The title of this book is Charles the Hammer, which is the true story of Charles Martel. The author’s name is Shane Miller and this book is historical fiction. Published by Hawthorn Books Inc. in 1964, it has 192 pages.

The main character is Charles Martel. Starting out in France in the early 1700s, the setting shows France as having a divided country with different sections and not being unified under one leader--definitely unlike France today. Sadly, a very bitter man, Charles is in prison accused of a crime that he did not commit. Little does he know that he is the one who will begin the work that will eventually unify France as one country. As his own confused, contemptible, careless people are fighting amongst themselves, the Muslim invaders are taking over the south of France bit by bit because they want to convert all “infidels”. The situation is slowly growing worse.

Charles is released from prison and immediately starts preparing an army that will settle the disputes between the Frisian Saxons, Neustrians, and the Austrasians. Slowly, he has grown a very deep love for his country which he gained with the realization of his country’s predicaments. After the battle is won and peace is brought again to the people, Charles resumes his own, old former position as mayor of the palace in Austrasia because the position was restored to him. Situated comfortably, he soon assembles a larger, stronger army, and his influential position soon skyrockets to the top. Because they are invading, the Saracens must be dealt with. He will have to lead the people of France into a fierce battle against some of the finest horsemen and bring the Saracens to their knees in order to set France free. Suddenly, Charles, already irritated, found out that his neighbor has been attacked, invaded, and conquered by the Saracen host! More surprising than this is Odo’s (the duke of Aquitaine) alliance with the Muslim captain! Now the Muslims are ransacking and pillaging throughout the land! What can Charles do?

This conflict has to end! The people of France must unite and stand to fight for their land! It must not be taken! Charles has only one thing to do. He must fight and encourage Odo to defend his region. In a meeting with Odo, Charles reprimands him sharply for the outrageous deed that has taken place. Convincing Odo that they must work together to defeat and vanquish this dreaded enemy who would seek to conquer their region, they soon engage the Saracen host in one of the hottest battles. The odds are almost overpowering. Significantly, their army is smaller and they are fighting against thousands of horsemen! One might think there is no chance for survival. But, working together and making a wall as hard as bricks with their bodies and armor, they fight off the Saracens. It is victory for the Franks! Although they have been defeated once, as soon as circumstances settle down, the Saracens attack again fully determined to gain control. Now Charles must fight again. Another sure victory and the Saracens are pushed away from the border! These two battles resulting in victory gave Charles the name of Martel, which means hammer. Charles, now old and becoming sick, has to rest and will never fight another battle again. He dies on October, 741. His hopes for France becoming united and free are not fulfilled until many years later by his grandson, Charlemagne, but he is still remembered because of his heroic deeds. Without Charles Martel, France would not be the country it is today.

The message about life is that we must live for a higher purpose than ourselves. Selfishness is not the way to live life. It leads only to bitterness. Living for a higher purpose and fulfilling that purpose every day is what brings peace to life that is worth the living. Charles Martel led a full and fulfilling life. Charles the Hammer is an excellent book.

This book is very enjoyable. It is a very thrilling book taking the reader back into the adventurous days of the past.  Recommended for anyone who likes historical fiction or likes action-packed books, this novels suspense will not disappoint.