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The Bronze Bow

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  11,364 ratings  ·  1,075 reviews
He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. –from the Song of David (2 Samuel 22:35)
The Bronze Bow, written by Elizabeth George Speare (author of The Witch of Blackbird Pond) won the Newbery Medal in 1962. This gripping, action-packed novel tells the story of eighteen-year-old Daniel bar Jamin—a fierce, hotheaded young man bent on revenging his f...more
Paperback, 254 pages
Published September 1st 1997 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1961)
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The Most Deserving Newbery
29th out of 93 books — 2,128 voters
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Community Reviews

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Aug 11, 2008 Angela rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Angela by: Joleene Mills, Springtown Book Club
What a beautiful book! I am so thrilled that it won a Newbery medal. Daniel (the main character) is aloof, sullen, and passionate - almost enough to become frustrating to the reader... except that he has a tenderness and a deep sense of responsibility that he gives reign to just often enough that you can't help but admire and cheer for him. His character progression is gradual, sincere, and believable.

Also, I was fascinated to read a story with such a unique perspective on the life of Jesus Chri...more
I sort of hate to give this book two stars, because it’s a Newbery Award Winner, but at the same time... it’s a Newbery Award Winner?! 1962, what were you thinking?! I mean, this is the same year Gregory Peck won an Oscar for his epic portrayal of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, and we couldn’t do any better that year for the Newbery than The Bronze Bow? Eh.

My feelings for this man are absolutely out of control.

My biggest problem is with the protagonist himself. Daniel is so whiny, and s...more
Sep 20, 2007 Jessica rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 13 And Up
After witnessing his father's crucifixion by Roman soldiers, Daniel bar Jamin is fired by a single passion: to avenge his father's death by driving the Roman legions form the land of Israel. Consumed by hatred, Daniel joins the brutal raids of an outlaw band living in the hills outside his village. Though his grandmother's death slows his plans by forcing him to move home to care for his sister, he continues his dangerous life by leading a group of boy guerrillas in spying and plotting, impatien...more
WOW. WOW. WOW. And WOW again.
I have high expectations (almost unrealistically so) whenever I read a book by Elizabeth George Speare, but each of her books that I have read has met and exceeded these high hopes.
The magnitude of "The Bronze Bow" is staggering. I can only compare the feel of sheer importance of the story to "Johnny Tremain", but I would contend that this one even surpasses that classic in terms of importance of the plot.
There is a pulsating electricity beneath the words of Eliz...more
Nov 30, 2007 Melissa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone AND anyone :)
The story of a young Jewish boy, living with a group of Jewish outlaws, awaiting the coming of the Savior (whom they believe will save them from political opression). But when the boy actually meets Jesus Christ, and listens to his teachings, he battles with his faith. He's torn between the kind of salvation Christ is offering, versus the political freedom he thought the Savior would offer.

This story is captivating in the sense that everyone thinks that if they lived in the time of Christ, and...more
I really liked this book. It reminded me a lot of "The Robe" by Lloyd C. Douglas, which I also liked. I really appreciated getting another perspective of Jesus Christ and how he may have appeared to many Jews.

Throughout most of the book, I thought that the descriptions of Daniel's anger was exaggerated and dramatic. Then I finally realized that he truly had these hateful, spiteful feelings and desires for vengeance that blinded him and were really out of control. I guess it's just hard for me t...more
Sep 10, 2008 Annalisa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Annalisa by: book club
This book was so not what I expected. In fact, this is the second book in a row I've expected to be an American Indian tale from the title. That's the fun of not checking out the blurbs on a book: you get to be surprised.

This story is actually set in the time of Christ. The main character, Daniel, is a Jewish rebel (zealot) living in the mountains waiting for the opportune time, or person, to banish the Romans from Jerusalem. It was interesting to see the expectancy for a Messiah who would be a...more
Thought for sure I had added this to goodreads...anyway I have read this three time because I love it so much! I think I read it just for the ending! (its kind of slow in the beginning) I usually do not like book with the boy as the main characters but following his I just love! The ending I just feel so, its hard to explain! At one point I always cry, when he is mean to his sister, it just always makes me want to scream! But then the final ending when he turns to Christ ♥ and does...more
I enjoyed this book because of the portrayal of the subjection of the Jewish nation to Rome. They hated it and The Bronze Bow makes it easy enough for a child to understand their contempt. Add to this the expectation of a deliverer or a Messiah, and the reader gets a better notion of the great demands the Jewish people made of Jesus Christ. I was left with a better understanding of their disappointment when he didn't turn out to be the great "king" they were hoping for, and why it took such grea...more
another one of my favs... oh I love this book!
Daniel lives in the dangerous mountains surrounding the village of Metzah, right outside of the city of Capernoum. Making his way through life for the past five years with a gang of bandits, committed to the cause of freeing the jews from the Roman empire, Daniel has had to build up some thick scars, his hands just as calloused as his heart. However, things seem to change when he meets a young man and his sister who are from the village that he ran away from over five years ago.

