The Queen’s Smuggler: William Tyndale by Dave and Neta Jackson (Bethany House, 1991) takes place during a time in history when it was illegal to print, own, and copy the Bible in English. The Roman Catholic Church taught from the Latin Bible and did not want the followers of Christianity to read the Bible for themselves. Men such as William Tyndale began to translate the Bible into English and for this they were threatened with prison or death.

The novel begins with a letter to young Sarah Poyntz from Queen Anne of England. Sarah, who lives in Belgium, had met Queen Anne three years earlier when Anne was a lady-in-waiting to the court of King Henry VIII of England. At that time King Henry was attempting to divorce his first wife and marry Anne in the hopes she would produce a son. After becoming the queen, Anne sends Sarah a letter asking if she would like to be a lady-in-waiting. On the advice of her parents Sarah declines the offer.

Sarah and her family learn through a friend that William Tyndale, a Bible translator, is in trouble with the Pope and the King of England. There is a bounty on Tyndale’s head. The Poyntz family decide to hide him. The merchant family has a room at the house where Tyndale can work in peace. On weekends he leaves the house to visit the poor and help the people in the community.

One day when Sarah is with him, they notice a man in a cloak following them. He introduces himself as Henry Phillips and appears to be a follower of the Protestant movement. He becomes friends with Tyndale, but Sarah has reservations about him. Philips often comes for lunch. One day Tyndale is asked to meet Philips at an inn. Unexpectedly, Tyndale is caught in an ambush and is arrested. Sarah, who is following Tyndale, races back to the house to save Tyndale’s Bible manuscript. She arrives ahead of the soldiers and hides it.

The only people who might be able to save Tyndale from prison are Queen Anne and King Henry in England. Sarah agrees to go to Anne as a lady-in-waiting and give her a copy of the manuscript. She must travel very carefully and hide the manuscript because ships are often searched by the English troops for Bibles. Will Sarah be able to give Queen Anne the manuscript? What will happen to Tyndale? Will his Bible ever be translated for the people?

The Queen’s Smuggler: William Tyndale is a great story of heroism and of people willing to take a risk for their faith in God. Although fiction, it is based on the story of William Tyndale’s quest to translate the Bible into English. The Queen’s Smuggler: William Tyndale has 128 pages and is recommended for children, ages 8-12. However, the story may be a little scary for young children. Tyndale is kidnapped, imprisoned in the castle of Vilvoorde, and executed by being strangled and then burned at the stake.

Kristina O’Brien is a mother of twin girls, an avid reader, and credentialed teacher. She has taught both middle school and high school history. She is currently a stay-at-home mom and enjoys raising her two girls.

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