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” Early Reader Comments

I had a very hard time putting this book down once I started reading it … With its interesting plot, good character development, descriptive nature, and educational qualities, I would highly recommend this book to anyone.—Cayce V, Early Reader

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The equestrian site HorseGroomingSupplies.com opened its forums to offer their members an Advance Review Copy of Eclipsed by Shadow.

Comments came back from readers all around the United States and Canada.


The equestrian’s version of the Harry Potter series

I think I made record time in finishing the book… I couldn’t pull myself away, once Meagan got to Rome I was stuck in the book.

The character is someone most horse women will be able to identify with, whether they are the character’s age or long past I believe we all dreamed of equine adventures like hers, being able to be strong, yet compassionate.

What really surprised me was the equine and historical accuracy; the author must be a horseman since he managed to avoid a lot of the misconceptions that a lot of books/tv shows/movies fall for. I really can’t wait for the next book in the series and will be recommending it to others. To me this is the equestrian’s version of the Harry Potter series; I can’t wait for the next book to see what happens to our young equestrian dreamer.

Sabrina, California


Up front I want to say that I loved the book

For anyone that loves horses and love to read, it is an excellent well written story and I look forward to reading books II and III.

The descriptions of places, things, people and horses is great. There is not ‘too much’ or too little. I think there are many authors who try to go into too much description, and thus lose the reader to them instead of keeping on track with the story. That is not the case here, but there is enough description to paint a picture of everything, and the interactions and words spoken by the characters helps to paint that picture.

I love the different times. The author did a wonderful job of doing research into the eras mentioned to include daily life and the culture. The characters from each of these times contributes to the era through their actions and words and helps the reader to understand that era better.

The end of the book is a cliffhanger and I cannot wait to read the next book. It is a great way to lead readers into wanting to read the next book to find out what happens to Meagan. I look forward to reading Book II. Thank you for allowing me to be a Pioneer Reader, and if you have any specific answer you want as to my thoughts on the book, please write back!

Thank you,

Crystal, Camp Ramadi


The perfect reading experience

Eclipsed By Shadow is definitely one of the best horse books I have ever read. The research was impeccable, and told the truth, not just the romantic, nice parts about it. It was nice to finally find a book that wasn’t too fast or too slow. I often find myself rushed throughout a story, as if I can’t catch up, or bogged down with the details. This book was the perfect reading experience, that provided a strong image of exactly what was going on. I was never lost, or confused, nor did I have to go back and re-read parts that I didn’t understand.

I couldn’t put the book down from start to finish, and nearly died when I read that the next installments wouldn’t come out until later. Definitely a page turner, with a suspenseful ending that left me pining for the next one.

Thank you so much for this awesome experience!

Anika, Georgia


Take a chance; pick it up and read it – you won’t regret it!

I can honestly say that Eclipsed by Shadow is one of the most amazing books I have come across in my lifetime.

I am an avid reader of horse books, and always have been, but I can’t say that I have ever been terribly interested in history. For the author, John Royce, to combine history with horses was an absolutely brilliant idea and the outcome is incredible. Not only did I get to enjoy reading about horses but I also learned a whole lot about the history of our world and how things once were. The author seemed to capture the essence of the horses in the story, which I think is a big part of what makes it such a fantastic book.

I had a very hard time putting this book down once I started reading it and I am positive it will be the same with the next two! With its interesting plot, good character development, descriptive nature, and educational qualities, I would highly recommend this book to anyone. I don’t think I can put into words how much I enjoyed this book, so you will have to check it out yourself. Take a chance; pick it up and read it – you won’t regret it!”

Cayce V | BC, Canada
Miniature Horse Breeder


From start to finish I did NOT want to put it down

I have just finished with Eclipsed by Shadow and I have to say it has been one of the most well written horse stories I’ve read in a long, long time. From start to finish I did NOT want to put it down. I was riveted from the first page to the last, and I was very saddened that the next book will not be out until next fall.

I am very grateful that I was able to get an advanced review copy, and would do it again in a heartbeat. I have recommended this book to all my horsey friends.

The writing was incredible!

– Jessica P, North Carolina