Book Review: Eclipsed by Shadow is a “rollicking historical action adventure through time”

ECLIPSED BY SHADOW is a rollicking historical action adventure through time. Awesome, right? It’s even young adult! And it incorporates a flying horse! What more could I need in life? I’m not exactly one for fantasy, but this book is heavy on the historical, and being a history and classical studies girl, I guess this just hit my complicated array of switches, levers and buttons.—Whitebrook Farm

The following is a review of Eclipsed by Shadow, Book #1 of The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy by Whitebrook Farm:

Eclipsed by Shadow | Trotting through History

Eclipsed by Shadow is the first book of the historical adventure trilogy, The Legend of the Great Horse, a journey through the ages when horses were everyday companions in work, war, sport and spectacle. The story is told through the eyes of a young woman, a horse-crazy teenager traveling through time with a knowledge of 21st Century horsemanship as her only defense.

So I know what you’re thinking, and it’s probably “her horsemanship had better be fantastic.” Or maybe that was just me?

Eclipsed by Shadow is a rollicking historical action adventure through time. Awesome, right? It’s even young adult! And it incorporates a flying horse! What more could I need in life? I’m not exactly one for fantasy, but this book is heavy on the historical, and being a history and classical studies girl, I guess this just hit my complicated array of switches, levers and buttons.

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One Book Shy of a Full Shelf: Eclipsed by Shadow a “can’t put down” book

History, fantasy, myth, adventure and proper equine care all shine brightly in this first book in the trilogy. Royce weaves all of these elements together beautifully and young readers probably won’t even notice that they are learning about history and horse care while on this great ride back through time. I learned quite a bit myself and I grew up on a horse ranch with horses always in my life. This was a “can’t put down” book for me.—Julie Dees, One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

The following is a review of Eclipsed by Shadow by Julie Dees of the book blog, One Book Shy of a Full Shelf:

OneBookShy.com | Julie Dees

I don’t know if I will have enough adjectives to describe just how much

I LOVE THIS BOOK!

Although I would like to apologize to the author John Royce first. I’ve had this book for quite a while and have just now got a chance to share my review ~ it’s one that was worth the wait though! And just in time to TOP my GIFT-WORTHY list..

Horse-crazy teenager Meagan Roberts is the proud owner of an amazingly rare Palomino Thoroughbred filly (girl horse) named “Promise”. As Meagan dreams of the future and waits for Promise to grow enough to start training, many strange people start showing up and trying to buy the unusual filly from the Roberts family. The prices they offer are both staggering and suspicious. A strange old woman also comes to visit after the filly is born at dawn on June 21st ~ the summer solstice. She makes some odd comments before going on her way. There is a lot of interest in this “backyard” foal.

Meagan receives an intriguing invitation for her and a guardian to luncheon at a mansion nearby. The mysterious hostess is Mrs. Bridgestone, the strange old lady who had come to see Promise. The reason for her interest becomes clear as she reveals that she believes Promise to be one of the legendary “Great Horses”. These horses are those who were prominent in history, making their own marks along with humans and gods. Meagan believes Mrs. Bridgestone and wonders about the warning she gives her to not ride Promise. She feels this could bring darkness according to a hundred year old letter and verse written by the beloved horseman Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce :

A hundred years hence on the westmost shore,
the Great Horse comes to men once more.

History lights the future’s course,
with paths we’ve taken with the Horse;

So born of loss and mother’s grief,
the Great Horse takes a mighty leap.

Eclipsed by shadow, the golden spark
Shall wing her rider into the dark.

Meagan’s mother Jennifer doesn’t believe the legend, even though almost every line seems to be referring to Promise. Jennifer won’t let Meagan see Mrs. Bridgestone after the visit because she thinks the old lady is crazy. I won’t go too much into detail as to what occurs next, but Promise and Meagan start on a journey where they visit other ‘Great Horses’ and make their own mark on the past of both humans and equines.

The author is obviously a horseman himself. He writes about horses, their care and behaviour with the authority of one who has lived with them. His writing is very clear and very engaging. I saw myself in Meagan as I was one of those kids who would spend 10 hours cleaning the barn before I’d spend 1 hour helping in the house. (I’m still that way I’m afraid.) She is an endearing and very likable guide on this horseback ride through time.

