Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Heirloom Audio Productions - Under Drake's Flag Review

Analytical Grammar Review
After a summer of fairly heavy reviews, I was looking forward to being able to kick my feet back and listen to a great story. Heirloom Audio Productions has created a wonderful audio version of G.A. Henty's novel, Under Drake's Flag. This is not your typical audio book, however. This is audio theater. The story is told with more than just a narrator; there is Ned, Mr. George, Gerald, Sir Francis Drake, Master Holyoake, Master Taunton, and others. Each character has his own voice. Each scene has its own music and sound effects.

The story follows the adventure of Ned Hawkshaw who leaves the comfort of his home to become part of legendary hero Sir Francis Drake's crew. Along the way, he must face an angry sailor, an angry shark, and the equally angry Spaniards. His faith is tested, and he learns to trust wholeheartedly in God even though it might mean he'll die. The scene with the shark was probably one of the most riveting (for me) in the whole CD. It was performed very well, and the music included was perfect to add suspense to the scene. The scene when Ned and Gerald are facing certain death at the hands of the Spanish for not recanting their faith was very realistic. I could almost see it unfolding before my very eyes. I could feel the dankness and darkness of the prison. I could sense the boys' fear. I understood the anger Ned felt at having his father's sword melted and made into an instrument of torture. The only thing I didn't like about this production was the accent of Donna Anna. It just didn't sound truly Spanish; it sounded like an English person faking an accent.

This particular story is ideal for ages 6 to adult and is two hours' worth of entertainment on two discs. The two-disc set, which I received, comes with a prayer and a short study guide. A more complete study guide can be downloaded to expand upon the ideals and the history contained within these discs. The small study guide that comes with the CDs includes questions about each chapter (there are 19), vocabulary, and three Bible studies: Godly character, True Manhood, and Confessing Christ. There are several options available for purchasing this program. A downloadable MP3 is available for just $20. Those who purchase this will also receive the study guide and the printable prayer. For $29.95 plus $6.95 shipping and handling, you can receive the two-disc set, the downloadable MP3, the study guide, and the printable prayer. The best offer, as described on the website, is the family four pack which includes four copies of the CD sets for $99.97. This offer has some freebies to go with it: an e-book copy of Bill Heid's book Echoes of the Dragon's Drums about Sir Francis Drake, the MP3 download, the original G.A. Henty story as an e-book, a two-lecture MP3 set about the life of Sir Francis Drake, the discussion and study guide, the printable prayer, a 30-minute DVD behind-the-scenes documentary about the production of this audio drama, and, finally, unlimited access to Under Drake's Flag membership website.

I started listening to the story in the car with my kids as I was driving, but they very quickly asked to turn it off. When they were younger, we only ever listened to Adventures in Odyssey on CD, no other audio drama. They got used to movies and video games. They are not as impressed with audio drama as I am, unfortunately. Heirloom Audio Productions did a wonderful job with this, however. I didn't get to listen to it with my feet kicked back, since I was always driving while I listened to it, but I did get to listen to a great story. I highly recommend this product!

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