Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Bronze Bow” as Want to Read:
The Bronze Bow
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Bronze Bow

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  18,881 ratings  ·  1,685 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
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 1st 1997 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1961)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Bronze Bow, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Abi I also had it assigned, and a lot of my classmates thought it was amazing. Personally, I was a little unimpressed by the author's questionable…moreI also had it assigned, and a lot of my classmates thought it was amazing. Personally, I was a little unimpressed by the author's questionable theology and knowledge of that time period. The plot was good though, even if a little predictable. :) For an assigned book, it was great haha. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  18,881 ratings  ·  1,685 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Elizabeth George Speare mostly stuck to colonial New England in her novels - Calico Captive, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Sign of the Beaver - but in The Bronze Bow, she pulls the reader all the way back first-century Judaea, a place not that different from pre-Revolutionary Boston. Both places were a battleground between imperial soldiers who would rather been anywhere else, and local angry, disenfranchised young men endlessly seeking a punching bag.

Our eighteen-year-old protagonist, Daniel
Aug 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Apr 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW. WOW. WOW. And WOW again.

I have almost unrealistically high expectations whenever I read an Elizabeth George Speare book, but each one has met and exceeded those expectations.

The magnitude of The Bronze Bow is staggering. I can only compare the sheer importance of the story to Esther Forbes's Johnny Tremain, but this one perhaps surpasses even that classic.

Electricity pulses within the story, a raw hum of power. I was riveted the entire time I read, the pitch-perfect narrative drawing me
I recently reread this book for the first time in five years. And I was constantly in awe while reading it--in awe of the powerful and masterful writing, character development, characterization, setting, deep themes, and so much more. The protagonist, in particular, is one of the most vivid and lifelike I've ever read, with a huge and powerful redemption arc. The author makes each character and their world come alive. I could say a lot more about the story, especially about the protagonist, his ...more
Jason McIntire
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Have been meaning to read this for some time; finally borrowed a copy from a friend and went to it. The book held my interest and got better as it progressed, despite some minor unrealism along the way (a Jewish guy named Amalek? Exodus 17:14, anyone?), and despite the fact that I'm generally uncomfortable with First Century stories putting words in the mouth of Jesus that He never actually said. To Speare's credit, most lines attributed to Christ in the book are fairly consistent with his real ...more
Wow. It has been a long time since I liked a Biblical fiction this much.
This author did a fantastic job of really making the emotions come alive. When Daniel was mad, I was mad. When he made a mistake, I was furious at him. I couldn't help it. This is one of those books that made me forget I was reading, it was more like I was a part of the story.
I loved how the author described Jesus. Insted of trying to describe things about her appearance, He's described as someone you just feel open around.
Ella Rose Carlos
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: goat, fave-history

That's all I have to say.

Thank you, Elizabeth.
Sep 20, 2007 rated it liked it
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
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
The Captain
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult
Ahoy there me mateys! This read is long overdue. Having loved other books by this author, I always wanted to read this book but never did. Then I read a post by me matey Jackie @ deathbysundoku back in October 2017. She be on the Great Newbery quest wherein she be reading all Newbery medal winners by January 2022 when the 100th Newbery Award happens! Worthy goal indeed. I meself had embarked on this journey many years ago before adverse winds and scads of other adventures sent me off course. So ...more
Brianna Preston
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this book alongside my Challenge A student for school. We both enjoyed the story and character development.
Feb 01, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Luisa Knight

Sexual Content
Lust - 1 Incident: A young man watches a girl dance.
Miscellaneous - 7 Incidents: “A giant of a man, naked except for a filthy loincloth.” A young man swims with no clothing. A young man is attracted to a girl. A young man gets the added reward of a girl’s “flashing smile.” Men are clad only in tunics, some are stripped by burglars. A young man blushes at the mention of a girl and her brother hints to him of marrying her. A girl’s hand closes over a boy’s.

Violence - Non
Nov 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Milana Waller
I hated this book with a burning passion that could boil a glacier .

First of all, if you even enjoyed this book the tiniest bit , do not read this review , you’ve been warned.

Anyways , this book is the most miserable thing I’ve ever experienced . Not only did I have to suffer through page after page of mindlessness, I had to take tests , quizzes, and answer comprehension questions about the very book that I wished to light on fire and ban the human race from setting theirs eyes on , let alone
There is one black character in this book. His name is Samson, and he is a slave. As soon as he is freed, he makes another character his master, because apparently black people cannot survive without being subjugated.


The plot is ridiculously drawn-out and contrived: Daniel spends like 90% of the book preparing a rebellion, and we get boring details and scenes of planning and scheming. But in the ending it fails miserably, and in like the last three pages Jesus steps in, wiggles his fingers, and
Mark Baker
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade, 2001
The story of Daniel, a teen at the time of Christ who is consumed by his hatred of the Romans. But as he cares for his sister and encounters Jesus, will his life change? I loved this book when I read it in 8th grade, and every time I read it, I'm pulled in all over again. Amazing and powerful.

Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.
Good but not great. Certainly not as good as The Witch of Blackbird Pond. It is a Jesus story but interesting because the main character is a young Zealot. I haven't seen a Zealot sympathetically portrayed very often, especially in a book for kids. In the end though, the plot was too predictable.
Aug 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Katherine Cowley
Dec 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Kellyn Roth
A great story about a boy living in the time of Jesus.
Julie LaRock
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book! I remember my sister loving it when we were kids, but I didn't get to it then. I am glad I took the time to read it now. Beautiful story, good characters, well written, and kept my attention from the start. Worth the read! I especially love that Jesus is represented so beautifully in this story. It helps one to understand why he was so confusing to the Jews. I love how his love for people is presented in this book.
Julie Reynolds
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was gifted to my daughter in Lent from a friend of mine. Absolutely beautiful story. ❤ ...more
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Rating: PG

Recommended for: Ages 8 to Adult

This book is well researched. The times and culture are so vividly portrayed and the history is clearly real. Elizabeth George Speare was a master storyteller, her two Newberies and one Newbery honor attest to that. Her characters are so real. Daniel has so much hate he struggles with, and he does struggle. His temper is real. Leah is so fearful, and there is so much tension caused by her demon possession. It is so hard to see progress made with her undo
Poorly conceived and written. The pacing is atrocious: 75% of the story (view spoiler) was pointless and could have been cut out without loosing anything. The ending was convenient and solved with magical powers. The characters were one-dimensional and unbelievable, and the whole point of the book is to beat readers over the head with a moral. On top of that, it's incredibly racist: the only black character is a mute, deaf ...more
Aug 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
another one of my favs... oh I love this book!
This is one of my favorite books and I thought that today, the day before Easter, would be a good day to reread it. Speare's character development is my favorite.

4/18/17: The character development is still my favorite.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Children's Books: * The Newbery Medal Winner from 1962 - The Bronze Bow - D&A September2019 20 23 7 hours, 36 min ago  
Is this a good book? 48 109 Apr 25, 2019 05:04PM  
Rosh 5 36 Apr 06, 2018 03:20PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Dobry
  • Shadow of a Bull
  • The Dark Frigate
  • A Visit to William Blake's Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers
  • I, Juan de Pareja
  • Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze
  • Daniel Boone
  • The Golden Goblet
  • Amos Fortune, Free Man
  • Adam of the Road
  • Onion John
  • Tales from Silver Lands
  • Up a Road Slowly
  • Waterless Mountain
  • Rifles for Watie
  • Shen of the Sea: Chinese Stories for Children
  • Secret of the Andes
  • The Ides of April (Roman Empire Sequence, #2)
See similar books…
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
“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” 17 likes
More quotes…