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BOOK SUMMARY

The Lances of Lynwood by Charlotte M. Yonge
Publisher:
Lepanto Press
Number of pages:
264

Summary:

This story takes place in England and France during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). During this time, Englishmen, under King Edward’s son, are fighting to capture French lands. The Prince of Wales is referred to as the "Black Prince" and at this time parts of France are under the control of the English.

The Lynwood family includes the Black Prince’s faithful knight Sir Reginald, his frail wife Eleanor, his younger brother Eustace (who is the hero of our story), and Reginald’s young son Arthur. The Lances of Lynwood are about 20 armed men who form a troop around Sir Reginald of Lynwood.

The story traces the growth of Eustace from a weak, scholarly, well-mannered squire to a bold and true warrior knight. Despite a series of battles and schemes of treachery plotted against him, Eustace exhibits every nobility of soul and aristocracy of virtue and remains a forgiving and Christian knight.

Strong points:

  • Many Christlike virtues are evident in Eustace; he is a devoted student, assumes the highest motives for the actions of others, does not hold a grudge or try to get revenge, takes care of the needs of others before his own needs, and is forgiving.
  • A realistic view of the nature of medieval life is portrayed. The author does not hide fallen human nature from the reader in many characters and by comments throughout the book. Yet, we are drawn to rise up with the noble and virtuous with Eustace and Agnes, among others.
  • The vocabulary will be unfamiliar to some readers and will encourage them to find the meanings of words used throughout the book.* The same could be said of the geography of England and especially France; the book will inspire students to study a map or draw one.

Cautions: There are no cautions with regard to content.

Conclusion:

This book of historical fiction is recommended for junior high school age and up and due to the rather confusing number of characters should be read aloud to the students if used with grades 5 and 6, at least for the first read. The book will fit well into a study of the Middle Ages, especially with regard to the hierarchical military and social structure of the time. The main character is an exemplary model and the illustrations are beautiful and inspiring to the budding artist.

* List of Words to Know: retainer, routier, vassal, liege lord, fortnight, fortalice, keep, gasconades, gentry, knight banneret, knight bachelor, pantler, corselets, pennon, seneschal, page, knight, squire, yeoman, clerk.

Map Work: Gascony, Bordeaux, Calais, the English Channel, the Pyrenees Mountains, etc.