We were recently privileged to review In Freedom's Cause : The Real Story of Wallace and Bruce, produced by Heirloom Audio Productions. This two hour radio drama adapts G.A. Henty’s novel of the same name into an action-packed, exciting adventure for ages 6 and up. The star-filled cast is quite impressive, including Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey), Billly Boyd (Lord of the Rings), Skandar Keynes (Chronicles of Narnia), and James Cosmo (Highlander, Braveheart). The In Freedom's Cause Single Package ($29.97) includes a CD set, digital download study guide, downloadable soundtrack, and a printable copy of The Prayer of William Wallace.
In Freedom’s Cause is the story of Ned, who grows into manhood against the backdrop of Scotland’s fight for independence against England in the 14th century. He is a Scottish young man whose father was killed by a wealthy landowner who is loyal to England. He is inspired by the great figures William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, fights in battles, and wrestles with issues of loyalty, revenge, and forgiveness.
We enjoy audiobooks, but this recording is much more than that. It is a true radio drama that is enhanced with sound effects and music that pull the listener into the story. We put the cd’s the car and listened to them whenever we were driving around town. If I forgot to play the story, Emily was sure to remind me! She says:
“I really enjoyed listening to In Freedom’s Cause. I like it when stories are made into audiobooks because if feels like you’re right there with them. When wars were being fought, I had this exciting feeling and I felt like I could just be right there in that battlefield. I like books, but I like the thrill of audio books a little better!”
She is now begging for more audio dramas in this series! There’s nothing I like better than a great story that makes learning fun and effortless!
The accompanying study guide was nice addition to the recording.
The guide includes background information on Scottish history, G.A. Henty, William Wallace, and Robert the Bruce. Each section (chapter?) of the story has vocabulary, “Listening Well” and “Thinking Further” questions. After we finished the story, I picked some of the questions, particularly the “thinking further” ones to discuss with Emily. We found them thought and discussion provoking, going well beyond simple comprehension questions.
A Bible study can be found at the end of the guide. This consisted of lists of Bible verses that reinforce the various themes of In Freedom’s Cause, such as “I will fear no evil,” “justice and vengeance,” and “freedom.”
Because we listened to the recording more for enjoyment than for a history lesson, I didn’t fully use the study guide. We’re currently studying 20th century history, but if we had received this a year ago when we were in this time period, I certainly would have used the guide extensively. I did really wish there had been answers to the study guide questions, however. There were some questions that neither Emily nor I could answer. Most likely, if we had used the guide as we listened to each section of the story instead of afterward, our memories would have been better, but I always do like to find a teacher’s key to help me out!
I’m looking forward to hearing more from this great series from Heirloom Audio Productions.
Two more radio dramas will be produced in 2015, the first being With Lee in Virginia, a tale of the American Civil War. You can keep up with the progress of this project here: