Review: The Shadowy Horses

The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley
Sourcebooks Landmark, 2012, 1997
(Originally published in Canada in 1997 by McClelland-Bantam, Inc.  Originally published in Great Britain in 1997 by Victor Gollancs, an imprint of the Cassell Group.)

From the author Susanna Kearsley’s website:

With its dark legends and passionate history, the windswept shores of Scotland are an archaeologist’s dream. Verity Grey is thrilled by the challenge of uncovering an ancient Roman campsite in a small village. But as soon as she arrives, she can sense danger in the air.

Her eccentric boss, Peter Quinnell, has spent his whole life searching for the resting place of the lost Ninth Roman Legion and is convinced he’s finally found it – not because of any scientific evidence, but because a local boy has ‘seen’ a Roman soldier walking in the fields, a ghostly sentinel who guards the bodies of his long-dead comrades.

Surprisingly, Verity believes in Peter, and the boy, and even in the Sentinel, who seems determined to become her own protector…but from what?

My Review – 4 Stars

Susanna Kearsley opens sections of The Shadowy Horses with quotes from In Memoriam by Tennyson. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred,_Lord_Tennyson:

“Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland during much of Queen Victoria‘s reign and remains one of the most popular British poets.”

I suspect some of the inspiration for The Shadowy Horses came from Tennyson’s poetry. One section refers to the ghostly sentinel:

“And hear at times a sentinel
Who moves about from place to place,
And whispers to the worlds of space,
In the deep night, that all is well.
– Tennyson, In Memoriam, CXXV”

The Shadowy Horses is the third book I’ve read recently by Susanna Kearsley. Her writing, especially descriptions of scenery, strikes me as poetic to some degree.

The scene for this story is an archaeological dig in Scotland.  However, the story is not overly technical or scientific. I enjoyed the characters and their relationships with one another. I liked the English, Scottish and Irish connections and the descriptions of the culture in the Scottish town of Eyemouth.

Overall, The Shadowy Horses was a very enjoyable read.

(This book introduces young Robbie McMorran, a boy with psychic abilities. Robbie, as a young adult, is one of the main characters in Susanna Kearsley‘s recent novel, The Firebird.)

10 comments

  1. I am attracted to Kearsley’s books but am too worried I’ll get freaked out by them to actually read them. Maybe one of these days!

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