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The Lion of the North A tale of the times of Gustavus Adolphus   By: (1832-1902)

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The Lion of the North: A Tale of the Times of Gustavus Adolphus by George Alfred Henty is an enthralling historical novel that takes readers on a breathtaking adventure back to the times of the Swedish king, Gustavus Adolphus.

Set during the 17th century, Henty skillfully weaves a captivating tale that combines history, adventure, and personal growth. The protagonist, Ned, is a courageous and determined young man who joins the Swedish army to fight alongside Gustavus Adolphus during the Thirty Years' War. Amidst the chaos and brutality of war, Ned faces countless dangers, makes friends, and overcomes various challenges that shape his character.

Henty's vivid descriptions transport readers to the battlefields, where the thunderous clash of weaponry, screams of the wounded, and the heavy stench of gunpowder become palpable. The author's extensive research is evident throughout the story, as he effortlessly incorporates historical events and figures into the narrative. From the tactics employed in battles to the political landscape of the time, readers are provided with a well-rounded understanding of this fascinating era.

One of the notable aspects of this novel is Henty's ability to create a sense of realism. The characters, though fictional, come alive through their well-developed personalities and relatable struggles. Ned's growth as a character is particularly commendable. He starts as an inexperienced young man but gradually evolves into a seasoned soldier, displaying bravery and resourcefulness in the face of adversity.

Moreover, the novel provides insights into the moral dilemmas faced by soldiers in times of war. Henty explores the complexities of loyalty, honor, and sacrifice, forcing readers to ponder the different perspectives surrounding conflict. Through Ned's eyes, we witness the devastation war inflicts on individuals, families, and entire nations, raising questions about the true cost of fighting for one's convictions.

One minor drawback is that at times the historical information and battle sequences can feel overwhelming, potentially deterring readers who are less familiar with this period of history. However, for those with an interest in military strategy and the tumultuous times of the Thirty Years' War, this detailed account will undoubtedly satisfy their curiosity.

Overall, The Lion of the North is a masterfully crafted historical novel that not only educates but also entertains. Henty's impeccable storytelling draws readers into a compelling world where honor and bravery collide with the harsh realities of war. It is a must-read for history aficionados and adventure enthusiasts alike, leaving one with a deeper appreciation for the resilience and courage of those who fought in this tumultuous era.

First Page:


A Tale of the Times of Gustavus Adolphus,

By G. A. Henty



You are nowadays called upon to acquire so great a mass of learning and information in the period of life between the ages of twelve and eighteen that it is not surprising that but little time can be spared for the study of the history of foreign nations. Most lads are, therefore, lamentably ignorant of the leading events of even the most important epochs of Continental history, although, as many of these events have exercised a marked influence upon the existing state of affairs in Europe, a knowledge of them is far more useful, and, it may be said, far more interesting than that of the comparatively petty affairs of Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and Thebes.

Prominent among such epochs is the Thirty Years' War, which arose from the determination of the Emperor of Austria to crush out Protestantism throughout Germany. Since the invasion of the Huns no struggle which has taken place in Europe has approached this in the obstinacy of the fighting and the terrible sufferings which the war inflicted upon the people at large. During these thirty years the population of Germany decreased by nearly a third, and in some of the states half the towns and two thirds of the villages absolutely disappeared... Continue reading book >>

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