio Productions and could not wait to hear the latest is their beloved-to-us series of historical audiodramas!

So, wait we did not.  We popped the CD right into our player, and let ourselves be swept back to the year 1065.

The Story

Wulf the Saxon is a Christian audio drama adapted from a book by the same name by G.A. Henty in which a battle for the throne of England erupts, brothers become enemies, and a boy becomes a man.  That boy-grown-to-man is Wulf of Steyning, a Saxon thane - or landholder - who finds himself serving the last of England's Anglo-Saxon monarchs King Harold

When the story begins, Wulf is but a boy with a temper who needs to develop self-control before proving himself a noble.  After chastisement, he develops well, and, soon enough, finds himself proving his value when shipwrecked on the shores of Normandy and risking his life to save his sovereign. Later, Wulf and his entourage boldly capture a castle in the Welsh wars, honoring women and children while still succeeding at battle.  He also battles Norsemen and, at the story's climax, stands resolutely
by King Harold Godwinson with his comrades at the Battle of Hastings.

Throughout Wulf's adventures, Wulf develops true friendships, faces treachery, embraces loyalty, and demonstrates bravery against odds.  He finds himself immersed in capturing, conflict, and conquering, all the while demonstrating strong, positive relationships and virtue.  Meanwhile, listeners become absorbed in his story with thanks to an engaging plot, realistic sound effects, and the extraordinary talent of a star-studded cast, which includes
Brian Blessed, Chris Larkin, Helen George, Jack Farthing, Sian Phillips, and Patrick Godfrey. 

Less overtly Christian than some other Heirloom Audio Productions, Wulf the Saxon still rings true to the overall mission of Heirloom Audio Productions in "engaging our listeners' imagination by taking them back in time and immersing them in a great Christian story".  Wulf the Saxon is anything but didactic.  Rather, it is a 100% engaging historical tale in which characters, embroiled in the drama of the time of the Norman Invasion of England, demonstrate valor, virtue, and mercy in response to challenges that beset them.

Our Thoughts

We have listened to
Wulf the Saxon several times already in the time we have owned it and found that it sweeps us away each time, whether we are driving in our minivan, down with the flu, or doing chores. 

My youngest son, at seven, appreciated the humor and battles in
Wulf the Saxon.  He said:
"I liked how at the end the boy interrupted to stop the kiss and asked, 'besides probably kissing, what happened to Wulf after that?'  It was funny.

There were other funny parts, too, like when the guy says, 'I still have my right arm so I think I can crush a few Norman skulls...' And, when he was like, 'That was an awkward battle...' And when Wulf was tempting his friend about the dining hall in the castle that they were going to attack.  He knew his friend's weakness was food...

I like all the battles.  They narrate them well. It's exciting!

I did not know the Welsh and the Saxons had had a war and did not know about the Welsh before this, so I learned something.

Wulf had courage, bravery, and was a good leader.  He was merciful and loyal. 

I think people that like funniness and battles should listen to this CD

My daughter, at ten, liked the balance of battles and calm parts in this CD-set.  She said:

"Wulf the Saxon is an exciting story about the Welsh, Norse, Norman and Saxon wars that I think is good for listeners over at least eight years old.  The story does have some intense parts it it.  It also has virtue, humor, and faith. 

I liked this story.  Even though it was about battles, it was more tame.  They did not get into all the gory details of the battles.  Instead, they used voice and sound effects to make the battles exciting still, but focused more on the history, the bravery, and friendships.

For example, at one point in the story towards its beginning, Wulf and others got stuck on a ship in a storm, and the captain and Harold were departing - one to the shore and one on the ship and they said, 'If I do not meet you on earth again, farewell.' They were so calm, because they were not afraid.  Death was common back then and they had faith to know they might go to heaven to meet again.

I like listening to the story and I think children who are into history and have good imaginations will like it, too.

My oldest son, at twelve, appreciates the humor, realism, adventure, and history in the CD's and how much they appeal to him as a boy.  He says:

"Wulf the Saxon is very funny.  I thought it was clever when Tostig Godwin had betrayed his brother and joined King Harold of Norway in an attack and Wulf was sent for a parlay.  Tostig asked, 'and how much for King Harold of Norway?" and Wulf responded, 'Seven feet of English ground, maybe more, for he is taller than most men.'   It was also funny when Wulf was saying, 'I will miss Baron De Burg and Guy (pronounced 'gee') and...' and Agnes says, '...and?' and Wulf says, 'I will miss the estate.'  And, Agnes says, 'and the estate will miss you.'  It's so goofy - the romance.  It's gross, so I like that there's not too much romance in the CD.  Thank you, Etienne and Leon for interrupting right before a kiss.

I enjoy the parts when there is fighting.  The battles sound so cool.  The sound effect of shooting arrows. The clanging of swords and other blades. The sounds of the characters as if they were really doing stuff in battle instead of just standing there in front of a microphone.  It all sounds so realistic! 

I learned about the battles with the Welsh.  I already knew a lot about the Norman, Norse, and all that, but the Welsh I had probably only read a paragraph about before.  Now, I know the Welsh war is not a war I want to know that much more about it.  It was exciting, but it sounds more like massacres than anything else.  So, the CD was just enough...

Not long ago, I was playing a video game scenario where I was William the Conqueror.  When I listened to the story, I wished I had heard it before playing, because then I would have known the story of the Norman-Saxon-Danish battles even better. 

One thing I did not like was that the CD did not mention that King Harold was slain by an arrow through the eye, but I can see why the writers didn't put that in.  That would not be good for little kids.  It is too gruesome.  These CD's are a little intense for people maybe under five and sensitive people, but they are not too bad.  They are true to what happened in history.  They focus on the virtue, adventure, and godliness more than the gore and killing.  But, there is still some of that stuff.

I think these stories are good for families and especially boys.

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Heirloom Audio Productions audiodramas.

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Wulf the Saxon

Wulf the Saxon can be ordered as an "instant access" MP3 download version for just $24.97 or as a 2-CD set and "instant access" MP3 version for $29.97, plus shipping and handling.  There are multi-pack packages available, too.

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 Wulf the Saxon {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}

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