Saturday, December 9, 2017

Susan Pevensie's Bow: An Illustration of Her Journey

In the 2005 movie, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Susan Pevensie's Christmas gifts--a bow and arrows--show her transformation from a cautious girl to a queen ready to defend her people.
Susan is the second-oldest child and the oldest girl. 
She is a voice of caution and reason, eager to leave Narnia alone and focus on problems in England.  But she does enter Narnia, and is given a bow and arrows by Father Christmas.  True to her character, she is reluctant to get involved in Narnia’s war against the White Witch, consistently wanting only to return to England and safety. When she, Peter, and Lucy are attacked by wolves while crossing a frozen river, Susan is the first to admonish Peter to “do something,” though her bow could have felled a wolf.


Susan and Lucy both practice on the target range
The four siblings are reunited at the Narnian army’s camp and discuss plans. Susan’s brother Peter wants the other three to return to England while he fights for Narnia, but Lucy declare that “all four of us” are needed to defeat the Witch. Susan walks off and Peter asks her where she is going. Holding her bow and arrows, she smilingly says, “To get in some practice.” This little exchange shows that Susan is finally willing to set aside her own safety and work for the freedom of Narnia. Susan’s time at the archery range pays off at the end, as she enters the battlefield and sees her brother Edmund badly wounded on the ground. A dwarf of the Witch’s army is sneaking up to give him the coup de grace, but Susan quickly shoots and kills him, saving Edmund in the process.  Susan is eventually crowned Queen Susan the Gentle by Aslan the great lion.

Friday, December 1, 2017

War of Loyalties is Officially Released!

Throughout the past several months, this blog has followed a soon-to-be released World War I spy novel called War of Loyalties.  Yesterday the book was officially released for sale!


Book Description: 
April, 1917. A ring of German spies threatens the coastal town of Folkestone, England. Newly-recruited agent Ben Dorroll must uncover which British citizens are traitors to their country. When his first attempt at espionage falls prey to a trap laid by German sympathizers, the security of the British Secret Service is threatened. Feeling lost in a strange country and aching for a steady place to call home, he wants to resign and go back to his American medical work. But when he learns that his family identity holds the key to capturing the spy ring, Ben has no choice but to unite with the mysterious Jaeryn Graham so that the truth can be discovered. 

In the aftermath of the Irish Rebellion, Jaeryn Graham's British colleagues look warily on his Irish background. Always up for a challenge, he thinks his new mission in the Secret Service should be an opportunity to prove his prowess. But after encountering death and alienating two agents, he finds the road to victory isn't as easy as he thought. Unless he can win the loyalties of his newest assistant, Ben Dorroll, his secret ambitions and his perfect success record will be destroyed.



In connection with the book's publication, the author has kindly put together an exciting War of Loyalties raffle.

First Prize Winner:
-Paperback copy of War of Loyalties
-“Jaeryn’s Vow” 8x10 poster
-Custom War of Loyalties mug
 
Second Prize Winner:
-Ebook of War of Loyalties
-Real vintage Folkestone postcard (this is a postcard that has actually been posted in 1917.)
 
Third Prize Winner: (open to international winners)
-Ebook of War of Loyalties


US residents only for 1st and 2nd prizes. Accounts created solely for giveaways not eligible.



About the Author 
Schuyler McConkey is a writing teacher, book reviewer, and ministry leader living half of her life in happy fellowship with her family and spending the other half in angst-filled fictional worlds. She is passionate about classic, Dickensian stories and characters who encounter deep struggles touched by grace. Irish music, British movies, and chai lattes provide the fuel for her dreams.

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Duc de Lauzun in Senegal

Click on image to enlarge
The Duc de Lauzun is primarily remembered for his role in the American Revolution at Yorktown.  There, he commanded a unit of cavalry known as Lauzun's Legion and prevented a breakout attempt by Banastre Tarleton from the post of Gloucester Point.  But before his career in America, Lauzun and his Legion were sent to Africa to seize British trading posts along the Senegal River.  Lauzun captured Fort Saint-Louis from the British in 1779.  In this period drawing from 1784, Lauzun is shown accepting the surrender of Fort Saint-Louis.  Some French infantrymen are shown behind him, possibly the infantry component of his legion.  This drawing is a part of the Library of Congress, and was found at http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2017658511/

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Free Martin Luther Paper Soldier!

