Men of Iron

Howard Pyle
Lepanto Press
Sewn Hardcover
Number of pages: 
328 pages
Grade / Age level: 

This is a stirring tale in the tradition of the Knights of the Round Table and Ivanhoe. It takes place in the early 15th century. Myles Falworth is a young boy brought up in a poor but noble household, late in the reign of Henry IV of England. His father, a supporter of Richard II, has been unfairly accused of treason and outlawed. As a youth, Myles is sent as squire to the household of an old family friend, where his unpolished manners, fierce strength of will and impulsive actions win him both loyal friends and fervent enemies.

Over the course of time he finds that he is being prepared to clear his father's name. The first part of the book tells about his training in the chivalric arts of war; the second part tells of his young adulthood. In the final encounter with his family's bitter enemy, the stakes are high; not only his father's good name and the family fortune, but also his future happiness with his chosen bride, and his very life.

Men of Iron is written and illustrated by Howard Pyle, who lived around the turn of the century and was also the author of many other classics such as Otto of the Silver Hand, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, several Arthurian romances, and Garden behind the Moon. The language is old-fashioned and complex by today's standards, and some passages of historical detail might slow this book down as a read-aloud, but the story is involving and inspiring. I think it could be read aloud to a child as young as nine, and a 12 to 16 year old would enjoy reading it alone.

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