History, fantasy, myth, adventure and proper equine care all shine brightly in this first book in the trilogy. Royce weaves all of these elements together beautifully and young readers probably won’t even notice that they are learning about history and horse care while on this great ride back through time. I learned quite a bit myself and I grew up on a horse ranch with horses always in my life. This was a “can’t put down” book for me.

There is a very small bit of violence (as there always is when war is involved) but I HIGHLY recommend this book for anyone over about 10 or 11. Especially horselovers or adventurers. Young horsemen and horsewomen will see themselves as I did in the bond that is shared by Meagan and Promise and that which Jennifer had shared with Moose ~ Promise’s dam. (Dam is what the mare is called when she gives birth or foals.)

This is definitely a book that adults and kids can both read and discuss. There is a thorough glossary in the back that would be an extremely useful tool for all. On the learning side, I think this would be a fantastic series for riding instructors and first time horse owners as well. For the adventure and fantasy lovers, some other readers have compared this to an equine version of the “Harry Potter” series. It’s a fun and engrossing story that has just begun and none of us will want to end!

Update: The 2nd installment, The Golden Spark is available now. I CAN’T WAIT!!!! This is one of those series where I could read all three books in one long session if I had them – it’s that addictive. Go HERE to learn more about the author and the series.

graphic image of knight chesspiece

Eclipsed by Shadow is the first book of the award-winning fiction trilogy, The Legend of the Great Horse, a time-travel adventure through history—on horseback! The story follows the journey of a modern horsewoman lost in the distant past.

The title won the 2009 Eric Hoffer Award for best Young Adult Fiction, and the 2010 Mom’s Choice Award for best family-friendly Young Adult Fantasy.

Further information about this unique ‘creative non-fiction’ novel can be found at TheGreatHorse.com.

Eclipsed by Shadow: “… a mix between Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings and the Time Machine.”

ECLIPSED BY SHADOW is a fast, action-packed adventure from start to the heart pounding cliffhanger. The author did a marvelous job blending history and fantasy together in this first book of the trilogy. For fans of horse books and fantasy adventures. Once you finish reading the final page, you’ll be longing for the next installment.—Billy Burgess

The following is a review of Eclipsed by Shadow by Billy Burgess of the book blog, Ramblings of a Coffee-Addicted Writer:

Fast, action-packed adventure | Billy Burgess

I was very impressed by this book, reading it in only two nights. The author, John Royce, has beautifully written a wonderful epic that combines fantasy with history, a mix between Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings and The Time Machine. He uses his great knowledge of the history of horses to give us the first adventure of the Legend of the Great Horse. The dialogue and descriptions are cleverly written to entertain and educate both young adults and adults.

The main character is a teenager named Meagan, and she is a horse lover. Being an animal lover myself, I was instantly connected to her. You are hooked within the first few pages, as Meagan loses a loved one and gains a new friend, a palomino foal that she names Promise. But Promise isn’t like other horses, she is the Great Horse – a fallen angel from the time of Adam & Eve. Due to financial reasons, the Foal is sent to live on a pasture until she is old enough to be ridden.

During this time, Meagan meets the mysterious Mrs. Bridgestone. Mrs. Bridgestone tells Meagan about the legend of the great horse and that she believes Promise is the great horse. Mrs. Bridgestone wants the horse for her own. Three years passes by and Meagan rides Promise for the first time. Magical, long white wings stretch out of Promise, flying Meagan back in time where she meets cavemen, Romans, monks, knights and other life-threatening dangers.

Eclipsed By Shadow is a fast, action-packed adventure from start to the heart pounding cliffhanger. The author did a marvelous job blending history and fantasy together in this first book of the trilogy. Fans of horse books and fantasy adventures will enjoy reading this. Once you finish reading the final page, you’ll be longing for the next installment.

graphic image of knight chesspiece

Eclipsed by Shadow is the first book of the award-winning fiction trilogy, The Legend of the Great Horse, a time-travel adventure through history—on horseback! The story follows the journey of a modern horsewoman lost in the distant past.

The title won the 2009 Eric Hoffer Award for best Young Adult Fiction, and the 2010 Mom’s Choice Award for best family-friendly Young Adult Fantasy.

