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Book Review: Hammer of the Huguenots

Hammer of the Huguenots by Douglas Bond (5 star review)

Hammer of the Huguenots
Heroes & History series

written by Douglas Bond

224 pages // published in 2015 // Christian historical fiction


Philippe, an orphan shipwright apprentice in sixteenth-century France, is perplexed by the intense religious conflict raging about him. While his friends Maurice and Sophie cling to the good news proclaimed by the church Reformers, Philippe has not yet been persuaded to abandon the teachings of the state church in which he was raised. The gospel sounds liberating at times, but can he risk believing when persecution and bloodshed inevitably follow? As Huguenot communities are massacred and full-scale warfare breaks over France, Philippe must decide once and for all where his loyalties lie. The choices he and his friends make in these violent times may cost them everything.

My Review

5 Star Rating

Before reading this book, I may have heard of the Huguenots before, but I certainly didn't quite know exactly what they stood for that made them famous in the annals of history. Now that I learned more about the Reformation era, I am overwhelmed with the bold faith that the Huguenots exhibited. Wow, these people were strong! Plus, by reading all about it in a fictional setting, I was immersed into an intriguing storyline...

So, I learned some amazing history. Like how it would have been sedition to the king to sing psalms or recite holy scripture in French, instead of Latin. So many thousands of Huguenots died in the cause of the Reformation; a total extermination decree was issued against them in 1569. Who were these people? Peaceful men from families of “merchants, shipbuilders, stonecutters, farmers, fishermen, blacksmiths.”

There's a particular character who really stood out to me, and I thought I should mention it here. Dearest Sophie. I thought of her more as a “background” character for quite a while, and wasn't expecting much from her, with all the other events going on, but I was certainly surprised by her actions. She knocks in out of the park in this novel... What bravery this girl has!!

Douglas Bond has a fascinating vocabulary. In addition to him being able to filter SO MUCH history into a dramatic story, he also knows how to insert such interesting words, some of which I had use “ye olde dictionary” for. I should mention though, there are some chapters in the book which seem long-winded, and the reader takes in a lot of historical accounts at once (I was extremely pleased with the short chapters to quickly break up the harder reading). The government and politics play a huge part in the story, there are lots of speeches to read through too. I'm only mentioning this to say that this book is not “fluffy” or light historical fiction; it's deep and has a lot of information to share with you. That's fine though, because I was completely engrossed in it.

I think this is a serious story that Christians need to hear. It may have happened in France a few hundred years ago, but we need to know how people of our faith were persecuted for what they believed in. There are elements of history that ring true to modern times; we can find some relatable bits, like how in their times, teaching in school about Reformed Christianity is an act of treason (and was punishable by death, my goodness). At least we're not in a religious war right now, but these things really happened.

“Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord. Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”
- Chapter 23, Hammer of the Huguenots

Christian families especially will love this novel, the strong and bold type of faith it displays, and the history it imparts on its readers.

There is revival, victory, and hope to be found in Hammer of the Huguenots.

Available on Amazon in paperback and ebook format.

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