Tuesday 6 February 2024

Helmet of Salvation - Theresa Linden - Armor of God Series Book 5 Second Edition

Helmet of Salvation 
Armor of God Book 5 Second Edition
Theresa Linden
Nihal Dungdung (Illustrator) 
Silver Fire Publishing
ISBN 9781734992922
eISBN 9798201650506

Helmet of Salvation - Theresa Linden - Armor of God Series Book 5 Second Edition

I read the first edition of this story back in 2022. I thought the book and series was excellent. The series is being rereleased in second editions with new covers and new artwork. The artwork is by Nihal Dungdung, it is not my favourite style but I am sure children will appreciate it.

I have now read books from Linden’s masterful pen 38 times, and her contributions to anthologies several times each. To say that Theresa Linden is one of my contemporary Catholic and Christian authors, would be a bit of an understatement. Everything I have read from her has been impressive. I have reread several of her books myself, and reread others with one or more of my children. My children are all through their first communion, but even so we loved this book and this series. I am a fan of all of Linden’s writings, but this series geared for a younger audience than her other works is excellent and a great addition to the canon of her work. With this volume we are two thirds of the way through the series.

As is obvious by the series title this series is based on the Armour of God:

“Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So, stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
~ Ephesians 6:13-17

The chapters in the story are:

1 Sword Fighting
2 A Knight At Home
3 To Become A Good Knight
4 Time To Go
5 A New Mission
6 What Shelter?
7 That Shelter
8 Afraid Of The Dark
9 George And A Lantern
10 Waiting On The Knight
11 A Wrong Turn
12 Responsibilities
13 Hope And A Prayer
14 A Figure Eight Knot
15 The Shield Of Faith

The description of the book is:

“While George and the other pages work hard at Knight School, learning how to earn the Shield of Faith, Robyn notices several knights have gone away. She suspects they've gone to investigate the dragon sightings.

Before George and his friends can learn more, Sir Lucian invites George and his little brother, Erik, on a secret mission that answers questions George has been wondering ever since he first became a page. When George finds himself in a tight situation, he'd rather have a lantern than faith. He's not the only one facing a challenge. Each page--anxious to earn the Shield of Faith--is tested before the day is out.”

At the beginning of the book is a note ‘Dear Reader’ And at the end a section about the author and about the series. All the books available in this series are well worth reading. Between many of the chapters are Brother Coll’s Catechism Lesson, there are 6 of these lessons in this volume. And the last one really hit me hard. It is:

Brother Coll’s Catechism Lesson 

Whether you are preparing to make your First Holy Communion or you have already received this Most Blessed Sacrament, pray for faith. 

At every Mass, the priest changes ordinary bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord. Let us pray for the faith to believe not in what our eyes see—ordinary bread and wine—but in what Jesus tells us: this is my Body given for you.”

Part of these stories is the adventure and growth in virtues of the students at the Knight’s Academy. Part is living out their faith and lessons. Learning to live, work and play in mind of our role as Christians. Part of the stories is these lessons, and bringing home the faith in a very meaningful and applicable way. My own first communion was over 40 years ago, and yet this passage at the end of this volume has refreshed my approach to communion and spiritual communions. Linden has infused these stories with faith. And it is a faith that will both inspire and challenge us, no matter our age!

This continuing story of George Pennington, and as we now know Dragons truly are on the move, that the knights are preparing for them, and preparing the towns and village folks about, we can guess that this George is one who later in life is one of some fame.. He is a young lad who is attending knight’s school. To graduate they must obtain the 6 pieces of the armor of God. Six levels of training to become a squire. In the first volume, Belt of Truth, only some of the classmates do not get their belt. And it was very close for George. George learned the value of truth, even if you need to admit to lies, and mistakes you have made. Robyn Haylan and Erik, Georges younger brother continue to be good influences. In the second they must earn the Breastplate of Righteousness. In the third volume they must earn the Boots of Peace. And in this one they are working towards the Shield of Faith. At the beginning of the story we are informed that:

““Today you will learn a new virtue from the Knight’s Code.” Sir Lucian motioned toward the word “faith” scrawled on the chalkboard. A few students whispered. “A knight strives to be the best he can. You learn and practice both physical skills and inner strength. Virtue. But a knight can’t do everything on his own. Knights rely on one another. And . . . knights rely on God.” Sir Lucian stopped. He stood still a moment and looked from student to student.”

And at the beginning of the final chapter:

“Armor day came sooner than expected. 

After the meeting with the townsfolk at dawn, the knights called the pages and squires together on the back lawn of Knight School. Heavy clouds threatened rain, but the sun shone brightly between them.

Sir Lucian’s cape flapped around him as he stood before the students. He explained what the knights had told the townsfolk. The rumors were true. Dragons had been spotted nearby, but no one needed to worry. Stay alert and ready. No one could know the day or hour. Should the threat increase, the knights would come to their aid. The squires and certain pages would know what to do.”

And a few paragraphs further on:

““You have risen above fear”—the knight glanced at George—“and disappointment.” His gaze shifted to Robyn. “You have overcome worry”—he looked at Erik—“and even failure.” He looked at other pages in the group, including Henry and Otho. “You have trusted in God. …”

The way Linden explains faith and how to live it out in this tale is wonderful. Those lessons are not only excellent for younger readers but for us older readers as well. Several of the characters have specific tests or trials; George, Robin, Erik, Fendrel, and of course several of the Knights.

This is another excellent volume from the masterful pen of Linden. It is a great read in an excellent series. I recommend them to those in the intended audience who are preparing for their first communion. And for older readers who enjoy a faith filled story.  

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2024 Catholic Reading Plan!

Helmet of Salvation - Theresa Linden - Armor of God Series Book 5 Second Edition

Sword of the Spirit - Theresa Linden - Armor of God Series Book 6 Second Edition

Books by Theresa Linden:
Tortured Soul

Chasing Liberty Series:
01 Chasing Liberty
02 Testing Liberty
03 Fight For Liberty
Bound to find Freedom - Short Story


West brothers Series:
Roland West Loner
Life-Changing Love
Battle for His Soul

Standing Strong
Roland West Outcast
Fire Starters

Armor of God Series Original Editions:
Belt of Truth
Breastplate of Righteousness
Boot of Peace
Shield of Faith
Helmet of Salvation
Sword of the Spirit

Armor of God Series Second Edition:

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