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Men of Iron: Historical Fiction (Annotated)

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Men of Iron is an 1891 novel by the American author Howard Pyle, who also illustrated it. Set in the 15th century, it is a juvenile "coming of age" work in which a young squire, Myles Falworth, seeks not only to become a knight but to eventually redeem his father's honor. In Chapter 24 the knighthood ceremony is presented and described as it would be in a non-fiction work Men of Iron is an 1891 novel by the American author Howard Pyle, who also illustrated it. Set in the 15th century, it is a juvenile "coming of age" work in which a young squire, Myles Falworth, seeks not only to become a knight but to eventually redeem his father's honor. In Chapter 24 the knighthood ceremony is presented and described as it would be in a non-fiction work concerning knighthood and chivalry. Descriptions of training equipment are also given throughout. In 1954 it was made into a movie called The Black Shield of Falworth.


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Men of Iron is an 1891 novel by the American author Howard Pyle, who also illustrated it. Set in the 15th century, it is a juvenile "coming of age" work in which a young squire, Myles Falworth, seeks not only to become a knight but to eventually redeem his father's honor. In Chapter 24 the knighthood ceremony is presented and described as it would be in a non-fiction work Men of Iron is an 1891 novel by the American author Howard Pyle, who also illustrated it. Set in the 15th century, it is a juvenile "coming of age" work in which a young squire, Myles Falworth, seeks not only to become a knight but to eventually redeem his father's honor. In Chapter 24 the knighthood ceremony is presented and described as it would be in a non-fiction work concerning knighthood and chivalry. Descriptions of training equipment are also given throughout. In 1954 it was made into a movie called The Black Shield of Falworth.

30 review for Men of Iron: Historical Fiction (Annotated)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Curtiss

    This novel was the basis of the Hollywood movie, "The Black Shield of Falworth," starring Tony Curtis, and Janet Leigh. It depicts the struggle of young Myles Falworth to learn the truth about his family's disgrace in mediaeval England during the reign of Henry IV, and his training as first a squire and later as a knight to prepare him to avenge his father's honor and restore the family name of Falworth on the roster of English chivalry. The movie version heightens the story's drama by adding a s This novel was the basis of the Hollywood movie, "The Black Shield of Falworth," starring Tony Curtis, and Janet Leigh. It depicts the struggle of young Myles Falworth to learn the truth about his family's disgrace in mediaeval England during the reign of Henry IV, and his training as first a squire and later as a knight to prepare him to avenge his father's honor and restore the family name of Falworth on the roster of English chivalry. The movie version heightens the story's drama by adding a second love interest for Myles' best friend, and by increasing the stakes by making the villain an outright traitor with plans to overthrow King Henry. It also includes Prince Hal, in a role where his historical roistering debauchery is treated as a ruse to conceal his own efforts to uncover the plot while at the same time gives him the chance to advance the fortunes of young Myles. The book was very informative regarding the training, habits, and mores of that era in English history. It also appears on recommended reading lists of great literature.

  2. 4 out of 5

    zane deann

    Ehh. I liked it, but didn't love it - too much thee-ing and thou-ing for my taste, plus it was written in the early 1900s style of Old English. (Did they really talk like that, or is that just what early twentieth century authors thought they talked like?) I used to love Robin Hood by the same author, though. xP I was kind of obsessed with Robin Hood for a while. 3 stars. Ehh. I liked it, but didn't love it - too much thee-ing and thou-ing for my taste, plus it was written in the early 1900s style of Old English. (Did they really talk like that, or is that just what early twentieth century authors thought they talked like?) I used to love Robin Hood by the same author, though. xP I was kind of obsessed with Robin Hood for a while. 3 stars.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lara Lee

    A knight's tale This was a very straightforward story of a boy becoming a successful knight and doing great deeds. It is fun, historical, and easy to read. I enjoyed it even though it was not very complicated in character development or plot. A knight's tale This was a very straightforward story of a boy becoming a successful knight and doing great deeds. It is fun, historical, and easy to read. I enjoyed it even though it was not very complicated in character development or plot.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dee Miller

