It is no secret that our family loves listening to Christian audio dramas. We've been a fan of them for the past three years. So, you won't be surprised to learn that we were absolutely thrilled when we discovered we were going to have the opportunity to review the newest release from Heirloom Audio Productions. To date, we have received and reviewed every single G. A. Henty adventure that Heirloom Audio has developed, and we love them all. Captain Bayley's Heir was no exception.
We received the physical 2-CD set of Captain Bayley's Heir, along with access to the Live the Adventure Club which gave us the opportunity to download the Study Guide along with some other wonderful extras.
As usual, the inner CD case has some wonderful artwork, plus there is an insert with a listing of all their audio dramas.
Included in the bonuses that are available with the Live the Adventure Club membership are the following:
- Captain Bayley's Heir Adventure Playlist (online or download as zip file)
- Captain Bayley's Heir E-Book (listen online or download as a pdf file)
- Official Soundtrack (listen online or download)
- Downloadable Printable Cast Poster (pdf file)
- Study Guide and Discussion Starter (read online or download as a pdf file)
- Inspirational Hymn Poster (download as a pdf file)
- Desktop Wallpaper Download (download as a jpg file)
The Live the Adventure Club also has a wealth of information, which I will go into after sharing about Captain Bayley's Heir.
So, what is this newest release about?
This story takes place during the 1800's, during the gold rush era of American history (which we had learned a bit about with our core curriculum a couple of years ago). It was cool to have a story set in this time period. What was different about this story was that the action was split between two settings. In addition to the events that happen in America, the story also takes place in England. Which is actually where Mr. George's story begins.
Oh wait, I didn't introduce you to Mr. George yet, did I. Mr. George is the narrator of all the Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty releases from Heirloom Audio Productions. He is meant to be G.A. Henty himself, telling the story to young men who he happens to meet at the beginning of the CD. The most popular duo are Ned and Gerald, though Mr. George has also told his stories to Dan and Vincent, as well as others. In fact, during the opening scene, Mr. George is writing a letter to Ned and Gerald, and he talks about Dan and Vincent, the boys who were the focus of the other American adventure, With Lee in Virginia. It so happens that the story always includes main characters with the same name as the people Mr. George is speaking to. In this story, Mr. George has met up with a young man named Frank who is on his way out west.
Frank is also one of the main characters whom we meet early in the story that Mr. George is telling the American Frank. We also meet his cousin Fred and a young lady named Alice who is like a cousin though she is no relation. Frank and Alice live with Captain Harold Bayley in his estate, and Fred visits often. We also meet a young man named Harry who lives in a poor section of London with his parents and his dog Flossy. These characters become acquainted early in the story when Frank saves Flossy from drowning in the icy waters of the lake in Hyde Park.
Though Frank is a young man with Christian morals, he does find himself drawn into doing things that he knows he shouldn't be doing, such as going with his Westminster friends to a meeting where he ends up getting into a fight and breaking another man's nose. This other man threatens to go to Frank's headmaster if he doesn't pay him ten pounds, and he can't ask his uncle for help, or he would have to admit he was out of bounds from the school and in a fight. Even with his friends' help, he doesn't have near enough money to pay off this extortion. However, he ends up coming by the money anonymously. Sadly, this bank note was stolen from the head master, and Frank is accused of stealing it. Faced with expulsion, and thinking his uncle doesn't believe his innocence, Frank flees to America, on the advice of his cousin Fred. Thus begins his adventure to try to clear his name as he makes a way for himself in the new land.
While he is off in America, we also follow the story of Captain Bayley, who now figures Frank is definitely guilty because he fled. Included prominently in this part of the story are Fred, Alice, and Harry. Intertwined in this tale is the mysterious whereabouts of Captain Bayley's missing daughter, who disappeared years ago, after having a fight with her her father over her choice of fiance.
As the story progresses we follow Frank's adventures in America where he deals with such events as surviving a storm while working on a boat, finding his way to the wild west, fighting indians, going prospecting for gold, and gets fatally injured while protecting people from robbers. All the while he has been learning about God's grace.
Back in England, new revelations reveal an amazing discovery about an heir of Captain Bayley. While they are enjoying their lives, there is still shadows hanging over their heads: What happened to Frank? Is he alive? Was he guilty of the crime he was accused of?
Throughout the story we wonder: Will these family members ever be reunited? Will Frank's name ever be cleared? Who actually framed him? These are all questions that remain unresolved until almost the end of the 2 1/2 hour tale. And no, I refuse to give any of that away. The suspense of these dilemmas is what make this adventure so intriguing.
