©2005 K.M. Grant; (P)2005 Recorded Books, LLC
"The historical setting and the vocabulary may challenge younger readers but ensure that older ones will find the book a rewarding adventure, one not soon forgotten and one that lends itself to great discussion." (School Library Journal)
"Transcends boundaries of gender and genre, with something to offer fans of equestrian fare, historical fiction, and battlefield drama alike." (Booklist)
The setting for the story is great, but the characters lack depth. Most characters have little progression throughout. The horse has none, as it's perfect and stays perfect. William has flare ups of imperfection, but they're never true problems in the story. Gavin is the main one with any progression. Also, this book like most modern books, gives a PC flavor to the crusades with the noble Muslims vs. bloodthirsty Christians. It detracts from the story but doesn't kill it entirely. Still, you love the horse and enjoy the story with mixed bits of history despite the flaws.
This book is entertaining, but that is about all that can be said for it. There are so many passages that had my children, wife, and me rolling our eyes in amusement and incredulity. Here are a few of the many examples. At one point after a bloody battle, brave knights and Saracens are lying severely wounded on the battlefield, and the only one getting any attention from the people responsible for healing is the horse. The Sultan goes out of his way to send special medication for a horse owned by the enemy. In another instance upon returning from the Crusades, the people give more credit to the horse than to any of the returning knights. Throughout the book supposedly devout Christians and Muslims swear oaths by and pray in the name of the horse. Not at all in keeping with people of the 13th Century!
The Narrator does a decent job with female voices and young boy voices, but her adult male voices all sound angry and pompous in any occasion.
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