    Audible.com 6 hours and 8 min. Narrated by Simon Vance (A) Why has it taken me 73 years to discover the magical gifts of author and illustrator Howard Pyle? This book was first published in 1891. It's a classic as are the stories of Robinhood and The Story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. I've used Google to search out the illustrations for these books--most done in pen and ink. I particularly enjoyed this story of a young man who learns slowly throughout of the robbery of his b Audible.com 6 hours and 8 min. Narrated by Simon Vance (A) Why has it taken me 73 years to discover the magical gifts of author and illustrator Howard Pyle? This book was first published in 1891. It's a classic as are the stories of Robinhood and The Story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. I've used Google to search out the illustrations for these books--most done in pen and ink. I particularly enjoyed this story of a young man who learns slowly throughout of the robbery of his blind father's position and wealth. Stories like these teach important lessons of the value of hard work, dedication to family and friends, honor, valor, and commitment. One chapter deals with the details of the knighthood ceremony. I've wondered about "The Order of the Bath" and now I understand its significance.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chase Jones

    Good coming of age story. Wouldn’t mind if my son read this one day. Lots of qualities portrayed in good ways; friendship, honesty, chivalry, how to treat ladies with respect, fighting for what’s right, triumph over evil, etc. I listened to the audiobook and Robert Whitfield does an excellent job narrating the old English.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Isabel

    Absolutely amazing! Five stars! I loved the plot and the valiancy of the knights. Pyle uses such elaborate descriptions for each of his characters. It was such an amazing story.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Oh man, Howard Pyle is converting me to love medieval stories. Out of the three I've read so far (Robin Hood, Otto of the Silver Hand, and Men of Iron), Men of Iron is solidly my favorite. This is a story of a boy becoming a man, of honor and revenge, wisdom and folly, romantic love, faithfulness, loyalty, hate... What do you enjoy in a good story? This one has all of the essentials. True, it isn't really a comedy (do read Pyle's Robin Hood for that!), but it is such a satisfying tale in every o Oh man, Howard Pyle is converting me to love medieval stories. Out of the three I've read so far (Robin Hood, Otto of the Silver Hand, and Men of Iron), Men of Iron is solidly my favorite. This is a story of a boy becoming a man, of honor and revenge, wisdom and folly, romantic love, faithfulness, loyalty, hate... What do you enjoy in a good story? This one has all of the essentials. True, it isn't really a comedy (do read Pyle's Robin Hood for that!), but it is such a satisfying tale in every other respect. Highly recommended!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