We absolutely enjoyed Captain Bayley's Heir. As usual, it was full of adventure, plus historical and spiritual insights. As you follow along with the drama, you get caught up in the story thanks to the sound effects, music, and wonderful acting. Captain Bayley himself was a man with a really quick temper and would go on tirades which we found quite amusing. He is played by John Rhys-Davies, and there were times I could just see Gimli (from Lord of the Rings) in my mind while he was off on one of his rants. We enjoyed learning more about American History, having a story that took place in a time period we glanced over a year and a half ago. We definitely appreciate that they are sharing Christian values, and that the song "Amazing Grace" played a prominent part in the story.
Now I would like to take some time to talk about the Study Guide and Discussion Starter.
The 38 page study guide is organized the same way the study guides for recent, previous releases have been organized. It begins with an introduction section which includes a list of the crew and cast, an introduction to the actual study guide, plus information about G.A. Henty and Heirloom Audio Productions. Then we get into the actual guide.
There are three kinds of questions for every track:
- Listening Well
- Thinking Further
- Defining Words
The "Listening Well" questions are the easier questions, which are the ones I use with my young children. These questions are usually asking for literal facts that can be pulled straight out of the story.
The "Thinking Further" questions require the student to dig deeper, to be able to delve into details, make inferences, and even do some research. We usually skip these questions.
The "Defining Words" section shares words that are mentioned in the story. In the past we have used these words for searches on Google or in a dictionary, to try to figure out what they mean.
Some of the pages even have black and white pictures depicting scenes from the story.
Additionally, there are seven "Expand Your Learning" sections. Here you will find more information related to the story, such as: Victorian Money, Manifest Destiny, different aspects of living in the gold fields, and information about routes by sea from Europe to California.
Next you will find a list of books to read for more information about Victorian England and the American West. The actual Study Guide concludes with three Bible Studies. They are titled:
- God's Grace
- Becoming a Christian
- Honoring Your Parents
Each starts with a paragraph explaining the topic, and then there are points to study with Bible verses to look up.
The remaining pages are dedicated to Heirloom Audio Production's previous releases.
Now I wanted to share some more details about the Live the Adventure Club website.
When you first log into your account, you would come to your dashboard. From there you could navigate the site using the tabs at the top of the screen, or links on the sidebar or throughout the bottom of the page. In order to get to the bonus material for the CD's that you have purchased you would go to "My Library" at the top, or "View Adventure Library" on the side.
From your "library" you can access any of the adventures you have purchased (or in our case, received for review). You can listen to the adventure online or go to your bonuses. These bonuses are what I mentioned earlier in the review. However, there are even more goodies. You can listen to each track individually, following along with the actual Read Along Script, and then you can take a quiz. The quiz has questions like the "Listening Well" section of the Study Guide, but it is given in multiple choice format. The "Thinking Further" questions are also included, as are the "Defining Words." A benefit of using this section for the "Defining Words" is you can hover over each word to see the definition.
Clicking on "Kid Activities" is another way to get to the adventure you would like to listen to as mentioned above. All of the releases can be found on this page; however, if you have not purchased a specific CD, you will be directed to a page on which you can do so. On this page you will also find coloring pages for all the stories which you can print or download. There are also Word Searches for each adventure. These can be printed or completed online. If you choose to complete them online, they will be timed, which is sort of cool. There are also fun activities that correspond with the different stories. For instance, you could make shortbread or create Ancient Roman Coins.
In addition to resources to facilitate your time with the audio adventure, there are a slew of resources for the parent. In the "Education" section there are such treasures as the study guides, plus information on how audio learning may increase your child's I.Q.. There is a "Crash Course on the Constitution" with components that can be watched, listened to, and read online. Plus there are a variety of textbooks that can be read online. There are texts on American History and World History, Biographies, and readers for different grade levels.
Under "Resources" you will find articles and podcasts on many different subjects. The "Inspiration" section brings you daily devotionals and inspirational stories of the day. On the sidebar you can click on a link to see past inspirations. Plus there is a "Quote of the Day" and a "This Day in Henty History." I'm quite intrigued by this "Day in Henty History" facts. They share different events that happened on this day, stating which G.A. Henty Adventure they would have taken place during.
Last, but definitely not least, there is a wonderful community message board where you can discuss the adventures, plus other topics of interest, with fellow parents.
Right now you can sign up for access to this wonderful resource and you will get a 3-month free trial, in addition to being able to receive Captain Bayley's Heir for just $1.
As always, I can highly recommend this new adventure from Heirloom Audio Productions. While you can just purchase the CD set and enjoy the adventure, the bonus resources really do help to expand the enjoyment of the story. I would highly suggest trying out the free trial of the Live the Adventure Club so you can have access to these resources.
Don't forget to click on the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mate had to say about Captain Bayley's Heir.