Laura's Reviews > Hostage Lands

Hostage Lands by Douglas Bond
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's review
Apr 01, 10

Read from March 30 to 31, 2010

Wow, what a book! Neil Perkins, a fifteen year old student at an English Grammar School, dislikes Latin and his Latin teacher until the day he wrecks his four-wheeler and finds a package hidden in the turf. The package is a tale of ancient Celts and Romans and it is written in Latin. Neil appeals to his teacher, Miss Klitsa for help translating it, but she insists that he be the one to translate it. (After all, he found it, and what a great school project!) And here, the story begins. The tale is of a Roman centurion, Rusticus, who is with a Roman barrack at Hadrian's wall. It is set in 211, and is a GREAT story, but I won't give away any more of the plot. Suffice it to say that the action never drags.

I found it very interesting that the 'tale' began, "May the muses attend me," and ends "My tale is of a great king." (referring to Christ). This shows the paradigm shift from paganism to Christianity which takes place within the story itself as Calum (a Christian) influences Rusticus. From what the book tells us, we have no reason to believe that Neil and his family are Christians, but after reading the story, Neil muses, "Is it true?" implying that he is pondering more than simply the history of the tale. I also found it very touching that during sword fights his father's instructions are running through Rusticus' mind; this implies that they had a good relationship, which Neil and his father did not have. (Again, did the story influence Neil and make him want a better relationship with his father?)

The only thing I did not like about the book is the attitude which Neil had towards his Latin teacher. I found it to be extremely disrespectful, especially since she had a higher status than he. But perhaps this was meant to show the shift in his own thinking as he came to appreciate Latin and his teacher through the tale; I simply do not know.

I recommend it for anyone who enjoys history, war, adventure, or Romans. "My tale is of a great king."

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Joseph I intend to read this very soon.

message 2: by Shelby (new) - added it

Shelby Stafford i've been wanting to read that

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