INTO THE DARK: “A wonderful story for families to share”

Into the Dark, Book #3 of the Legend of the Great Horse trilogy, won best Classic title in the Reader Views Literary Awards — the following is the award review:

“A wonderful story for families to share”

2016 Reader Views Award
“Into the Dark” concludes the Legend of the Great Horse trilogy by John Royce. Time traveler Meagan finds herself waking up in Texas in 1861, where she meets Dan Beardon, owner of the Great Horse Red, and her future soul mate. As Meagan travels through some rough times with Dan she finds herself appreciating him more and more, and is devastated when she is pulled into her next adventure, which is in New York, in 1919. Then she is briefly off to war-torn Poland in 1939. Still seeking a way home, Meagan ends up in the dreary future, finding herself desperate to either go home or be back with Dan. It is in the future that she gains the most knowledge about the past. She also discovers that her special Great Horse’s gift was for time travel. Other Great Horses have different gifts, such as healing.

There is no easy way to have a “happy ending” for a character who was placed on a journey such as this. Meagan learns a lot as she travels through time and experiences each of the Great Horses, as led to her by her special horse, Promise. Meagan’s experiences mature her beyond her years, so that even when she is able to return home, she no longer feels like she belongs. She must decide in her heart where she really wants to be, and figure out how to get there. Her journey is truly incredible.

“Into the Dark” allowed me to jump right into the third book of an incredible trilogy. Having grown up with an affinity towards horses, I found myself relating to the main character; I also gained a greater appreciation for these incredible animals, and the roles that they have played in helping mankind evolve.

I noticed that some websites promoting this book categorize it as being for children from 8-12 years with a 3rd to 7th grade reading level. I have to note that I completely disagree with this categorization. While there is no reason a child should not read this book, I felt that the reading level was much higher and as an adult, I did not feel at all like I was reading a children’s book. I would have loved to have read a novel like this when I was in the age range listed, however, I do not believe that an average reader in that category will find it to be easy reading. No matter what, everyone who reads this trilogy will find themselves truly captivated by the story.

I highly recommend “Into the Dark” by John Royce. I think it is a wonderful story for families to share. Paige Lovitt for Reader Views

» Reader Views Literary Awards – Review of INTO THE DARK

 Into the dark cover image

The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy is a well-researched adventure through history–on horseback. The story is told through the eyes of a modern young horsewoman lost in time.

Into the Dark (Book #3) won best Classic in the Reader Views Literary Awards (2015/2016).

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INTO THE DARK featured in Midwest Book Reviews Bookwatch

I’m catching up with the final two books and looking for new reviews to help guide readers … here is an older review.

Into the Dark was featured in the venerable Midwest Book Reviews in the June 2013 “Children’s Bookwatch”. It is a wonderful honor!

Unfortunately horse-themed literature is all labeled juvenile by the consolidated corporate publishing industry … also unfortunately, independent publishing is still basically an echo and not its own sound.

Cover of INTO THE DARK: The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy (Book 3)

MBR Children’s Bookwatch, The Fiction Shelf:

INTO THE DARK

The third and final novel of the award-winning Great Horse trilogy, Into the Dark is the culmination of a teenager’s mysterious voyage through time and history, in which she witnesses firsthand how horses have been a “silent partner” in human civilization.

Earlier books [ed: this one!] explored the horse’s critical role in the American West; “Into the Dark” continues the human-equine journey to the 20th century and beyond. Horse lovers of all ages will enjoy this thoughtful, character-driven adventure!

Also highly recommended are the previous novels in the series, “Book I: Eclipsed by Shadow” and “Book II: The Golden Spark”.

» See featured review

» See original Bookwatch review

Legend of the Great Horse trilogy books (2015)

Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer: Into the Dark “a display of equine fireworks”

New review by Into the Dark, Book #3 of The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy, by Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer E.A. Lovitt:

E. A. Lovitt | Amazon Hall of Fame Reviewer 5-Star Review

“WORTH THE WAIT”

Book III of The Legend of the Great Horse concludes John Royce’s sweeping historical fantasy about horses and horsemanship with a display of equine fireworks that made it well worth the wait. The ending was satisfying on both a philosophical and emotional level. The author’s heroine, Meagan Roberts grows into a believable young woman, much of that growth (as with most of us) rooted in pain and sorrow. I was sorry to say good-bye to her and all of the Great Horses that accompanied her on her wild journey through time.

