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Otto of the Silver Hand

Howard Pyle

Book Overview: 

The story of little Otto, a gentle, peace-loving child born into the heart of turmoil and strife in the castle of a feuding robber baron in medieval Germany.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .She hath naught to say," said Baron Conrad, hoarsely, and then stopped short in his speech. "She is dead," said he, at last, in a husky voice, "and is with God's angels in paradise."

The Abbot looked intently in the Baron's face. "So!" said he, under his breath, and then for the first time noticed how white and drawn was the Baron's face. "Art sick thyself?" he asked.

"Ay," said the Baron, "I have come from death's door. But that is no matter. Wilt thou take this little babe into sanctuary? My house is a vile, rough place, and not fit for such as he, and his mother with the blessed saints in heaven." And once more Conrad of Drachenhausen's face began twitching with the pain of his thoughts.

"Yes," said the old man, gently, "he shall live here," and he stretched out his hands and took the babe. "Would," said he, "that all the little children in these dark times might be thus brought to the house of God, and there learn mercy and peace, inst. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This novel is old-fashioned in two ways. It was of course originally published in 1888. But even then Howard Pyle was deliberately writing (and illustrating his own text) in an antique style. I am informed that his intent was to get away from the fluffy and overly-sweet view of the Middle Ages, s...more

This is 100% not my type of book to read, but I did find the bare bones of the story interesting.
The way it's told and the way the dialogue is written was a big turnoff for me.
However, I do understand that it's based on a Medieval story and written in the late 19th century and it might jus...more

I read a condensed version of "The Adventures of Robin Hood" when I was nine or ten years old (I despise condensed books for children, incidentally), but have not given Howard Pyle a shot since then. It hasn't been because he was a bad writer, I just haven't thought much about it.

Rece...more

Otto's mother died during childbirth, and his father, a warlord, left him in a monastery for a proper and safe upbringing. As an older boy Otto's father returns for him, at which time Otto discovers the truth about his father's past, particularly about his part in the murder of Baron Frederick. A...more

This is a fine book, as are all great offerings from the masculine Pyle. This is a dark and more exotic tale than Men of Iron, and more complex than his Arthurian tellings. It is a good book for a young man -- portraying the discipline of education, the excruciating hardship of pain and torture,...more

Otto of the Silver Hand was originally published in 1888 – and I am amazed that the content within this novel continues to be relevant in today’s society. This story is set in medieval Germany when castles, feuds, barons, knights, kidnapping, soldiers, and rescues were common. Violence, revenge,...more

Beautifully wrtten and illustrated and a fast read. Great for ages 10 and up. I, as an adult, enjoyed it. Historical refences, some good vocabulary, themes to explore of honor, revenge and mercy. Learn how far a league is. Good descriptive pictures painted of suroundings, including sounds and sme...more

This book has wonderful illustrations and a great vocabulary. We had to look up several words.

I read this aloud to my kids for school. MD gave it 5 stars. MK, CN, and myself gave it 4 stars. We liked that Otto chose a different path from his father. A path of kindness and wisdom.

This isn't my favorite book. Otto is too perfect, to the point of being annoying. The story would have been better with more believable characters.

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