St. Bartholomew’s Eve is a storytelling adventure based on the book St. Bartholomew’s Eve by G.A. Henty. It is not an audio book, but rather an action packed audio theater version. The actors portraying the characters are recognizable, and the sound effects and music add to the drama.
This audio drama tells of the Huguenots, who were French Protestants, and the time period leading up to the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre in 1572. Huguenots grew in number and influence, but Catholic hostility toward them also increased. Huguenots hid their identity and families for protection, and fought back for their beliefs. Yet Catholics and French royalty, fearing the growing Protestant religion and strength, fought against and eventually massacred thousands of Huguenots. The story is about teen boys Philip and Francois, who join the Huguenots to help defend them from persecution. Along the way they meet a family whose Huguenot father has been killed. Young Argento becomes a sort of sidekick, adding humor in random places. During the story we meet royalty, discover an assassination plot to frame some Huguenots, and learn how their homes were marked for the massacre. Fortunately the young heroes escape and they choose to continue to defend their faith and rights for the rest of their lives.
I admit I had a very hard time understanding this audio adventure. I have not read this Henty book or studied much about this period of French history, but usually that’s not a problem with Heirloom Audio adventures. This story was just hard to follow. All of these stories are full of sound effects and dialogue that make the story come alive, but it was a little too much for me as I listened to this one. There is one part in particular that may help you understand – the execution of a family.
I also think this was harder to listen to because it is about a period of religious wars. Religious persecution is something that saddens me greatly, so hearing about it in such a vivid manner probably blocked the story from going deeper in my brain to where I could understand and work through the characters and story line. No matter how necessary thoughts like “rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God” are, (a quote from the story) it’s hard for me to understand needing to think that way and fighting continued wars because of it. There is one part of the story where a character includes each portion of the armor of God in his prayer as they begin a battle. I am so much more familiar with putting on the armor of God as symbolism and a help in my daily life than to associating it with actual bloodshed. I am better suited to the battles in this, the latter-days, where peace, service, and love are our tools of truth.
My children also listened to this CD set multiple times and had the same trouble that I did keeping up with the story line. I know it wasn’t a lack of focus, it’s just that this one was harder for us to follow.
Defending religious freedom is a strong theme in this story, but there is another great lesson that can be learned. At the beginning of the story, Mr. George (who appears in all Heirloom Audio productions) has discovered two boys who sneaked out of church to spend time in nature. They claim they “can experience God just as well outside as inside.” Mr. George explains that they are children of God and He wants them to be able to worship Him with others who also love Him. What a great message. This is what leads into the story of the Huguenots, who fought for their right to worship as they felt was right. The two young boys, like the Huguenot heroes, also realize their rights were hard won and choose to take advantage of their right to worship in their church. I often see and hear individuals reference spending time in nature as being someone’s way to worship God, and while appreciating His creations definitely shows our love for him, attending church to strengthen our testimony and our neighbors is necessary as well as a right that we should be grateful to have.
Check out my other Heirloom Audio reviews here on my blog, and be sure to click the banner below to see what the rest of the crew thought about St. Bartholomew’s Eve.