Set in 18th-century Scotland, Guns of the Lion details the adventures of young Gavin Crookshank as he is forced into military service by and for King George II. Gavin's challenges are compounded by the fact that he is a Bible-believing Christian and that he is conflicted by opposing loyalties. The novel begins aboard the ship HMS Lion, which is engaged in a well-detailed military battle between England and France. The rest of the book is on solid ground, in England and Scotland, as Gavin is hired to spy on Scotland's military for England. His trials are many, both physical and spiritual, as he is forced to grow up quickly and rely on God completely.
This book could be used in the homeschool classroom as a history supplement as a way to make a textbook come alive, or (alone or as part of the trilogy) as the center of a unit study, easily incorporating history, geography, and language arts. The book includes a family tree (which makes the trilogy easier to understand), a map of the areas mentioned in the book, a timeline of real events, and a glossary of terms and phrases that might be difficult to understand. The Faith & Freedom Trilogy is the sequel to the Crown & Covenant Series, so I would think that a lengthy unit study on European history could be centered on both trilogies.
Pros: Historical fiction is my favorite genre. I enjoy the opportunity to put myself into a different time period and feel what life was all about. This book touched me as a mom, a daughter, and a Christian. It was a good reminder to appreciate our freedoms now. I believe my 10-year old son will enjoy the detailed adventure and drama of the story, and he may or may not realize that he is being immersed in relevant history. I hope to have him read the whole trilogy.
Cons: I admit the book was hard to get "into." After a few chapters, however, I was rewarded by an engaging story that I just had to finish to see what happened. The end of the book left me wanting the third book in the trilogy--which isn't even out yet!
Overall, this book is well written and would certainly appeal to "tweens" (especially boys) who like adventures. The fact that it's based on real people and events is a bonus. It is good as a stand-alone novel, but I suspect I would have gotten more out of it had I read Guns
of Thunder, Book I of the series, first. I do plan to add the first and third books to our home library as well.