The silver sword

By Ian Serraillier

Ian Serraillier

Ian Serraillier was a British novelist and poet. Serraillier was best known for his children's books, especially the Silver Sword (Novel) (1956), a wartime adventure story which was adapted for television by the BBC in 1957 and again in 1971.

He was born in London, Serraillier was educated at Brighton College Oxford. He worked as English teacher. In 1946 his first children's novel was published. It was followed by several more adventure stories of treasure and spies. His best known work, The Silver Sword, was published in 1956.

As well as children's novels and poetry, Serrailler produced his own retellings of classic tales, in prose and verse, including Beowulf, Chaucer and Greek myth. Together with his wife Anne founded the New Windmill Series in 1948, published by Heinemann Educational Books.He continued as co-editor of the series until the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

The summary

The silver sword is the story of a polish family, and of what happened to them during the Second World War and immediately afterwards. The night when nazis came to take their parents they ( Ruth, Bronia and Edek) could escape them. They managed to live close to Warsaw during the war without too many foods. But sudden everything changed in their lives. They met Jan, an orphan boy who lived around rubble of Warsaw. He had the silver sword, which was a present from their mother to their father. They could know their parents were alive in Switzerland as that boy talked with their father.

After that, they started a long journey across three countries to try to meet with their parents again. They had too many problems with Jan as he usually stole food and they caught him three times, therefore they must work to give back at least the money that he stole.

They met some people who helped them and others didn't want to. Moreover they had many problems as they were polish, and most of them were obligated to come back to their own country. But they only wanted to go to Switzerland because their parents were there.

They always kept the silver sword, it gave them hope that they would meet their parents again.

If you want to know what happens you must read the book. SORRY!!!

Main characters


I strongly recommend this book. I bought this book because it sounded like a thrilling and moving adventure. The writer says it was based on fact,but I don't believe him. Maybe during the Second World War it was really difficult to move through three countries and everything sounds strange but it's a very good story. I think he puts you in their shoes and you can understand how the people are feeling during the Second World War.

At the beginning, it's hard to understand as the author is really descriptive and he uses a lot of different adjectives. After a few pages, you can read faster. From my point of view, this book is aimed at teenagers but I enjoyed it very much. I think it was a very hard time.

They were very lucky guys. I think the storyline surrounding the silver sword is quite unrealistic.



  • Grim: desalentador
  • Giddy: mareado
  • Hesitant: vacilante
  • Gay: colorido, alegre
  • Ghastly: espantoso, horroroso
  • Wary: cauteloso
  • Mangy: roñoso, sarnoso
  • Stringy: fibroso


  • Fur: abrigo
  • Hillside: ladera
  • Hut: cobertizo
  • Hardship: privación, miseria
  • Fence: cerca
  • Trestle table: mesa de caballetes
  • Cabbage: repollo
  • Dab: pizca
  • Thud: golpe seco y sordo
  • Bunch: ramillete o manojo
  • Cheekbone: pómulo
  • Cheek: mejilla
  • Giddiness: vértigo
  • Rattle: traqueteo
  • Jerk: sacudida
  • Limb: extremidad
  • Sorrow: pena, pesar
  • Stork: cigüeña
  • Slap: manotazo
  • Peep: mirada
  • Truck: vagón
  • Wrist: muñeca (parte cuerpo)
  • Puddle: charco
  • Holster: funda de pistola
  • Shed: cobertizo
  • Peasant: campesino
  • Shoot: hollín
  • Cough: tos
  • Tumbling: agitación
  • Icicle: carambaro
  • Crocus: azafrán
  • Bare: huecos, sin hojas
  • Gorge: barranco
  • Rubble: escombros
  • Welfore: bienenestar
  • Drizzle: llovizna
  • Clash: pizca, toque
  • Embers: ascuas
  • Struggle: lucha
  • Sobbing: sollozos
  • Strain: presión
  • Ragamuffin: granuja
  • Stove: cocina
  • Jolt: traqueteo
  • Bush: matorral


  • To drench: empapar
  • To beg: rogar, suplicar
  • To smother: cubrir
  • To abide: aguantar (sentimiento)
  • To grive: dar pena a
  • To huddle: acurrucarse
  • To dismiss: despedir, dar permiso para irse
  • To mutter: murmullar
  • To dare: atreverse
  • To tug: tirar de
  • To doze: dormitar
  • To unnerve: desconectarse
  • To fetch: ir a buscar
  • To thaw: descongelar
  • To char: carbonizar
  • To stack: apilar
  • To cling: aferrarse
  • To rouse: suscitar
  • To tread: pisar
  • To wonder: pasear
  • To grasp: estrechar (mano), aprovechar (oportunidad), apoderarse (terreno)
  • To stroke: acariciar
  • To yell: chillar, gritar
  • To grab: agarrar
  • To sumggle: pasar (de contrabando)
  • To vanish: desaparecer
  • To straggle: rezagarse
  • To wipe out: limpiar, aniquilar
  • To squeeze: exprimir, apretar
  • To faint: desmayarse
  • To wrap: envolver
  • To tie up: amarrar
  • To mend: arreglar algo pequeño
  • To clutch: agarrar, apretar
  • To blot: marchar
  • To blot out: olvidar


  • Giddily: vertiginosamente
  • Alongside: al lado de
  • Hostily: apresuradamente
  • Otherwise: por el contrario, de otra manera

BBC serie and film

Unfortunately, BBC just removed this serie from its website.


The Silver Sword by Orestes04