    Men Of Iron, Howard Pyle Wow, what a great little book! It centers around a young man, Myles Falworth, who is unwittingly caught up in the political intrigue during the transition from King Richard II to King Henry the IV. The new king follows the tradition of taking out the colleagues of his predecessor. As a boy Myles' father is blinded, exiled, and still wanted for treason for aiding and harboring a loyalist to the former king during this time. His family finds protection and anonymity and he Men Of Iron, Howard Pyle Wow, what a great little book! It centers around a young man, Myles Falworth, who is unwittingly caught up in the political intrigue during the transition from King Richard II to King Henry the IV. The new king follows the tradition of taking out the colleagues of his predecessor. As a boy Myles' father is blinded, exiled, and still wanted for treason for aiding and harboring a loyalist to the former king during this time. His family finds protection and anonymity and he grows up a peasant until his father sends him away to a former friend who still has power in the government to enter into his service and attain knighthood. Eventually with help and guidance (unknown to him at first) he becomes a knight and avenges his father's honor and estate. I love tales of revenge. Especially righteous revenge. But it's not just a revenge story. It's a classic "coming of age" tale that focuses on middle age chivalry. Myles is studied as he grows from his more naive and impressionable outlook on what is honorable and right to a more mature viewpoint. His boldness is helped by the fact that he's favored by his lord and master so his youthful ideals are validated. There's the disappointment of realizing that the facts of life aren't' as simple and black and white as he assumes in his youth, but he never becomes cynical as he learns to deal with the complexities of coming into his own. He remains pure at heart and heroically turns the fortunes of his own family and that of his benefactors' as well. What really loved was the details of life at the time period. His time spent as a squire, the rigors of the work, and the fromal social interactions are historically delicious. His knighthood ceremony where he is finally inducted into the Order of the Bath by the king he was soon to defy is regarded as a nonfictional account of the proceedings. It's packed full of a lot of details and intensity for what is actually a short novelette. At times it seems too short, but classic literature was specially gifted for keeping things simple while unfolding a great yarn. I loved and if this is any indication of how Pyle's other works are, I'll be checking out more of them.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    This is the the coming of age story of Myles Falworth, the son of a nobleman who supported the wrong king, making the new King Henry IV royally annoyed and sending the family into hiding until Myles grew up enough to become a squire and then a knight, and then a seasoned warrior who could challenge the family's chief enemy, the Earl of Alban. Myles supporters includes Henry IV's son, Prince Hal, with a brief digression into the disagreements of father and son from an interesting perspective. Alo This is the the coming of age story of Myles Falworth, the son of a nobleman who supported the wrong king, making the new King Henry IV royally annoyed and sending the family into hiding until Myles grew up enough to become a squire and then a knight, and then a seasoned warrior who could challenge the family's chief enemy, the Earl of Alban. Myles supporters includes Henry IV's son, Prince Hal, with a brief digression into the disagreements of father and son from an interesting perspective. Along the way, Myles of course meets the young noblewoman who he loves in at first a Platonic way, becomes her knight, and later seeks her hand in marriage. As a young adult novel of a previous generation, there are moral questions to be dealt with, since Myles has engaged in a battle to the death with his family's foe. Was it moral to kill him? It's interesting that Pyle felt it necessary to ask. What sets this book apart from the herd is its wonderful employment of middle English speech to give the story a wonderful feel of medieval English life. I suspect the language is more Shakespearean than English of the 1400s, but it's still a pleasure to read. And I think I'll take to calling my secluded backyard my "pleasance."

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michael Jones

    You have to like reading books in King James English to like this. If you do, it's a lot of fun. Available on librivox but with many different readers. That can be good as you hear different people struggle with the Elizabethan prose. This book definitely picks up on how young people were shaped in the code of chivalry and honor that existed at the time. But God created Myles As someone who had this intense sense of honor right in his bones. Honor on steroids (pardon the humorous analogy). As a C You have to like reading books in King James English to like this. If you do, it's a lot of fun. Available on librivox but with many different readers. That can be good as you hear different people struggle with the Elizabethan prose. This book definitely picks up on how young people were shaped in the code of chivalry and honor that existed at the time. But God created Myles As someone who had this intense sense of honor right in his bones. Honor on steroids (pardon the humorous analogy). As a Christian, I'm not sure I can place the family honor and fighting for my father's name on such a high plane. Sometimes I struggled because Myles doesn't always love his neighbor as himself. This worldview and timeframe has much to teach us, but I wouldn't want my son to grow up here.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jack Massa

    Enjoyable YA adventure, set at the height of the age of chivalry, but written with the stong moral force (and occasional moralizing) of the Victorian era.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alaina

    This was a read aloud story to my boys. The old english was hard at first to understand and get into, but we persevered and by the end the boys were cheering the battles and didn't want me to stop reading. Great book for medieval study. This was a read aloud story to my boys. The old english was hard at first to understand and get into, but we persevered and by the end the boys were cheering the battles and didn't want me to stop reading. Great book for medieval study.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emma Grace

    DNF

  14. 4 out of 5

    RWaggoner

    Reread with elementary age child. Pyle is a master storyteller and I think this is my favorite of his books. Period language is well done. Captivating story.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Iles

    This was one of the first books I read in elementary school. My mom had found it at a garage sale and thought I might like it. It’s a simple story, not hard to follow, and great for an early reader. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was very engaged. It remains one of my favorites because of the nostalgia.