He ventures back...more
Lissa Chandler
I have really mixed feelings about stories that fictionalize Jesus since religion is interpreted so differently on an individual basis, but I love how Speare wove this story. Daniel can be a little hard to understand at times, but I love that he's trying to do the best that he can do, even though he has one of the hottest tempers I've ever read about or seen in real life. Also, I loved the women in this book, especially Leah. Her character development absolutely fascinated me. Not gonna lie, tho...more
I would recommend this book to children because of how it makes the New Testament come to life. Although the story is not very engaging at the beginning and this book does not get really interesting until about the middle, it does a very good job of putting the reader in the shoes of someone who lived during the time of Jesus. It is easy for children to understand what it would have been like for the people back then because they are presented with so many different personal perspectives. This b...more
Kathy Cowley
This book reminds me of Ben-Hur. Except without the chariot racing (which is one of the most spectacular scenes in film history). Published in 1961, two years after Ben-Hur's cinematic debut, The Bronze Bow tells the story of a Jew, Daniel bar Jamin, who is filled with anger at what the Romans have done to his family. Also like in Ben Hur, the main character's life intersects at several key points with the life of Christ, and is made better for it.

I'd call this historical religious fiction, a g...more
Meridth Gimbel
Absolutely inspiring! This is the perfect book to get prepped for the Christmas season. Not only did I love the uplifting story about a young Jewish rebel during the time of Jesus...but I also was really delighted in all the historically accurate details that the author included. Totally delightful book.
The Bronze Bow is an old book by Newbery Award-winning author Elizabeth George Speare. I somehow missed this one when I was growing up. It's been on my classroom library shelf for a good long time, but I didn't get around to reading it until one of my students did his historical fiction book talk on it. It is now his absolute favorite book!

This is the story of a young first century Jewish orphan, Daniel, whose father was crucified in front of him by the Romans. Daniel is now living in caves asi...more
What a gripping, inspiring and comforting read! Yes, this is an award winning YA first published in the early 60s but the story, the theme, the moral within certainly speaks to all ages and is completely relevant to today's readers. The story is built around Daniel, a fiery teen filled with a fervent vow to seek vengeance against the Roman occupiers for the early death of his parents. He sees himself as a zealot willing to take on any task or bear any burden to see that vow fulfilled. He follows...more
Margo Berendsen
After a slow start, this book kept getting better and better, richer and richer, and the end made me cry.

For the record, there are only two other books that have made me cry: Bambi and Black Beauty. Maybe Where the Red Fern grows. And no animals died in this book! In fact, none of the main characters died in this book. But what happened on the last page, between the Jew, Daniel and the Roman, Marcus, just choked me up - in a good way, though.

I read this with my 9 and 12 year old girls for schoo...more
This is such a good book, especially to read aloud with your kids near Easter time.

The Bronze Bow is a historical fiction set during Christ's ministry. The focus of the story is a teen aged boy whose parents were killed by the hated Roman occupiers. Daniel is bent on avenging his parent's deaths by joining a revolt against Rome. But his young sister needs his help, so he is torn between a perceived duty to his country's freedom and duty to his family's needs. Brushes with Jesus make Daniel wond...more
Emily Michelle
This novel is extraordinary. I first read it in high school and I've read it a million times since then, and this piece of fiction for young people has changed for the better the way I understand and view my faith. How many YA books can you say that about?

The book, written by the author of the also-fabulous Witch of Blackbird Pond, is set in first-century Galilee and follows the story of a boy named Daniel who, after a family tragedy, swears to rid the land of its Roman conquerors or die trying....more
Ann Carpenter
I approached this book, winner of the 1962 Newbery Award, with equal parts anticipation and trepidation. On the one hand, this was the author of The Witch of Blackbird Pond, one of my all-time favorite Newbery books. On the other hand, it was going to be a historical novel where one of the characters was Jesus.

