The Horse Road by Troon Harrison
Bloomsbury, 2012. ISBN 978-1-4088-1935-7.
(Age: 10-16) Highly recommended. The Horse Road is the first in a series of three equestrian adventures. Set in Ferghana, Central Asia in 102 B.C. we follow the story of Kallisto, a brave and passionate young 14 year old who has inherited her love of horses and her horse riding skills from her nomad mother.
After racing her horse with her friend Batu, Kallisto spied the Chinese Army approaching her city on a horse stealing mission. On her return to home, she discovers her beautiful white horse Swan has been captured and she must plan to rescue him.
With an absent father and a seriously injured mother, Kallisto must discover her inner strength and rely on her own bravery and problem solving skills. She is a young female who stands up for her rights and beliefs in a time when women were expected to follow rather than lead.
This story is based on historical fact as the Chinese did go into battle to gain the unique horses described in this book. It is obvious that the author has thoroughly researched the historical background to the story and has a wide knowledge of horses herself. She is able to take the reader along with her 'on horse-back' in this fast paced novel. I am not a 'horsey' person myself and do not willingly choose fiction in this area but I was engrossed in this exciting story and the time frame Kallisto had for rescuing her beloved horse Swan.
I will definitely be reading the next books in this series, Cold Freedom, set during WWII and Red River Stallion which is based in the Canadian fur trading times of the 1830's.
An exciting story for readers aged 10 to 16 years, highly recommended.