Sunday 1 July 2012

183. The Horse Road by Troon Harrison

The Horse Road by Troon Harrison
Published May 2012 Bloomsbury

From the publisher:

A thrilling adventure perfect for horse-mad girls. Set during real historical events in Central Asia in 102 BC.
As you can see, this is a May release, and I am only just getting around to reading it.  Truth be told, I didn't know if I would read it as I am didn't think I would enjoy a book about horses.  I was not a horsey girl, and I have never been a fan of horsey fiction.  This is most definately about horses, but it's not just about horses, it's also a story rich in history and full of adventure.

The book is set in Central Asia in 102 BC, a time before the Silk Route had been established.  Kallisto is a young teenager who has been raised in luxury.  Her Greek father is a merchant who, through his travels, has supplied his family with beautiful jewels, clothes and trinkets.  Her mother is an ex Persian slave who breeds the much sought after persian horses, the Akhal-Teke.  Even though Kallisto's destiny is to be married off to the well respected son of the king's falconer, he heart is with the horses.

While visiting the nomads in the Alay Mountains, Kallisto and her friend Batu see that the Chinese are marching to attack her home of Ershi.  They want the horses, and so begins Kallisto's fight to keep her families horses, especially her beloved pure white mare, Swan.  There is action aplenty from this point on, there's a snow leopard attack, a daring escape dressed as a solider, a kidnapping, an earthquake and daredevil riding skills. 

If you are a horse lover, the horses do steal the show in this book.  They are described in detail and there is a lot to be learned about this highly prized horse.  For riders, you will be drawn in by the description of Kallisto's exraordianry riding skills, and the particular way that these horses can be ridden. without the need of reins!

One of the things I really liked about this book, is the chapter at the back of the book, outlining all of the historical facts.  All of the events that take place in this story actually happened.  The Chinese really did invade, and they really did do this for the horses.  It was the events of this time, that eventually opened up the Silk Route and thus began the exchange of silk for horses to be sent to the East.

Who will like this book: Girls age 9+
Read it if you like: The Dragonkeeper by Carole Wilkinson (while not a book about horses, it does have a similar 'feel' about it)

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