Further information about this unique ‘creative non-fiction’ novel can be found at TheGreatHorse.com.

Eclipsed by Shadow: “Excellent opening salvo in a new YA series”

This work is a crisply written taut tale that moves along nicely. I finished its 273 pages in one sitting. The main thrust of the book falls in two areas: horses and horsemanship; world history. I personally found the author’s expertise in horses and horsemanship to be the most compelling and interesting part of the book.—LibraryThing Early Reader

The following is a new review for Eclipsed by Shadow posted by a reader on LibraryThing:
 

5-Stars   LibraryThing | Reader Review

I checked this book out because I am expecting the second volume of this three volume series (The Legend of the Great Horse) as part of LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program. As a child, I was forced to read Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion series. I found those books readable, but generally a bit dull. So I come into reading this series predisposed to dislike it, but have been genuinely pleased to find the first volume of this work to be exciting, readable, and far from dull.

From the book’s description I expected a young girl’s lighthearted romp through history on the back of a winged horse. Accept that description at your peril. First, there is a lot of graphic violence (including references and threats to rape) so if you ARE looking for something lighter for your young ones (ages 11-16?) to read, this is not your book. The violence is not a criticism but a description for the potential reader to consider. Understand that if you’re going to write about the use of horses throughout history that much of it is in the service of warfare.

This work is a crisply written taut tale that moves along nicely. I finished its 273 pages in one sitting. The main thrust of the book falls in two areas: horses and horsemanship; world history. I personally found the author’s expertise in horses and horsemanship to be the most compelling and interesting part of the book.

Not formally being an historian, I’m loathe to criticize the historic aspects of this book, including accuracy and interpretation. I did find the settings interesting and compelling, but suspect that this is the area that will be most contentious amongst those who do have a deeper understanding of the specific time periods and the cultures in which the protagonist finds herself.

I found myself continually impressed with the quality of the writing. Rhetorically, this is a well written, well edited book. Whatever quibbles one might have with the slippery facts of history (or horsemanship), this is a finely tuned tale that leaves me anticipating the sequel with a positive predisposition.

» See original review online

 

graphic image of knight chesspiece

Eclipsed by Shadow is the first book of the award-winning fiction trilogy, The Legend of the Great Horse, a journey through history–on horseback!

The story follows the time-travel adventure of a modern horsewoman lost in the distant past. The title has won multiple national awards including the Eric Hoffer Award for best Young Adult Fiction, and the Mom’s Choice Award for best family-friendly Young Adult Fantasy.

Further information about this unique and imaginative ‘creative non-fiction’ novel can be found at TheGreatHorse.com.

Reader’s Review: “… this book would be fantastic for any horse lover—boy or girl.”

ECLIPSED BY SHADOW is such an interesting book! I learned so much about horses in history – it really was intriguing. I think that this book would be fantastic for any horse lover – boy or girl. There are so many different characters interwoven into the fabric of the story that it would appeal to a variety of young adults.—Vikki Gremel, Review the Book

The following is a review of ECLIPSED BY SHADOW by Vikki Gremel for Review the Book.

Review the Book | Vikki Gremel

Eclipsed by Shadow is such an interesting book! I learned so much about horses in history – it really was intriguing. I think that this book would be fantastic for any horse lover – boy or girl. There are so many different characters interwoven into the fabric of the story that it would appeal to a variety of young adults.

I enjoyed the “journey” very much. The opening chapters of the book provided a good background for the story, and I’m very anxious to read Book II. The end of the book leaves you hanging by a thread … wondering where the next adventure will take place.

Meagan, the heroine of the story, is a clever, levelheaded girl. She loves horses, and more importantly, KNOWS horses. Any future horsewoman can glean much from this book.

The importance of kindness both to people and to animals is prevalent throughout the story, and is not “preachy”, just appreciated.

I enjoyed this book! Well done, John Royce!

graphic image of knight chesspiece

Eclipsed by Shadow is the first book of the award-winning fiction trilogy, The Legend of the Great Horse, a time-travel adventure through history—on horseback! The story follows the journey of a modern horsewoman lost in the distant past.

The title won the 2009 Eric Hoffer Award for best Young Adult Fiction, and the 2010 Mom’s Choice Award for best family-friendly Young Adult Fantasy.

