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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

History isn't names and dates -- it's an adventure story. And so is The Jericho River. Both a novel and a history of Western Civilization, it's won multiple awards, including first place at the London Book Festival and the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. The Jericho River flows through a magical world shaped by myth and history. Young Jason Gallo sails the river on a dangerous quest to rescue his estranged father. He battles minotaurs and pirates, flees barbarians, stumbles into mummies' tombs, and outwits fairies, philosophers, and scientists. Along the way, he finds love and betrayal, faces the legacy of a broken family -- and flees a hidden foe who threatens all he holds dear. But Jason's tale is more than an adventure story. The river flows like a timeline, carrying the young man through historic lands -- Sumer, Babylonia, ancient Greece, Medieval Europe, Napoleon' empire, and many others -- all in chronological order, tracing the history of Western Civilization, from i…

The Jericho River

by David W. Tollen

Overall Book Review:

The Jericho River: A Novel About The History of Western Civilization has something for everyone. Author David W. Tollen uses his creative prowess to teach history to young adult readers in a most clever way–by turning learning into an adventure story. With a ragtag crew of interesting characters–some modern, others ancient and a few magical — the group travels throughout time in search of answers. The novel is packed with action, romance, history and fantasy. The Jericho River includes drawings and lots of historical facts and footnotes. The plot moves rapidly, which will keep readers engaged, but unfortunately feels quite rushed towards the book’s ending. While the story also leaves several loose ends, The Jericho River is a good tale from a passionate writer and history aficionado. 

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Cadence Group

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: 10 religious exclamations; 4 mild obscenities; 2 religious profanities; 1 derogatory name; 2 anatomical terms. 

Violence/Gore: Frequent verbal threats and implied occurrences of violence; frequent secondhand reports of violence involving murder, beatings and the story of Jason and the Argo; a few brief scenes of fantasy violence; multiple scenes of violence include punching, fighting, hitting, binding and capturing someone, and animal sacrifice; a few non-detailed scenes of violent death include 9/11 and slitting a man’s throat; a few brief scenes of blood and gore including a dead body and a main character murdering another character; a scene of intense violence includes a physical fight. 

Sex/Nudity  Several incidents of kissing; a few non-sexual depictions of nudity during pagan rituals and while describing magical creatures; several sexual references including a mention of porn stars, brothels and concubines; a man alludes to desiring a sexual encounter with a teenage boy and the boy later worries about this proposition; an incident of touching and caressing between two teenagers; several reported incidents of sexual activity including a man attempting to rape a young woman who professes her virginity; a brief scene including nudity of a magical creature that attracts the gaze of other magical creatures; a brief mention of a magical creature propositioning a child. 

Mature Subject Matter:

Death of family members and friends, physical abuse and violence, war, murder, slavery, 9/11, kidnapping, attempted rape, sexual propositions and fear of molestation, allusion to homosexual relationships, mention of magical creatures being sexual predators, mention of a character’s virginity, discussion of world religions, underage drinking.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Underage drinking; mention of character’s mother dying due to a drunk driver; a brief party scene where adults are drinking. 

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My mother was the one who sparked my love of books. Long before school instruction, she sat me down and taught me to read. My childhood was filled with trips to the library and bookmobile to find great books. My first loves were The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Pippi Longstocking series by Astrid Lingren. Now as a mom and speech pathologist, I am constantly looking for good, clean books to use at home and in therapy. I enjoy reading many different genres, but my favorites are usually historical fiction. I married my best friend, the “boy next door”, and we have a beautiful little girl who we often find sprawled out on the floor, flipping through picture books. Together our family likes to swim, run and play tennis. Besides reading, I also love to bake, garden and travel.