Ramblings of a Coffee-Addicted Writer: The Golden Spark is a “Great Epic!”

The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy is unlike any other horse series written for young adults. Just like book one, the author has gone to great lengths to add historical accuracies to this fantasy tale. Young readers will find the time traveling horse to be interesting, but there is so much more to young Meagan’s quest.—Billy Burgess, Ramblings of a Coffee-Addicted Writer

The following is a new review of The Golden Spark by Billy Burgess of the book blog, Ramblings of a Coffee-Addicted Writer:

Ramblings of a Coffee-Addicted Writer | Billy Burgess

Picking up where book one left off, we find Meagan and her magical horse, Promise, barely escaping being executed for witchcraft in 1616 Western Europe.

Promise takes her back in time, this time landing on a ship, but not just any ship. They land on the Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes’s ship in the year 1519 where Meagan becomes in charge of taking care of the captain’s horse. Then, Promise takes her to the court of Louis XIV of France, the Sun King, where she poses as a stable-hand. Last, the Great Horse takes Meagan to Regency, England in 1816.

The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy is unlike any other horse series written for young adults. Just like book one, the author has gone to great lengths to add historical accuracies to this fantasy tale. Young readers will find the time traveling horse to be interesting, but there is so much more to young Meagan’s quest. You will learn about the hardships that horses went through in each period that Meagan visits. In addition, you will learn fun fact about historical figures like Louis XIV and Hernan Cortes.

There are some scenes of violence in The Golden Spark especially during the Spaniards’ battle with the Aztecs, that some horse lovers may not care for, but as I said, the author is going for historical accuracies.

I would have to say my favorite part of the book was the amazing descriptions of the foxhunt during Meagan’s visit to England. Both fantasy and history readers will enjoy reading about The Great Horse. I recommend it to everyone.

» See original review online

graphic image of knight chesspieceThe Golden Spark is the 2nd 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 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.

‘The Golden Spark’ featured in Midwest Book Review Bookwatch

Trapped in time, all she has is her will and her equine knowledge to try to guide her home … With a good focus on history and horses, THE GOLDEN SPARK is a fun and enjoyable read, highly recommended.”—Midwest Book Review ~ Children’s Bookwatch

The Golden Spark bookcover;The Golden Spark" bookcover (2011)
The Golden Spark, Book #2 of The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy, is being featured in the current Midwest Book Review – Children’s Bookwatch selection. The selected titles are chosen from an average 1,500 books submitted each month.

Midwest Book Review | Children’s Bookwatch

Trapped in time, all she has is her will and her equine knowledge to try to guide her home.

Book II: The Golden Spark is the second book in John Royce’s series (The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy) following a young teenage girl who is lost in the Renaissance and trying to put it all together to find her way home.

With a good focus on history and horses, The Golden Spark is a fun and enjoyable read, highly recommended.

* Recommended for Ages 14 & Up

» See original review online

graphic image of knight chesspieceThe Golden Spark is the 2nd 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.

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.

5-Stars for “The Golden Spark”

Let me state at the outset that this is a rip-snorting tale and an overall fun read. The author is very proficient in his craft and there is little to quibble about the structure, pace, language, and overall writing of this book. I continue to be impressed with the quality of the writing and rhetoric.—Kilgore Gagarin, Amazon Vine Voice

Amazon Vine Voice reviewer Kilgore Gagarin gives 5 stars to The Golden Spark, Book #2 of The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy:

Amazon Vine Voice | Kilgore Gagarin

Second salvo in an excellent Young Adult series for horse afficionados

Let me state at the outset that this is a rip-snorting tale and an overall fun read. The author is very proficient in his craft and there is little to quibble about the structure, pace, language, and overall writing of this book. I continue to be impressed with the quality of the writing and rhetoric. I leave arguments over historical accuracy and the details of horsemanship to others.

The second in a planned three book series (The Legend of the Great Horse) continues to follow 16 year old Meagan Roberts through time as she is transported by the magic of the Great Horse. When last we saw our intrepid equestrienne, she, and her horse, were about to be executed for witchcraft in 1616 Western Europe. Escaping through time, Meagan finds herself transported to a ship captained by Spanish Conquistador, Hernan Cortes, in the year 1519. This section is reminiscent of some of the most violent parts of the first volume of the series (which is not a bad thing, but readers must understand that this is not a girl’s bucolic romp through time on the back of her winged horse). The use and impact of horses in the Spaniards’ battle (and slaughter) of the Aztecs gets this volume off to a stirring start. The author describes the scenes with neither condemnation nor approval. The conquest of the Aztecs is an historical fact, and Meagan, like us, is primarily an observer of the process.

The next two sections of the book find Meagan in France in 1666, then in England in 1816. In both cases, we see a less violent, more pedestrian look at the role of horses in the advancement of civilization. More time is spent on the societies of the time, primarily the integration of the horse in everyday life. Though less exciting than the opening section, the author continues to impress with fascinating details about horses and horsemanship. Being thoroughly ignorant in those areas, I found this to be continually interesting, to my surprise. As a child, I found Farley’s Black Stallion series to be thoroughly dull. Royce brings a detail, and supplies historic context, in a way that should be interesting to any reader. When next I have the chance to observe dressage I will bring with me a touch more understanding of the art, thanks to the author of this book.

Being the second volume in a series, I think this book can easily be read without having read the opening work (still recommended to do so). The historic segments easily stand alone as discrete stories of their time and place. Overall, this work contains a lot less violence than the first work, and is thus less problematically recommended for younger readers. The stirring fox hunt near the end of this installment probably won’t sit well with absolutist animal lovers, but the classic rendering of the rendering of the fox at the end of the hunt does not take place. Rather, the joy of riding raucously through the English countryside is the main focus.

I’m greatly looking forward to the eventual conclusion of this series, and expect that the trilogy will become at least a minor classic, if not a more respected work over time.

Tally ho!

Note: The book reviewer received a free review copy of “The Golden Spark” via LibraryThing’s “Early Reviewer” program. This review has been posted on that site as well.

» See original review online

graphic image of knight chesspieceThe Golden Spark is the 2nd 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.