Further information about this unique ‘creative non-fiction’ novel can be found at TheGreatHorse.com.

Novel Addiction review: “Powerful and thrilling … not to be taken lightly”

FIVE out of FIVE … the history was accurately done, the journey is amazing, and Meagan rose to each occasion she was thrown into.— Amanda T, Novel Addiction

The following is a review of Eclipsed by Shadow by Amanda T of the book blog, Novel Addiction:

Novel Addiction | Amanda T (Morning Glow)

“Eclipsed By Shadow” is actually Book One in a trilogy, titled The Legend of the Great Horse. And holy cow, I can definitely see why this needs to be a trilogy. Quite a lot of interesting plot, way too much to be contained in one book.

Disclaimer: I received this book, and this book only, in exchange for a review. The book was posted on the Member Giveaways section, part of Librarything.com‘s Early Reviewers program.

Type: YA fiction, Time Travel, Fantasy/Magical

From the back of the book: “Eclipsed by Shadow is the first book of an exciting new trilogy, The Legend of the Great Horse, a journey through the ages when horses were everyday companions in work, war, sport and spectacle. The story is told through the eyes of a young woman, a horse-crazy teenager traveling through time with a knowledge of 21st Century horsemanship as her only defense.”

Well, wow, the back of the book really doesn’t do this series justice. It makes the whole story sound flippant and childish, even. But really, I found this book to be far more powerful than the blurb. Yes, we do follow a young girl, she’s 15 through most of the book), and yes, she does travel through time, but these aren’t easy things Meagan is dealing with. And despite the young age of the main character, I’m not sure I would give this book to a fifteen year old.. unless he or she was very mature. There are definitely some harsh moments in “Eclipsed by Shadow.” Not to give too much away, but death, rape, slavery, beatings, etc, are all issues Meagan has to see and live in fear of. All this lends to a very powerful and thrilling tale, definitely, but this book should definitely not be taken lightly.

As mentioned, Meagan does travel through time, in this book alone visiting several periods through History, and I’m sure even more in the sequels. As a bit of a History nerd, I was in love with the accurate details during each time period. A lot of research went into the writing of this trilogy, and I think the author should definitely be commended for it. The language was well done – Meagan didn’t just understand everyone she met. In fact, her first several stops on the way, no one spo[ke] English, and she had to find some way to get by without knowing the language. The settings seemed perfectly done, and even the people and their actions fit each time period perfectly.

You could also tell this book was written by a horse lover, knowledge of the breeds, rituals, and the connection one feels to horses is obvious throughout. I rode myself for several years (missing it almost every day), and I was amazed at the details that were mentioned. Even something as simple (or so most people would believe) as grooming is mentioned in perfect detail, with each type of brush and the order. It may seem a little information-heavy, but I think it helps to show how attached and connected Meagan feels to the great beasts.

I’ll be honest, when the “Legend of the Great Horse” was told to Meagan in the beginning, I thought it was a little cheesy. In fact, several of the beginning chapters weren’t really all that amazing. The prose and descriptions were well done, but it wasn’t horribly interesting… I actually thought I’d get aggravated with Meagan quickly. But once Meagan’s real journey began, I was positively enthralled. Meagan definitely showed her true colors, her spirit and her willingness to fight for herself and those she cared about.

I’m going to give “Eclipsed By Shadow” a FIVE out of FIVE. I truly think this book deserves such a good rating – the History was accurately done, even down the smallest detail, the journey is amazing, and Meagan really rose to each occasion she was thrown into. I do hope to find the rest of this series and continue reading them, and I hope everyone checks out “Eclipsed By Shadow” by John Royce.

» See original review online

graphic image of knight chesspiece

Eclipsed by Shadow is the first book of the award-winning fiction trilogy, The Legend of the Great Horse, a journey through history–on horseback!

The story follows the time-travel adventure of a modern horsewoman lost in the distant past. The title has won multiple national awards including the Eric Hoffer Award for best Young Adult Fiction, and the Mom’s Choice Award for best family-friendly Young Adult Fantasy.

Further information about this unique and imaginative ‘creative non-fiction’ novel can be found at TheGreatHorse.com.

