by Miss Elliot
I have been quite scarce around here lately – I have been veddy veddy busy. It’s called a WEDDING, peoples. And school (we start on Labor Day). Two of the best things in the world.
The first ‘Good Things Come In Threes’ post was just to share three really good things, and I wasn’t expecting to do two more. But I have six more things that I’d like to share, so be expecting one more ‘Good Things Come In Threes’ post before Labor Day. Maybe.
There are three really good things I’d like to share today, and they’re all in the same category, all by the same author, and all in the same series. They’re books. Yes, books.
What do I say about these books? They are action-packed, geared more for boys than girls, filled with danger, adventure, sword fights, and near-death escapes. So why would I read them?
My ten-year-old brother first read these when he found the first two in our church library – and we’d seen them before in the catalog of a certain organization that shall not be named. Anyway, he liked them very much – he raved about them to everyone in the family – and finally persuaded me to read them. (This was all a few years ago.)
I’m not exactly sure how long it took to persuade me. I made the usual excuses an older sister makes when asked to read a book by her younger brother (that doesn’t happen very often, actually, with us) but eventually (and probably because they were in that catalog of the certain organization that shall not be named…) I read them!
And – I love them! I love them to itty bitty bits. They are not classics – they are rather light reading – but I find them very refreshing. Partly because they are so easy to read. But mostly because of John Horn’s worldview – his upholding of manhood, men as protectors of women and children, and his clear Christian ideology. His books aren’t ‘preachy’, though. They are written for boys, but I, as a girl, can enjoy them with all my heart because his stories are for everyone. His characters are incredibly complex and believable, and you form strong relationships with them – Colonel Nobody, Edmund, Liana, Pacarina, Lawrence, Chester.
The stories, too, are believable, and full of suspense and unexpected twists. In The Boy Colonel, I find myself groaning over a misunderstanding between Colonel Nobody and Liana. But the books are funny too – I have found myself laughing out loud over some of the things that are said and done. My brother and I have a sort of society that we’re in together, now that we’ve both read all three of these books. Something will happen, and one of us will go “Remember in Brothers at Arms so-and-so says this?” And then we’ll remember together. So, anyone who’s read those books, welcome to our society!
A little story about how much these books touched me: I’m not the sort of person who cries while reading books. Or watching movies, really. I’m just not. But, the closest time I ever came to crying while reading was while reading the last book, Secret of the Lost Settlement. Something Bad Happens In The End. My brother told me about it beforehand, and I thought, oh, he probably read it wrong. After all, John Horn wouldn’t do THAT…
And then I read it. And I almost started crying. I just sat there because John Horn KILLED him and it’s terrible and ohhhh the feels…
And it’s annoying because you don’t know what I’m talking about. And I’m not going to tell you. What happens, however, is important to the moral of the story.
But it still hurts. John. Horn. How. Dare. You. Do. That. Thing. The iron has entered into my soul. I shall scorn your name forever…
Ahem. Anyway, his books aren’t in print anymore because the certain organization that shall not be named was the printer. And that certain organization that shall not be named shut down, for a very sad reason. John Horn explains that here. But, as he says, you can probably find them somewhere on the internet.
So, why are these books so good? Well, in the words of John J. Horn himself (check out his website, by the way):
“My special love has been the fiction of 19th-century authors such as G.A. Henty, R.M. Ballantyne, James Fenimore Cooper, Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles Dickens, and more. Of course, these were imperfect men who wrote imperfect stories, but the themes they espoused, such as courage, diligence, mercy, protecting the weak, and fighting for the right has greatly influenced my writing. Although I don’t seek to replicate their styles, I do find inspiration in their tales of adventure, and seek to communicate that in fresh ways to a new generation.
“The greatest influence in my life has been my faith in God. I am a firm Christian, no ‘buts,’ ‘excepts,’ or apologies. My goal with each book is to glorify God and encourage readers to be more Christlike, even as they enjoy the action and adventure of each story.”
Mystery. Adventure. Intrigue. Action. Wholesome Romance (though not enough for me… but obviously these are boys’ books, and as such too much romance would be unwelcome.). Action. Suspense. And more than these: humor, a sound plot. Good clean historical fiction well worth your time.
Go read them.