Hostage Lands, by Douglas Bond, is set in the Hadrian's Wall area of England. The plot takes place both in modern times and in the third century AD.
Neil, a modern boy who sits bored in his Latin lesson, in a school close to Hadrian's Wall, finds a spearhead and wooden Roman tablets. He translates these tablets and finds a story of Romans and Celts at a time of tension around the wall. The story takes in intrigue, politics and the news of a better and heavenly Kingdom before reaching a satisfactory conclusion.
What did I think?
- a fast moving story which will appeal to children aged about 8+.
- There is some killing and violence in the book but this is not graphically described.
- I'm in no position to judge the plausibility of the Roman part of the story
- Douglas Bond occasionally misreads modern English culture. I find it improbable that a 15 year old would be able to bring his quad bike to school.
- The book is a helpful and interesting way of introducing children to the issues around the interaction between the Romans and Celts.
- This book is simpler than Rosemary Sutcliffe's book Eagle of the Ninth. For older children, both books are ideal reading before a trip to the Wall.
- I liked the way that the news of Christus was described as travelling round the Empire and the difference that this made to Calum.
Disclaimer: I bought this book for the use of my family. The opinions are my own.