Reader Views Literary Awards: Eclipsed by Shadow is “One of those works you will remember forever”

ECLIPSED BY SHADOW is a book well-worth reading. What a wonderful way to get factual history into a great readable fiction novel. I have passed it along to my twelve-year-old daughter and she loves it. Personally the Glossary of Terms at the end of the book was of great help as I originally knew very little about horses.— Danelle Drake, Reader Views Literary Awards

The following is the feature review of Eclipsed by Shadow by Danelle Drake for the title’s win in the Fantasy category of the 2009 Reader Views Literary Awards.

Reader View Literary Awards | Danelle Drake

“Auburn–haired and with a streak of tomboy, Meagan Roberts was not an unusual girl of twelve – except for the lucky fact that her family kept horses.” … John Royce introduces us to one of those works that you will remember forever.

In the past few years I have read several series that have really captivated me; this story is like these great series in the fact that it has the reader drawn in, but different in the fact that most all of the facts, times, and places in this book are not fiction. The places you visit in Eclipsed by Shadow were really times in our great history. “The Legend of the Great Horse” series will have you wishing the tales were never-ending.

When Meagan Roberts first laid eyes on Promise, she knew the horse was special. A little old lady from down the road tells Meagan that Promise is the “Great Horse.” She says that the powers Promise possesses are suppose to be dark but that no one will know until the owner of the horse rides it. Meagan and her mom don’t know if they should believe the old woman. When thieves try to steal the horse, we find out, and away we go. As Promise gains wings she enables us to gain understanding into the history of the horse.
We learn how the horse was used in many ways throughout history. All of the ways are not pleasant, but not all aspects of life are. As Meagan tries to help others understand her great love and respect of the horse we see inside her true soul.

Eclipsed by Shadow is a book well-worth reading. What a wonderful way to get factual history into a great readable fiction novel. I have passed it along to my twelve-year-old daughter and she loves it. Personally the Glossary of Terms at the end of the book was of great help as I originally knew very little about horses. When I came to the final sentence, “The sounds of the angry scene slipped into the wind of the gallop as the ground faded to a blur…” I knew that I would anxiously await the next installation of “The Legend of the Great Horse” by John Royce.

graphic image of knight chesspiece

Eclipsed by Shadow is the first book of the award-winning fiction trilogy, The Legend of the Great Horse, a journey through history–on horseback! The story follows the time-travel adventure of a modern horsewoman lost in the distant past.

Further information about this unique and imaginative ‘creative non-fiction’ novel can be found at TheGreatHorse.com.

Eclipsed by Shadow review: “With each turn of the page a new adventure awaits”

With ECLIPSED BY SHADOW, John Royce has created a wonderful legend sure to please historians and equestrians alike. Jammed packed with chariot racing, jousting and action galore one wonders how one book can hold so much. With each turn of the page a new adventure awaits.—Angela Simmons, Review the Book

The following is a new review of Eclipsed by Shadow by Angela Simmons for Review the Book:

Angela Simmons | Review the Book

Owning a horse was the only thing that teenager Meagan Roberts could think about. Owning a legendary great horse never crossed her mind.

In “Eclipsed by Shadow”, we see that Meagan’s horse, Promise, is just that. Unwilling to heed the advice of Mrs. Bridgestone, the keeper of the legend, that if this Great Horse is rode it would bring darkness, Meagan rides Promise.

Instantly she is transported to another place and time. 20,000 B.C. to be exact. She finds herself among a tribe that is hunting horses. From there chaos ensues as she is chased off a cliff with a herd of horses. Before falling to the bottom of the canyon, the Great Horse comes to her aid, and Meagan finds herself in the middle of a battle in the Black Sea. Running for shelter she finds herself in the middle of an ancient tomb.

Along the way Meagan makes friends and enemies while she collects knowledge. Also, she witnesses the cruelty of each place she comes to. Meagan wonders why her beloved Promise, who is so sweet and gentle, could bring her into so much darkness. After helping the Emperor’s chariot driver, Braedin, win the races, she realizes that unintentionally she has brought disgrace upon the Emperor. Once again she finds herself in a fight for her life.