  16. 5 out of 5

    ladydusk

    Own as Audio CD read by Jim Weiss. I hope to change to the correct edition soon ... We listened to Men of Iron on a long trip. We enjoyed the story; the exploits and doings of Myles Falworth were exciting. His maturation throughout the book was well done - from foolish boy to brave, wise knight. His foolish misunderstandings were brought on, at least partially, from the lack of information the adults in his life gave him. Yet, the revelations of friendship, enemy, and history all moved the plot a Own as Audio CD read by Jim Weiss. I hope to change to the correct edition soon ... We listened to Men of Iron on a long trip. We enjoyed the story; the exploits and doings of Myles Falworth were exciting. His maturation throughout the book was well done - from foolish boy to brave, wise knight. His foolish misunderstandings were brought on, at least partially, from the lack of information the adults in his life gave him. Yet, the revelations of friendship, enemy, and history all moved the plot along. Much of the story of Myles' training revolved around his character, both the good and the bad. He was a natural leader, yet sometimes his leadership caused more trouble than necessary. Perhaps our children were a little young for this. In some ways, the story was nuanced and the language difficult for them. We did have to explain what was going on in several places. They all insisted, however, that they liked the story, and since we own it, can listen again in the future. While we generally enjoy Jim Weiss and his CDs, this one seemed less professional than we've come to expect. There were places where obvious corrections were made that were distracting to the adult listener.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    This classic novel of knights in shining armour, British Kings, and jousting is really great literature. I'd give it 4 1/2 stars if I could. Don't get me wrong, this is isn't a thrill a minute. It is actually quite slow and methodical. But, I learned a lot about how people became knights and what they were required to do, and I enjoyed a coming-of-age adventure story at the same time. Myles Falworth is a boy of 16 when he is sent to a nearby castle learn how to become a knight. I didn't like him This classic novel of knights in shining armour, British Kings, and jousting is really great literature. I'd give it 4 1/2 stars if I could. Don't get me wrong, this is isn't a thrill a minute. It is actually quite slow and methodical. But, I learned a lot about how people became knights and what they were required to do, and I enjoyed a coming-of-age adventure story at the same time. Myles Falworth is a boy of 16 when he is sent to a nearby castle learn how to become a knight. I didn't like him much at first...he is cocky and stubborn and gets himself into trouble often. But, slowly, Myles learns to hold his temper and becomes a great knight of the 14th century. The story interested me enough, that I did some follow-up reading after I finished the book yesterday about King Richard II, King Henry IV, and King Henry V. Excellent writing with some beautiful comments by Howard Pyle about growing up as a boy in that age.

  18. 5 out of 5

    John Beach

    This is a wonderful "Boys' Book." I read it decades ago, and it still appeals to this 50-year-old boy, perhaps because it makes me first like that young lad I was in the early 1970s. That is it's greatest strength, I feel; it captures and romanticizes knighthood in the time of King Henry IV for impressionable boys of all ages. There are clear cut villains and characters of nobel heart. Certainly meant for young adults, it is a coming-of-age story, and did, not doubt, help to shape the man I event This is a wonderful "Boys' Book." I read it decades ago, and it still appeals to this 50-year-old boy, perhaps because it makes me first like that young lad I was in the early 1970s. That is it's greatest strength, I feel; it captures and romanticizes knighthood in the time of King Henry IV for impressionable boys of all ages. There are clear cut villains and characters of nobel heart. Certainly meant for young adults, it is a coming-of-age story, and did, not doubt, help to shape the man I eventually grew into. It is also a pretty good 1954 movie starring Tony Curtis, "The Black Shield of Falworth," although the movie uses characters who really are too old, and skips most of the youthful boy stories that come early in the book. I would love to see this remade to feature youthful British actors.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sylvester

    Knights and squires, tournaments and jousting - Pyle handles his subject with ease, adding authenticity with his use of Old English words and phrases. I especially appreciate the skill with which he paces the story, unhurried, taking time to build the tale, and never overdoing the description. He makes it look easy.

  20. 5 out of 5

    G.M. Burrow

    Lovely, predictable, knightly stuff.

  21. 5 out of 5

    James

    It is always nice to read/listen to an young reader's book once in a while. I love stories of pages and knights. Fiction or nonfiction. A nice book which to return to earlier years. It is always nice to read/listen to an young reader's book once in a while. I love stories of pages and knights. Fiction or nonfiction. A nice book which to return to earlier years.