In the end, I thought the book was interesting, but nowhere near as good as its sister book. The characters are well drawn, with clear personality traits, multiple and complex goals. The...more
Hillary Muller
The Bronze Bow is about young Daniel bar Jamin, a Jewish boy sworn to rid Israel of the hated Romans. After his parents die because of the Roman occupation, Daniel runs away from his grandmother and incapacitated sister, to live with the bandit and Zealot Rosh in the mountains. He is quite happy there nursing his hatred against the Romans and doing everything he can to fight against them. Then his grandmother dies and he is forced to come back to the village to care for his incapacitated sister....more
I discovered this Newberry Award winner when I was in middle school, and absolutely loved it. I can't even count the number of times I read it while I was in my teens, but I hadn't revisited it as an adult until now. Loved it every bit as much now as I did then!

The book is set in New Testament times, and follows Daniel, a young Jewish man who has a deep and bitter hatred of the Romans. We meet Daniel first in the mountains, where he lives with a band of freedom fighters - or bandits, depending...more
The Bronze Bow is a historical novel, winner of the Newbery Medal, intended for an upper-Intermediate/Advanced audience. Set in the time of Jesus, in a small village that's been taken over by Roman rule, Daniel, a young man working as a blacksmith and caring for his agoraphobic sister, has vowed vengeance upon the oppressive Roman army. But into the midst of his vitriol and thirst for justice strolls the fierce peace of Jesus, and Daniel must choose between his deeply entrenched vows to hate and...more
The climax to this book doesn't really hit until the very last line of the very last page. However if you read the last page like I did before you finish the book you won't see it. The author builds up the characters with painstaking attention to detail. The plot surrounds the bitterness the main character holds towards the occupying Roman forces in Israel. His determination to fight to the death affects everyone around him. In the book he learns that love is stronger than hate. While that lesso...more
I read this book for my goodreads Newbery book club. I liked The Bronze Bow a lot as a kid, so I was pleased to find that I still like it as an adult. The author combines adventure with historical fiction and vivid characters to make a great story. I have long been fascinated by Judaism and this book also resonated with me as a Christian. I liked the characters, their interactions with each other, and their passion for their beliefs. The book did a good job of portraying their very real challeng...more
Evelynn {The Literary Pianist}
I first read this when I was probably...eleven or twelve? And I remember really liking it. So when my friend found a copy at a thrift store (I was sooo jealous!), I borrowed it.

It's just as good as I remember it being.

The only problem, though? THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ANOTHER CHAPTER! (view spoiler)...more
Jul 20, 2010 Ariel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya-3
This is the story of Daniel, a Galilean boy who is seeking revenge for the death of his parents by Roman soldiers. After his parents die, his grandmother takes Daniel and his sister, Leah, in with her. His grandmother becomes ill and sells Daniel to the local blacksmith who is mean to Daniel. Daniel runs away and lives in the mountains with a man named Rosh and his band of thieves. He meets a boy named Joel and his sister Malthace. Daniel is drawn to the teachings of Jesus, but is turned away fr...more
I fully enjoyed this, but I know lots of you will be ready to throw the book against the wall by the time the fifth chapter rolls around. This is probably because of the plodding, painfully fine-tuned narrative that will throw off readers who are used to action-packed first person accounts. I, too, became a bit impatient with the limited third person narrative, but I eventually began to tune into it and savor all the deep and simply presented details that led me up to the heart-wrenching ending....more
I just reread this book after years. I loved it just as much as ever. It puts a whole new perspective on what it could have meant to be someone waiting for the Messiah in the time of the Jesus Christ and what it might have been like living under Roman rule, waiting for a political savior. I love the messages about learning to live with love. I like all the characters and feel for them and the burdens they carry and the dreams they have about the kinds of lives they want to live. A very satisfyin...more
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Is this a good book? 38 84 Jul 31, 2014 09:09PM  
Rosh 4 24 Sep 01, 2011 12:36PM  
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I was born in Melrose, Massachusetts, on November 21, 1908. I have lived all my life in New England, and though I love to travel I can't imagine ever calling any other place on earth home. Since I can't remember a time when I didn't intend to write, it is hard to explain why I took so long getting around to it in earnest. But the years seemed to go by very quickly. In 1936 I married Alden Speare a...more
More about Elizabeth George Speare...
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Share This Book

“Daniel, he said. I would have you follow me.

Master!....I will fight for you to the end!.

My loyal friend, he said, I would ask something much harder than that. Would you love for me to the end?

...I don't understand, he said again, You tell people about the kingdom. Are we not to fight for it?

The kingdom is only bought at a great price, Jesus said. There was one who came just yesterday and wanted to follow me. He was very rich, and when I asked him to give up his wealth, he went away.

I will give you everything I have!

....Riches are not keeping you from the kingdom, he said. You must give up your hate.”
“The impression of strength came from an extraordinary vitality that seemed to pulse in the very air around him” 12 likes
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