There isn’t anything in our homeschool any more loved than Heirloom Audio Productions, and they just bought another G.A. Henty novel to life with Captain Bayley’s Heir! I am sure our local homeschool community is rather tired of hearing me spout off about our joy or these audio adventures because I talk about them every chance I get. All of the dramas thus far are based on the books by G.A. Henty who was a British novelist and war reporter during the late 1800’s. These are stories that are so full of suspense and action that your family will beg you to keep listening until the story is through. We often listen in our truck as we travel through our homeschooling life on our adventures. I can’t count how many times we’ve sat in our driveway or rushed into an event at the very last moment because we just couldn’t turn off the audio adventure.
The G.A. Henty Heirloom Audio stories are history based and often feature a Christian message. These are stories that are so full of suspense and action that your family will beg you to keep listening until the story is through. We often listen in our truck as we travel through our homeschooling life on our adventures. I can’t count how many times we’ve sat in our driveway or rushed into an event at the very last moment because we just couldn’t turn off the audio adventure.
The quality of these audio adventures is unmatched in the industry. The actors and actresses are well known Hollywood stars. The music and sound effects rival any blockbuster production. Put on a good pair of headphones and relax with your eyes closed and the split track technology they feature will make you feeling like you are in the midst of the story.
Captain Bayley’s Heir just might be my favorite story so far (and I’ve listened to all of them, repeatedly). The story comes on a set of two CDs. I was also given access to Heirloom Audio’s Live the Adventure Club which is an online resource and community for fans of Heirloom Audio Adventures. We were given a digital version of the original G.A. Henty novel, a post of the cast, a computer desktop wallpaper, and an MP3 copy of the amazing soundtrack. Also included is the streaming version of the audio drama and a script for you to read along with while listening. Oh, and I can’t forget the wonderful study guide. More on that one later.
As you’ve already figured out, our family is a huge fan of the Heirloom Audio Adventures. Even my husband is hooked. These are perfect for everyone, young to old. The narrator of the story is always Mr. Henty, played by Brian Blessed. Something about hearing his voice start out every story makes us all settle in with anticipation. This story begins out in the wild west during the days of America’s gold rush and expansion. Mr. Henty is sitting around the fire with some companions when he begins his tale. In a matter of moments, the listener is transported to another time and another place.
This story features a young Englishman by the name of Frank Norris. Frank is a student at Westminister School in England. We meet his family members who include Uncle Harold Bayley, a cousin named Fred, and a young girl named Alice that Uncle Bayley cares for. As it turns out Uncle Harold has made some decisions in life that have left him full of regrets. Those regrets leave him sad and even cause him to be rather harsh with those he loves. As the story goes one, we learn that Uncle Harold’s only daughter married a man without his blessing. It took many years for the man to forgive his daughter but by then she had disappeared.
Meanwhile, we learn more about Frank. Frank is an adventurous sort of young man with a tender heart for helping others and doing the right thing, even at his own personal risk. While at school he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit that results in an impending public expulsion from the school. Frank attempts to reach out to his Uncle Harold but those plans are thwarted, and Frank is left believing his Uncle has lost faith in the young man and also finds him guilty. Frank decides the best thing he can do is take off and make his way in America, and that he does. The story continues as Frank travels in a wagon train and makes a good fortune in the Goldrush all while depending on God for his provisions. Life at home in England takes some surprising twists and turns, and when Frank is eventually reunited with his family, he finds that it has grown a bit. But even though I’ve been permitted to reveal the plot I just won’t do it. That’ll spoil your fun! I’ll leave these details out so that you can experience them yourself when you listen to the story for the first time.
The themes of God’s grace and forgiveness are woven throughout the story. That’s what I love about the Heirloom Audio Adventures. Once we turn them off, they leave our family with some incredible jumping points for discussion that draws us all closer to God. What could be better?
The Study Guide
The Study Guide and Discussion Starter is a gem. It’s a fantastic resource for anyone, homeschooled or not, to add to these audio adventures. They take your experience from listening to engaging. We want to engage. Included are questions for every single track on the CD, vocabulary words, questions for deeper thinking, historical content on the Wild West. Oh, do my boys drool over anything having to do with the West Ward expansion and Gold Rush. It’s all there.
Then there are the surprising questions that take you even further. You and your family will explore historical information about London and its landmarks for example and even consider the music of the time. The thing to know about this study guide is that it won’t let you miss details. So many things fly by while listening. If you are super diligent with a pencil and paper, you might remember to record some things to look up later. The study guide lets you miss NOTHING. The smallest of details are fleshed out for further investigation. You and your family’s depth of knowledge about this period of history in America and England will significantly expand. Do you know what a Charist is? I didn’t either. It’s a part of track five that I would have just glossed right over and forgotten about almost instantly. The study guide didn’t let us do that.
And it doesn’t stop there. Included are a list of books for further study and sources for expanding your Bible Studies. I could write an entire blog post, or many, JUST on these study guides. They are that in depth and amazing.
Have I convinced you of how incredible these Heirloom Audio Adventures are? ALL of them! But most especially Captain Bayley’s Heir! The Live the Adventure Club Website with its resources and study guide is a treasure. It’ll take your listening experience from top-notch to out of the world. Be sure to check it out. They are currently (as of this writing) offering a 3 month trial with discounted access to many other Heirloom Audio Productions and bonus content. Oh, and the site also has a collection of Old Time Radio dramas! I don’t have room to talk about them here but they shouldn’t be missed!