Much of Into the Dark takes place in Texas and Kentucky just as America’s brutal Civil War is heating up. When Royce takes time with his characters, as he did in this section, they are infused with life. When Meagan has to choose between her Great Horse and her new-found love, the reader will understand and share in that agonizing decision.

I was especially fond of the two 20th Century vignettes about horses that I already knew and loved: Man O’War and the British pony, Stroller who earned (along with his rider) a silver medal in the 1968 Olympics. The section on Man O’War reminded me very much of Walter Farley’s book about this great Thoroughbred, who was portrayed by both authors as a fiery, almost mythological beast that burned his way down the race track and into our dreams. On the other hand, the section on Stroller’s competition in the 1968 team jumping event almost broke my heart. The author draws on his own deep knowledge of equestrian sport and of the equine heart to give his readers an understanding of just what Stroller accomplished. It reminded me of the race caller’s description of the great Zenyatta as she finished first in the Breeders’ Cup Classic: “This is one we’ll never forget!”

Good-bye, Meagan. This is one we’ll never forget.

» See review on Amazon

graphic image of knight chesspieceInto the Dark is the 3rd book of The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy, an award winning time-travel adventure through history—on horseback! The story follows the journey of a modern horsewoman lost in the distant past.

The trilogy books have won multiple national awards including 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.

Book Review: Into the Dark “My favorite of the series…”

“This book was definitely my favorite of the series. The storylines seemed to flow together more easily, and Meagan seemed to mature and learn from and make connections from her experiences…”—LibraryThing Early Review

LibraryThing Early Reviewers - logo

The following is the first review of Into the Dark, Book #3 of The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy:

LibraryThing | Reviewer “wnk1029”

This YA historical fiction time travel book continues the story of Meagan, a horse-loving teen who finds herself transported through time by her horse, Promise. Her previous adventures included riding with Mongols, Cortez, and French royalty, among others. In this final book of the trilogy, she finds herself on western cattle drive in 1861, at a New York horse race during Prohibition, a Polish cavalry charge during World War II, the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, and then the year 2078 — a future where horses are nearly extinct.

This book was definitely my favorite of the series. The storylines seemed to flow together more easily, and Meagan seemed to mature and learn from and make connections from her experiences. She became more in control of her own destiny, rather than the previous novels, where it seemed as if she were just going along with everything else, biding her time until she got back home. The author also included a romantic interest, which helped develop Meagan’s character — showing a new side of her, expanding her emotional range, and tying her to the past.

Although the main character is Meagan, the story definitely revolves around the horses. Even with my incredibly minimal knowledge of horses, the book was fairly easy to read, particularly with the handy glossary in the back. Even though I wouldn’t consider myself a horse-lover, the author really makes the reader connect with the horses, making each of them essential characters in Meagan’s life.

The critiques I have of this book are very few. I do wish that more time were able to be spent in the time periods following the Civil War. The first half of the book all takes place in the same era, and while I loved that part of the story, I couldn’t help but feel that the following jumps through time were a bit too rushed — I wanted to know more! Also, although I loved how the story ended, the time travel fan in me had some reservations about the epilogue… [though I have been assured by the author that the inconsistencies in the ARC will be corrected in the final copy!]

Overall, I really ate up this adventure story, and didn’t want to put it down. I thought that this really was a great series, even despite the fact that I don’t tend to like reading about horses. I’d highly recommend it to horse fans, history buffs, and those looking to learn something new!

Also, my thanks to the publisher for the advanced review copy!

» See original review on LibraryThing

Knight chesspieceInto the Dark is the 3rd book of The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy, an award winning time-travel adventure through history—on horseback! The story follows the journey of a modern horsewoman lost in the distant past.

The trilogy books have won multiple national awards, including the 2012 Written Arts Award for Book II:The Golden Spark in Science Fiction/Fantasy. Book I of the trilogy, Eclipsed by Shadow, 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.