Comments to Isle of Swords by Wayne Thomas Batson
Submitted by Nate Turton (Jul 31, 2008)
Unlike many other pirate stories, The Isle of Swords is a book about a pirate who is good-hearted in nature. While piracy is, in nature, stealing, thievery, and malevolence, DeClan Ross goes about it with class and dignity. He hunts to support his family and he never takes another man’s ship (although sinking it in the midst of battle is not beneath him). It might seem funny to say, to one never having read the book, but DeClan is a pirate of integrity, who is likeable and a great father to his daughter, Anne. The struggle of watching his daughter grow is as plainly evident for him as it is for all of us daddies who have or are watching our daughters become young women. The battles into which he leads his crew, and the cunning defense of his ship against The Butcher, are fast, furious, and wild. The adventure rarely stops in this action-packed story.
As such, the female protagonists, Anne, is a spunky teen who always seems to feel as if she has something to prove…whether she needs to prove it to herself or to her crewmates is not entirely made clear, but that is what makes it easy to identify with her. There are lots of young people who aren’t sure for whom they are living, or what they are representing by their daily actions. Anne’s character will go a long way in helping youths, especially girls, with the struggle to find an identity of their own. I have a feeling that as the series progresses, we will see Anne become a force to be reckoned with in her own right.
Spiritually, there are two very strong points to the book. While there are several lessons to be learned about the basics of faith, and all that, Padre Dominguez will leave a lasting impression on anyone who reads the book. He’s tough, yet compassionate. He’s aloof, yet involved. And most importantly, he teaches the Scriptures by simply living his life. He is one of my favorite characters in literature. The second lesson, and one that is much more broad in its delivery, is the example that not everyone learns or accepts Faith in the same way. There are no mass conversions in the story, but a subtle seasoning of people pondering what Dominguez speaks about. The seed is planted in the characters of the book and between the lines you can see it start to grow roots. This message is amongst the most important in the book as it is The Great Commission in the essence of what Faithful are called to do.
Children reading the book alone: 12 years
Children reading with a parent: 9 years
Faith affirming/spiritual message (1-10):
8 – This book sends a clear message about the important of strong character. There is a clear mission that the must be undertaken and the stakes of it test the limits of the individuals’ faith.
Overall Rating (1-10 scale):
10 – Well-written pirate stories written in modern pen are few and far between. Pirate stories that support spiritual growth and challenge the reader to examine themselves as the characters do are next-to-impossible to find. With the thrilling adventures set forth within, the book is a great read.
Would you find this in my personal library?
ABSOLUTELY! It has a permanent place in my bookshelf.
Would you find this in my classroom library?
Yes. Children of all ages will find this book addicting and enjoyable. It is a well-spun yarn that challenges readers on many different levels.