Belisarius Book 1: The First Shall be Last by Paolo A Belzoni is the first of a series set in the 6th Century Roman Empire. Belisarius is a young hero willing to go against enemies of the empire like no other hero would
Throughout the book we follow this young Roman on his journey as a boy, then a new recruit in the army. Full of vigor and attitude Belisarius is not your typical boy although my 2 boys could relate to him easily.
This was a little over Cameron’s head but we still enjoyed reading parts of it as a read aloud. The book overall would be a good read for a 5th grade student or higher. When we revisit ancient Rome and the early Church we will be including this fun series in our reading. The glossary in the back of the book helped a lot even for Mommy to revisit her ancient knowledge.
The characters are believable and have a lot of depth, which is something we have had a hard time finding in chapter books and even longer novel style books that are appropriate for the boys’ school books. I can see a mini unit study based on these books where the student could focus on several characters as well as a timeline along with some comprehension work.
The author does a great job leaving the story open enough for book 2. There are not a lot of loose ends but enough that the students want to continue with the series. The book can stand alone as well. I have book 2 to read and share on our blog as well.
I hope you will search out the book and add it to your own ancient Rome/ Early Church readings. I think understanding the early church is a key point to any denomination as well as much of history. I still try to work with the thought that those that fail to learn their history are doomed to repeat it at cliché as it sounds.