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Review: Salt in His Blood: The Life of Michael De Ruyter

Take a feisty, uncontrollable boy (yes, kids were handfuls in the 1600’s, too!) and send him to sea with a Bible.  Then watch as God uses a lifetime of experience to turn this street-fighting, steeple-climbing, wanna-be sailor into man of wisdom, godliness, and bravery. 

This is the story of one of the great admirals of all time:  Michael de Ruyter, the terror of pirates and the bane of all who dared to attack his beloved country, the United Provinces of the Netherlands.  Surprisingly, he was a peaceful family man who would rather be at home with his wife and family than fighting on the high seas.  He was also a devout Christian, leading his sailors in Psalm singing while scrubbing the decks (in fact, in the Dutch navy scrubbing the decks was called ‘Psalm-singing’ until the middle of the last century).  When praised, he gave glory to God.  When in danger, as he often was, he trusted in God.  And throughout his whole life, he lived for God.

From the first street fight to the last sea battle, de Ruyter’s life was full of adventure, making this book a real page-turner.  He was forever outwitting pirates, trying out new naval strategies, startling the enemy, and avoiding cannon balls, while remaining so humble that his behaviour shocked foreign admirers. The author shows how De Ruyter’s manliness, boldness, and courage were based on his faith in God, not on his own strength or skill.  Thus, despite the excitement and danger that permeate Salt in His Blood, violence is minimized and God’s loving care is emphasized.   

This exciting biographical novel is hard to put down.  Although this was the second time I read it out loud to my children, they were always eager for one more chapter and so was I. 

Since this book shows us history from a different viewpoint than the English one we’re used to, it’s a fascinating addition to any study of the 1600’s.   It will appeal especially to those who love inspiring biographies, sea stories, or Dutch history.  Although Salt in His Blood is accessible to children as young as 10, it is so full of history, adventure, and faith that adults love it as well. The story is well-told, so few will notice the occasional awkwardness of language unless they are reading it aloud.

Our family highly recommends this book.

Salt in His Blood: The Life of Michael De Ruyter by William R. Rang is available from Inheritance Publications.

Disclosure: We have had this book on our shelves for years.  I am not compensated for my reviews and my opinions are my own.

Salt in His Blood: The Life of Michael De Ruyter is my 34th book in the 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge.

For more great read aloud titles see Read Aloud Thursday.

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One Comment

  1. This is a new title to me, but it sounds wonderful! Thanks so much for linking up to RAT!

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