The Hidden Treasure of Glaston

Book cover: 'The Hidden Treasure of Glaston'
Eleanore M. Jewett
Bethlehem Books
Number of pages: 
340 pages
Grade / Age level: 

This book takes place in the year immediately following the murder of Saint Thomas Becket (who died in 1170 AD). Hugh, the young crippled son of one of the knights who commited the dreadful dead, is left in the care of the Monastery of Glaston, allowing his father to flee the country in the wake of riots and uprisings against the nobles who were involved in Becket's death. Although Hugh is haunted for a time with painful memories of the riots, he has inherited a love for books from his mother and settles down rather happily into a position of assistant to the scriptorium monk where he learns to make the beautiful inks and dyes used for illuminated manuscripts.

Life gets more interesting when Hugh teams up with Dickon, a young oblate at the monastery, to investigate secret underground treasure caves. A mystery unfolds envolving the monastery, King Arthur, Joseph of Arimathea and the Holy Grail.

How neat to read a Catholic adventure story for children! While reading an engrossing, fast paced story, they are also given a positive impression of piety and monastic life and the importance of amending one's life (the side-plot regarding his father which ends happily).

I also like the fact that the book includes "a word to those who like to ask of a story, especially one with an historical background, 'Is it true?'" The story, as much as possible, is rooted in historical truths. Although I have not read it yet, The Flowering Hawthorn (published by Neumann Press) appears to cover some of the historical background that this story is based on and might make an interesting follow-up book.

The Hidden Treasure of Glaston is a Newbery Honor book from 1946. There are some similarities to The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli, but I think this book is more interesting and fast-paced.

Additional notes: 

This book was donated for review by Bethlehem Books.

Review Date: 
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