- Title(s): The Bronze Bow
- Author: Elizabeth George Speare
- Series: N/A
- Genre(s): Historical, Young Adult
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin, 1961
- Source: Purchased ($1.99 ebook promo, $1.99 audio)
- Length: 256 pages (7.5 hours)
- Trope(s): Coming of Age, Angry Young Man, Revenge and Redemption
- Quick blurb: Young blacksmith’s dreams of avenging his father’s death are disrupted by the unwanted responsibilities of adulthood — and his encounters with a charismatic traveling preacher.
- Quick review: Now THIS is how to write historical fiction.
- Grade: B+ for story, A for narration
He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
This book won the Newbery Medal in 1962, and I can’t believe I’ve never read it before. The historical world-building is utterly enthralling, and narrator Pete Bradbury made the complex characters vivid and unique — I was there every minute, and there were more than a few times I lingered in the parking lot when I arrived at work to listen just a few minutes longer.
The plot went in directions I never expected, and I loved how the secondary characters grew and changed — even more so than the main character. Just when you think Daniel has finally gotten his head out of his nether regions, he has another hissy fit about something and must begin his spiritual and emotional journey all over again. My frustrations with his self-centered cluelessness lowered the grade a bit, but this book might just have a place on the DIK list.