But it is January. It’s amazing how we forget just how much teeth gritting cold we we can get during an Alberta winter. We don’t get usually get this much snow in December and January, but our water table is still recovering from the drought 2 years ago, so it’s all good. La Nina hasn’t released her fury on us, as she has on the U.K., Southeastern States where they just don’t get that kind of weather and the flooding disaster happening in Queensland, Australia.
Anyway, if you can’t sit by the fire in with a good book during the winter months when else can you do it? I’ve had some great reads lately and I’d like to share them.
Tami Hoag: mystery writer
Dark Horse and Alibi Man, both these thrillers are set in the winter horse world of Florida, with Dark Horse being more specifically within the showjumping world
Joann Ross: romance writer
Has several novels set in the horse racing world of Ireland and the United States. I’ve just finished “Legends Lake” and felt like I was visiting a familiar place, as I was reminded that I had read her writing before.
Laura Moore: romance writer
This is a new author for me and I am thoroughly enjoying the accuate portrayals of show jumping at the Grand Prix level and the dichotomy of money/influence vs. those who haven’t got it, set on the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. I’ve read “Ride a Dark Horse” and “Chance Meeting” and my “10 minute before sleep reading habit” has caused some very late nights of page turning.
With my love of the Medieval time period, I am also enjoying the translations of Jan Guillou’s trilogy of Arn, Knight Templar, beginning with “The Road to Jerusalem” centering around a young Scandinavian, an exceptional warrior candidate, raised by monks. A key thread running through the the first novel of the trilogy is the Saracen horse breeding program initiated by the monks. Although, a little flat, as it is a translation, it is refreshing to read the intriques and politics of a different country during the turbulent times of the Second Crusade.
The big bonus to Jan Guillou’s books is that they have been made into two major motion pictures focusing on two different aspects of what is essentially a love story. If you don’t mind reading subtitles, “Arn, Knight Templar” is Friday night with popcorn to equal “Kingdom of Heaven”, “Pillars of the Earth”, “Robin Hood” or “Gladiator”; be sure to watch the special features to find the name of the second movie.
But the absolute shining star of my new discoveries has to be “The Legend of the Great Horse” series. I found “Eclipsed by a Shadow” by John Royce on Sony-E books and became so involved I went to the website. www.thegreathorse.com and ordered the second in the series (haven’t read it yet), and registered to be one of the first to receive the third when it is published.
This award winning juvenile novel is a great read for anyone who loves horses. Royce has managed to insert facts and history into his legend with a minimum of distruption to a great story. Although the main character is not as fully developed as she would be from a female writer, she does carry the story off to satisfaction.
The fantasy novel has all the earmarks of good literature and rates equally with “Harry Potter” and “Narnia”. Despite the awards already earned, the book is easily a coveted Newbury Award for Exceptional Childrens Literature candidate, if it can find an audience outside the horse world.
The story begins with the tragic delivery of an orphan filly born of the heroine’s mother’s retired show horse. The family has experienced the financial upheaval of the recession and all the hopes to provide a horse for the daughter are resting on this foal. Then strange things begin to happen.
Not the weirdest one of them, the entrance of a mysterious, wealthy old lady who takes an interest in family and filly. Through an invitation to lunch she imparts the knowledge of “The Legend of the Great Horse” and cautions the mother and daughter of the legend’s warning that the “Great Horse of this century must never be ridden, for to do so would result in catastrophic results.
Predicatably, the filly is the great horse and circumstances deem, the daughter must use the horse to escape her would be captors. Then begins the time slip, as Meagan finds herself located with a wild herd, about to be driven over a cliff by prehistoric hunters. She must now use all her knowledge, trivial and practical, about horses to survive in unknown circumstances. The settings continue through Ancient Rome, to the steppes of Mongolia to Medieval Europe, before the first novel ends.
The reader will find themselves caught up the trilogy and want to find out how Meagan will get back to her own time period.
Now time for me to bookmark my place and get my butt off to the Horse Owner’s and breeders conference.