Illustrated by Robert Sax
If All the Swords in England, first published in 1961, makes a happy comeback in this quality paperback edition by Bethlehem Books.
The drama unfolds during the turbulent years of the argument between King Henry II Plantagenet and Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, concerning juridical authority in church matters.
After the tragic deaths of their parents, brothers Simon and Edmund Audemer are separated. Edmund becomes a page in the court of King Henry II, while Simon becomes a scribe in the household of Thomas Becket.
Willard's use of the literary device of the two brothers allows the reader a "first-hand" glimpse into both the characters of Thomas Becket and Henry II as well as into the climate of the times.
The book is full of exciting episodes (including a miracle), and interesting characters. Barbara Willard's If All the Swords in England presents a timeless story of courage and conscience. It is also an excellent introduction to the heavier Becket by Anouilh and T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral.
Ages 9 and up