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The Silver Sword

By: Ian Serraillier
Narrated by: Sean Barrett
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Summary

The classic tale of a journey through war-torn Europe.

Alone and fending for themselves in a Poland devastated by World War Two, Jan and his three homeless friends cling to the silver sword as a symbol of hope. As they travel through Europe towards Switzerland, where they believe they will be reunited with their parents, they encounter many hardships and dangers. This extraordinarily moving account of an epic journey gives a remarkable insight into the reality of a Europe laid waste by war.

From 11 February to 30 October 2011, The Silver Sword will feature as one of five books in the Imperial War Museum exhibition Once Upon A Wartime: Classic War Stories for Children.

©2011 Ian Serraillier (P)2011 Random House Audio Go

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favourite audio book ever

brilliant story brilliant narrator loved the silver sword. highly recommend to anyone. all ages

4 people found this helpful

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A must have!

There are occasional moments in your childhood which stay with you throughout your whole life; Listening to the 'silver sword' is one of them. This iconic story set during the occupation of Poland follows a group of children from their incarceration to their escape, and on to their reunion with family during the most terrible years of the Eastern Front in WW2. Bitter winters and a tremendous performance will captivate the listener and compel them to listen through.
Whether you're a child learning of the holocaust and forced labour, or an adult with an interest, this heart wrenching tale will not disappoint.

3 people found this helpful

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The Silver sword

I have always loved this book, it's a great story and I like all the characters.

3 people found this helpful

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  • MR
  • 19-12-15

Fantastic, well read story for children and adults

Would you consider the audio edition of The Silver Sword to be better than the print version?

Fantastic, well read story for children and adults alike. This is a gripping account of a journey across Europe by a destitute family of refugee children in their search for their parents, separated by the Nazis.The vocabulary is rich yet accessible and moves the plot along at a good pace; it is brilliantly read by the Sean Barrett, to the extent that it adds a certain gravitas to the story.

3 people found this helpful

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best story, very sad

I love this book, was read to me as a child. very moving. has a wonderful ending.

1 person found this helpful

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Great book

My mum and I loved the book and I think it is great and pa lovely inspiration to me.

Veronica 10 years old

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Amazing book

Touching story. Told like you think it should be told and with the monotonous tone afforded the subject.

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Reminder of school days in the 60’s!

If there is one book I remember from school all those years ago it is this one, sitting in the school field in the sun having this book read to us, story is still as heartbreaking as always and you feel for what this and many other families went through, we have it easy by comparison! Lovely story and well read, thank you.

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The Silver Sword

Wonderful story, listened to it with my ten year old son, who loved it as well.

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One of my all time audio favourites!

I adore this book and this performance of the book. I grew up listening to it on car journeys and now my 3 children love it too. This story will never grow old.

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  • Jefferson
  • 11-08-13

A Gripping, Moving, Humorous, and Concise Epic

"Rascal Jan" is a little boy preternaturally skilled at picking pockets, "organizing" supplies, and befriending animals. Beneath the hard shell of experience that living through World War II in Poland has forced on him, he retains part of his true boyish nature. The three children of Joseph Balicki, twelve-year-old Ruth, eleven-year-old Edek, and three-year-old Bronia, also experience omnipresent danger and premature responsibility as they try to survive on their own in occupied and war-ravaged Warsaw. After the first five chapters depict the attempts of Joseph Balicki, the father of the children, to escape from a Nazi prison camp in the snowy Polish mountains so as to be able to return to Warsaw where he believes his family is waiting for him, Ian Siraillier's novel The Silver Sword (1956) recounts the story of the children's extraordinary attempts to reunite with their sundered parents.

The novel is a concise epic of a World War II era story, mostly from the point of view of children. Seraillier tells a tale full of suspense and vivid historical details, but also takes time to provide comic relief, especially through Jan. Seraillier movingly depicts the harmful and traumatic effects of war on children, how it messes with their memories and personalities and prematurely ages them through privation and danger and grief and too much responsibility. The child characters, little Bronia, wild Jan, ethical Edek, and mother-by-necessity Ruth all feel like real children forced to adapt to life in wartime. Without showing any battles, the novel reveals the insanity of war by which entire cities are reduced to rubble, parents and children lose each other, and people of different countries are fighting each other to the death one moment and working together to build a village for orphan children the next. Jan's feral hatred of all soldiers, be they German, Russian, or American, is telling. He cannot trust any of them, regardless of what side they are on, because he has learnt that being a soldier involves brutality and cold adherence to rules. Luckily for the children, kind people do exist in wartime, even, occasionally, soldiers. Several moments in the novel induced me to sob and smile at the same time.

The reader, Sean Barrett, does a great job, his rich and clear voice sensitive to the spare beauty of the text and to the powerful emotions of the children. I even got a kick out of his "American" English for the American soldiers.

People interested in historical war stories told from the points of view of children would find The Silver Sword of great interest (though many of the more gruesome and terrifying facts of war like corpses and rape are elided). Child readers would be absorbed in it without being traumatized. I only wished it had lasted longer.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Dona
  • 30-09-12

My Favorite Children's Book!

Thank you, Sean, for bringing this book to life through your reading! I have read this book many, many times to my students and it was nice to hear someone else read it. Each time I read The Silver Sword I wonder if it will still effect me in the same way and sure enough, I get tears in my eyes when I reach the end. My wish now is that it would be made into a movie!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jared A. Mitchell
  • 05-10-22

Fantastic!

A wonderful story, full of courage, history, suspense and lovable characters. My children and I listened to this story and it will stay with us forever! Highly recommended!!

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  • Carlen
  • 18-08-21

Enjoyed this audio book with our family!

Great audio for adults and children.
We took our audio along in the car on a small trip. The older generations went through so much hardships and it really makes you appreciate what you have and that people not stuff is important. Hope you enjoy this audio as much as we did. The Winged Watchmen is a great audio as well.

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  • Teresa
  • 15-10-20

One of the Best Books I Have Ever Read

There is so much to learn from this book I don't even know where to start, but by all means, do start this book, you will not regret it!

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  • Calvin
  • 10-06-20

I loved this book as a child

This was a book that I read many times as a child and it was really fun to rediscover it as an audio book. Even though I am older, I still very much enjoyed listening to it. I brought back good memories.

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  • Faizel Bassa
  • 12-07-17

The best and helpful

This book is the best book I have heard and sad and helped me for my homework I am really interested on world war 2

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  • ANNE-MARIE BURKE BREWSTER
  • 17-10-16

helpful

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes it was used by my soon for English literature at school and he had a delightful time reading the book last summer

What does Sean Barrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

helped my son to live the story

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  • OSHIN
  • 19-05-16

Great Book!

This was a book I read in 1st form in high school. This is such an inspirational book. I love it!