The Great Horse now transports her to the year 1240 A.D. She finds herself among the Tartars and Genghis Khan as they raid and pillage each village they come to. Meagan escapes with her only friend, a pony she named Targa. Once again chaos follows…

With “Eclipsed be Shadow,” John Royce has created a wonderful legend sure to please historians and equestrians alike. Jammed packed with chariot racing, jousting and action galore one wonders how one book can hold so much. With each turn of the page a new adventure awaits.

» See original review online

graphic image of knight chesspiece

Eclipsed by Shadow is the first book of the award-winning fiction trilogy, The Legend of the Great Horse, a journey through history–on horseback! The story follows the time-travel adventure of a modern horsewoman lost in the distant past.

Further information about this unique and imaginative ‘creative non-fiction’ novel can be found at TheGreatHorse.com.

The Nashville News: “A delightful read for history buffs and horse fans alike”

This engaging book will especially appeal to young adult readers and educators. The story combines fast-paced adventure with accurate information about horsemanship and the various historical periods explored.—Mary Barrett, The Nashville News

March 2, 2009 | The following is a new review of Eclipsed by Shadow by Mary Barrett (“Let’s Read”) appearing in The Nashville News:

Mary Barrett | Let’s Read!

This book brings to life man’s fascinating partnership with the horse. Teenage and adult readers will thrill to this remarkable story featuring the horse’s role in history. Readers become part of the adventure as they travel back to the days when primitive man stalked horses as prey, and witness the development of horsemanship in ancient and medieval cultures. This engaging book will especially appeal to young adult readers and educators. The story combines fast-paced adventure with accurate information about horsemanship and the various historical periods explored.

This is a delightful read for history buffs and horse fans alike. The second book will be The Golden Spark. Eclipsed by Shadow won the Eric Hoffer Award for Young Adults and placed 2nd in the 2008 Reader Views Literary Awards for Fantasy.

Eclipsed by Shadow can be found at your local bookstore, by using the website TheGreatHorse.com or through online booksellers like Amazon.com.

graphic image of knight chesspiece

Eclipsed by Shadow is the first book of the award-winning fiction trilogy, The Legend of the Great Horse, a journey through history–on horseback! The story follows the time-travel adventure of a modern horsewoman lost in the distant past.

Further information about this unique and imaginative ‘creative non-fiction’ novel can be found at TheGreatHorse.com.

Eric Hoffer Award: “Thrilling and intelligent fantasy”

The following is the Eric Hoffer Award review of Eclipsed by Shadow that was featured in the 2009 edition of the US Review of Books.

[See featured review]

Eric Hoffer Awards | Emily Hinton

eric-hoffer-award-banner“Meagan heard shouting behind her as Promise reached for the safety of speed… Wind rose in Meagan’s ears, and time stretched into a series of still photographs as the young thoroughbred gathered and stretched. The ground blurred and together they lifted into the air.”

Eclipsed by Shadow, the first installment of Royce’s Legend of the Great Horse trilogy, transforms a majestic beast into a thrilling and intelligent fantasy. The story focuses on Meagan, a twelve-year-old girl, and her foal, Promise. As the two grow older, it becomes clear to Meagan that Promise is a horse of legendary potential, and when ridden, Promise takes Meagan on a journey through time. Meagan must use her knowledge of horsemanship to survive as she joins in periods of remote human history and sees the roles horses have played. The Great Horse is actually a Pegasus who drops her into ancient history to fend for herself. Perils await a young girl with no money, no family, and only her wits and knowledge of horses to help her survive as she battles to return to her own time.

Royce is targeting teens, but the story is accessible to a wider range of readers. The action and thrills of the story are subtly interspersed with colorfully drawn history lessons perfect for engaging readers, and the writing delivers such elegant turns of phrase as to keep teens and adults intrigued. Royce is even makes a quiet ploy for the mainstream teaching of Latin, but in a way that makes the language vibrant. As the summer gets underway, Royce has provided a great blend of academic and adventurous reading that is beach-ready.

graphic image of knight chesspiece

Eclipsed by Shadow is the first book of the award-winning fiction trilogy, The Legend of the Great Horse, a journey through history–on horseback! The story follows the time-travel adventure of a modern horsewoman lost in the distant past.

Further information about this unique and imaginative ‘creative non-fiction’ novel can be found at TheGreatHorse.com.