Scott O'Dell Margaret A. Dorsey - Essay

Margaret A. Dorsey

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

O'Dell's [The Hawk That Dare Not Hunt by Day] is a fairly interesting, occasionally exciting historical novel that centers on the intrigue involved in the printing and distribution of the first English translation of the New Testament. The narrator is a 16-year-old English orphan, Tom Barton, who together with his 25-year-old Uncle Jack, is a seaman engaged in trade—and smuggling—with the Low Countries and Germany. It is the smuggler's vocation that brings Tom into contact with William Tyndale, whose ambition it is to translate the Bible into common English. Eventually Tyndale has his translation printed in Germany and Tom successfully smuggles it into England…. The story opens in 1524 and spans some ten years, ending with Tyndale's execution as a heretic. The religious and political turmoil of the time is presented with clarity, and in addition to Tyndale himself, King Henry VIII and printer Peter Quentel play their real-life roles. It's a well-guided journey into the past for young teens with some interest in the era; however, it lacks the vitality and the basic situational appeal of some of O'Dell's previous novels. (pp. 60-1)

Margaret A. Dorsey, in a review of "The Hawk That Dare Not Hunt by Day," in School Library Journal, Vol. 22, No. 4, December, 1975, pp. 60-1.