The Illyrian Adventure

by Lloyd Alexander
Series: Vesper Holly Adventure #1
132 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Jenny

A sophisticated yet easy to comprehend adventure.


After the death of his friend and colleague Doctor Holly, it falls to Brinnie to take care of the man’s orphaned child. Cool and rational Brinnie was not expecting the fiery young lady Vesper that he meets. When Vesper decides to discover what her father had been researching shortly before his death, there is nothing Brinnie can do to stop her, and he finds himself on a ship headed for the backwards European country of Illyria. Caught between leading factions at each other’s throat and hunted by traitors, Brinnie and Vesper race to find the answer of peace in Illyria.


While not a Christian book, the morality is excellent. Brinnie does not make for one of the brightest or bravest of protagonists, but he and his ward uphold an excellent sense of right and wrong, of peace and justice.

Spiritual Content

Festivals are held among the Illyrians that seem almost occultist, harkening back to the days of their ancestors. However, Alexander portrays these celebrations as modest, almost like a local fair.


Filtered through the dry wit of its main character, all violence in the book is relatively brushed over. There are fights aplenty among the factions, as well as wounds and discomforts received by those caught in the crossfire.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Wine is consumed. It is hinted that a man could be made to contract a deadly fever.

Sexual Content

Vesper arrives in Illyria wearing pants not unlike bloomers, and it causes something of a stir among the locals. She later adopts the local costume.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

A rude gesture is mentioned in passing, and with regret.


Again, while not the most intelligent of characters, Brinnie makes for an engaging protagonist to follow. Alexander’s writing is easy, yet classy. Vesper herself is a most delightful character: shrewd, kind, quick-witted. I recommend this book without qualm to anyone.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: 8-10

Review Rating:

Did we miss something? Let us know!

Jenny This review is brought to you by Jenny.
Read more reviews by Jenny