  22. 4 out of 5

    John Yelverton

    This was an extremely well done book of knights and chivalry. Yet more impressive, it is the best literary transition of a boy to a man that I have ever read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Thomas

    This book was really good! The main character is a boy named Myles Falworth, who is very ambitious. His father was exiled for treason while Myles was still very young. He grew up very poor until he was sent away to live under the protection of one of his father’s friends that has political power. Myles is entered into service to gain knighthood in an attempt to regain his father’s honor. While Myles continues to grow and learn, he becomes optimistic. His optimistic attitude and ambition drive hi This book was really good! The main character is a boy named Myles Falworth, who is very ambitious. His father was exiled for treason while Myles was still very young. He grew up very poor until he was sent away to live under the protection of one of his father’s friends that has political power. Myles is entered into service to gain knighthood in an attempt to regain his father’s honor. While Myles continues to grow and learn, he becomes optimistic. His optimistic attitude and ambition drive him to success and his knighthood. The ceremony of his knighthood was very descriptive and realistic to what could very likely have been the traditions of knights in the past. During the first chapters of the book, it seems as if Myles is seeking revenge for his father, but as he develops more character growth and guidance, the story’s theme changes to more of a classic “coming of age” story. The way the book is laid out for character development is amazing, making the characters actually seem like people you can meet every day. The book at parts seemed too short, but the writing and character development is simple yet very descriptive. For me, at age 15 I found the book a little boring, but I still definitely recommend this book to audiences under the age of 15, especially because of the great story Howard Pyle managed to write.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Coleen

    Originally written in 1891, my copy was copyrighted in 1919. But it was in decent shape and I was interested in reading the story of King Henry lV and King Richard ll in England in the 1400's. The story is only slightly about them, and actually is the tale of Myles Falworth, as a youth being sent from Crosbey-Dale to Devlen castle to work and be trained to whatever use the Earl deemed him fit. When I later found out that the book had been made into a movie and that it was considered a children's Originally written in 1891, my copy was copyrighted in 1919. But it was in decent shape and I was interested in reading the story of King Henry lV and King Richard ll in England in the 1400's. The story is only slightly about them, and actually is the tale of Myles Falworth, as a youth being sent from Crosbey-Dale to Devlen castle to work and be trained to whatever use the Earl deemed him fit. When I later found out that the book had been made into a movie and that it was considered a children's book -that is, a youth coming of age, I thought of some of the difficulties that I had with reading it. Nay, methinks it would be quite a task....'one must e'en let thee privily out by the postern wicket.' That is to say, Shakespeare would be easy compared to this reading. Myles, however, was an interesting character, and the book - despite the words and language that I either tripped over, or tip-toed through, was a decent one.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Ricks