Today is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church.  This is regarded as the beginning of what is now known as the Reformation, a momentous time that changed Christianity.  To commemorate this event, my company Through All Ages LLC has released a free paper soldier of Martin Luther nailing the theses to the door, together with a Wittenberg Church backdrop.  You can download and print your own copy by visiting http://www.currclick.com/product/105982/Martin-Luther-Paper-Soldier.  The photo shows how both Luther and the backdrop will look after assembly.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Cover Reveal for War of Loyalties

In June, a friend of mine wrote a guest post for Defending the Legacy in which she described the historical background of her upcoming novel War of Loyalties.  You can read it at http://defendingthelegacy.blogspot.com/2017/06/guest-post-historical-details-in-war-of.html

Now the cover art for War of Loyalties has been released, and the author has graciously allowed me to share it here.  When I first saw it, I was highly impressed (blown away might be a better term!).  The artwork and design instantly place you in the "war to end all wars" and its spies.  What spies appear in the book, where do they work, and who are they working for?  The author's description provides the "clues":


April, 1917. A ring of German spies threatens the coastal town of Folkestone, England. Newly-recruited agent Ben Dorroll must uncover which British citizens are traitors to their country. When his first attempt at espionage falls prey to a trap laid by German sympathizers, the security of the British Secret Service is threatened. Feeling lost in a strange country and aching for a steady place to call home, he wants to resign and go back to his American medical work. But when he learns that his family identity holds the key to capturing the spy ring, Ben has no choice but to unite with the mysterious Jaeryn Graham so that the truth can be discovered.

In the aftermath of the Irish Rebellion, Jaeryn Graham's British colleagues look warily on his Irish background. Always up for a challenge, he thinks his a new mission in the Secret Service should be an opportunity to prove his prowess. But after an encounter with death and alienating two agents, he finds the road to victory isn't as easy as he thought. Unless he can win the loyalties of his newest assistant, Ben Dorroll, his secret ambitions and his perfect success record will be destroyed.


The scheduled release date for War of Loyalties is November 30.  I can't wait!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Book Review: The RAF at War by Ralph Barker


This was a book I picked up at a local library’s Used Book sale. World War II has fascinated me, especially the Royal Air Force during the Battle of Britain. I chose this book for the subject matter and was not disappointed. The book is a large softcover with glossy pages, while the author has a clear and easy style that allows the reader to understand both strategic decisions and the experiences of the men in the cockpits of the Royal Air Force.

The book is divided into five chapters. The first, appropriately titled “The First Taste of Combat” shows the RAF during the “Phony War” and the evacuation of Dunkirk. Special sections in this chapter discuss the training of RAF pilots, manufacture of aircraft, and a color gallery of the many planes deployed by the RAF in 1940 such as Spitfires, Hurricanes, and Wellingtons.

Following the battle and evacuation of Dunkirk, Hitler planned to invade Great Britain. The RAF had to stop him from gaining air supremacy, and the next chapter “The Battle for Survival” covers the clashes between the two. But there were clashes between the British commanders as well, as Trafford Leigh-Mallory and Sir Hugh Dowding disagreed about tactics. But they both desired to defeat the German foe, and Spitfires and Hurricanes scrambled to intercept German raiders. The RAF gained victory, and the book pays tribute to the fighter pilots, their dedicated ground crewmen, and the many remarkable WAAFs (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) who manned Britain’s radar network. Special sections include information about the radar network and a collection of rare air-to-air photos of the Battle of Britain.

A recruitment poster for the Womens'
Auxiliary Air Force


After victory in the Battle of Britain, the RAF turned to the offensive: attacking German targets. The mighty battleship Bismarck was crippled by a Swordfish biplane and aircraft hunted German U-Boats—though their bombs needed more power to destroy submarines. The book recounts an amusing story when a British plane accidently bombed a British submarine (HMS Snapper) and scored a direct hit, shattering four light bulbs. On land, too, the British hit German cities, notably Cologne with Operation Millennium, a raid of 1,000 bomber aircraft. The chapter also included a special showcase for the Porcupine, a German nickname for the Sunderland flying boat.

Of course, World War II expanded throughout the entire world, and the chapter “Defending the Empire’s Distant Skies” tells of the pilots who served Britain’s vast empire. North Africa, Malta, Greece, and Burma each required pilots to battle the Axis in the air. The defense of Malta is legendary, and several of its flying heroes are highlighted. And in the special section, we see RAF aircraft of 1943-45, including the Typhoon, Lancaster, and Meteor.

But the defeat of Germany was the first priority, and the RAF continued to pound the Nazi territory. New aids were developed for bomber crews, such as Oboe (direction-finding stations to guide bombers), and Window (strips of tin foil to confuse enemy radar). While factories, cities like Berlin, and the experimental plant at Peenemunde were all bombed, the RAF’s most interesting mission was to destroy three dams on the Weser and Ruhr Rivers, releasing the water to flood the area and crippling hydroelectricity production. A special bomb was developed and No. 617 Squadron practiced to destroy them. Striking in May of 1944, two of the dams were destroyed and the squadron earned their proud nickname, the “Dam Busters.” Special features include “Back to Burma,” a look at the RAF’s contribution to the liberation of that country, and a gallery of RAF heroes.

The frontpapers of the book contain this beautiful painting


This book is an excellent, easy-to-read, non-technical summary of the RAF’s role in World War II. It is lavishly illustrated with photos, paintings, and maps. The series “The Epic of Flight” often turns up in library sales, and it costs about $3.00 new on Amazon.  Definitely pick up a copy if you have any interest in World War II or the Royal Air Force.

Star Rating: 5/5 stars.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Hobbit Day--Bilbo's Last Song

In honor of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins' birthday today, here is a poster version of Bilbo's Last Song, which he sings when departing Middle-Earth.