    I tried reading this book as a little kid, but I couldn't get through it for whatever reason. I was thinking of it the last few years wanting to try it again, but unfortunately I didn't remember much about it other than some plot points. I spent a lot of time searching and reading various books. I thought it might have been a Rosemary Sutcliff book, so I read several of hers to no avail. Once I got to this book my blood pressure kept going up as it checked off the plot points I remembered. I was I tried reading this book as a little kid, but I couldn't get through it for whatever reason. I was thinking of it the last few years wanting to try it again, but unfortunately I didn't remember much about it other than some plot points. I spent a lot of time searching and reading various books. I thought it might have been a Rosemary Sutcliff book, so I read several of hers to no avail. Once I got to this book my blood pressure kept going up as it checked off the plot points I remembered. I was absolutely elated once it satisfied all of my memories. Turns out I made it about 100 pages in. The book itself is great, but perhaps a bit long and full of archaic words to be marketed towards kids. I was probably 8 or 9 on my first attempt. It seems to be very historically accurate, except for some of those Victorian misconceptions about moving around in armor. So in conclusion I was very happy to find and read this.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    Written in formal language meant I was able to stay in the story and not jump between modern cultural norms and historical setting. I have never heard of this book other than it was recommended by a trusted source as a book to inspire valuable character in young readers. Myles Falworth is not without faults but the good in him is definitely more. His loyalty to true friends, honor to his parents, work ethic, sense of honor, and a desire to see plainly the fault and baseness in the debauchery he Written in formal language meant I was able to stay in the story and not jump between modern cultural norms and historical setting. I have never heard of this book other than it was recommended by a trusted source as a book to inspire valuable character in young readers. Myles Falworth is not without faults but the good in him is definitely more. His loyalty to true friends, honor to his parents, work ethic, sense of honor, and a desire to see plainly the fault and baseness in the debauchery he witnessed when a knight in battle are all admirable. Yes, this is a book I want my children to read. These are words and ideas and ideals I want them to encounter in a fictional setting so as to recognize them in real life. I'm grateful for the recommendation and will return to the list again.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    I think this is it! Somehow I was reminded of a medieval-set story about a knight published sometime around or the seventies (because it was on my parents' genre bookcase when I was a kid) and that it was a small mass-market paperback and had a not-memorable title that I had managed to remember about 10 years ago, about 10 years after I'd last seen the book, without writing it down anywhere, naturally. Definitely read it in elementary school, though I'm fortunate, I started looking for this just I think this is it! Somehow I was reminded of a medieval-set story about a knight published sometime around or the seventies (because it was on my parents' genre bookcase when I was a kid) and that it was a small mass-market paperback and had a not-memorable title that I had managed to remember about 10 years ago, about 10 years after I'd last seen the book, without writing it down anywhere, naturally. Definitely read it in elementary school, though I'm fortunate, I started looking for this just a couple hours ago and I followed a link from The White Company

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    It took me some time to get into this book, but once I did, I found it to be rather enjoyable. The narration is written in an Olde English style, and that takes a bit to become accustomed to, but once one puts forth the effort, it possess that magic to transport one to another time and place. Many a time I thought to myself while reading, "Don Quixote would be most proud of me to know that I am engaging in the further perusal of Knights Errantry". And of course.. "So Miles was….., for how else sh It took me some time to get into this book, but once I did, I found it to be rather enjoyable. The narration is written in an Olde English style, and that takes a bit to become accustomed to, but once one puts forth the effort, it possess that magic to transport one to another time and place. Many a time I thought to myself while reading, "Don Quixote would be most proud of me to know that I am engaging in the further perusal of Knights Errantry". And of course.. "So Miles was….., for how else shall the story end?

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bee

    When life gets too stressful and you can't stomach one more day of bad news or viral video of horror among the members of the human race, download this audio book, put in your ear buds and sit back for a relaxing ride. Immerse yourself in that simpler time complete with Olde English jargon. These are days of chivalry when hard work mixes seamlessly with a bit of mischief and it's all good. Don't worry. Your Facebook feed will still be there when you return to the 21st Century. But you'll be the When life gets too stressful and you can't stomach one more day of bad news or viral video of horror among the members of the human race, download this audio book, put in your ear buds and sit back for a relaxing ride. Immerse yourself in that simpler time complete with Olde English jargon. These are days of chivalry when hard work mixes seamlessly with a bit of mischief and it's all good. Don't worry. Your Facebook feed will still be there when you return to the 21st Century. But you'll be the better for your brief foray into the past.

  30. 4 out of 5

    John Brown

    I can understand why some people can’t handle this book due to the language being of Old English but I think that’s what makes this book all the more better. Pyle did a great job in telling a story as authentically as possible as how it is to become a knight in those days as well as dealing with social status all while telling a story of a young squire reaching knighthood to kill the man who ruined his fathers good name. Very well written and if Pyle’s other stories are up to par with this then I can understand why some people can’t handle this book due to the language being of Old English but I think that’s what makes this book all the more better. Pyle did a great job in telling a story as authentically as possible as how it is to become a knight in those days as well as dealing with social status all while telling a story of a young squire reaching knighthood to kill the man who ruined his fathers good name. Very well written and if Pyle’s other stories are up to par with this then he may be one of my favorite authors.

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