“The devils ride a tainted bayard!”

Panic began pooling in Meagan’s chest. If these people were not going to surrender, she had to escape. A thought came to her … if she could only get close enough to Targa. “I don’t know about the Tatar men,” she answered innocently. “But their horses have a weak spot. I could show you. Take me to any horse with a bridle on it, say … oh, the pony I was riding would be perfect. For a demonstration, I mean.” —excerpted from Eclipsed by Shadow (Book #1 of ‘The Legend of the Great Horse’ trilogy (p. 201)

The following is an excerpt from “Eclipsed by Shadow”: Meagan and her Mongolian warpony Targa are captive in a medieval town (1240 AD in modern-day Russia) she was trying to warn of impending attack by the army of Genghis Khan (called ‘Tatars’ by Europeans).
Moko Shurai (Mongol Attack)
*The odd language is Old English: ‘ferly’ means ‘strange’ and ‘Bayard’ is medieval slang for horse … Bayard was a bay horse in medieval French poetry who could magically adjust its size to carry multiple riders.

Panic began pooling in Meagan’s chest. If these people were not going to surrender, she had to escape. A thought came to her … if she could only get close enough to Targa. “I don’t know about the Tatar men,” she answered innocently. “But their horses have a weak spot. I could show you. Take me to any horse with a bridle on it, say … oh, the pony I was riding would be perfect. For a demonstration, I mean.”

“So, the devils ride a tainted bayard! Oh, ho! ‘Tis ferly never to have heard so.” The man reached for his goblet. “Tell on.”

Meagan breathed easier, pleased with herself. She would only need a head start. “It is a place on their horses’ neck. If an arrow hits it, the horse—I mean bayard—dies instantly. I can show you. It would be better to do it outside the city, really. We will need some room.”

“Nay, the courtyard below will serve. And we shall use your own Tatar bayard.” Juices ran into the man’s beard as he chewed his food. “My archers will aim where you show us and we shall see how it dies.”

Meagan choked on her drink.

“How is this? I think you be glad to see the foul animal die!” The man leaned closer. “If you be a Tatar prisoner, as so you say.”

“Well, of course I am,” she sputtered, red-faced. “I … I was just disappointed the animal is still alive. The sooner she is eaten by crows, the sooner I can forget everything.” She smiled weakly.

“Better this,” the man grunted, and motioned to a guard. “Find the alien’s bayard. To-luggid hither to the courtyard.”

A horn sounded from below. It was taken up in quadrants all around the city, until the rooftop platform was surrounded by a chorus of trumpeting. The Englishman rushed to the railing and began shouting orders.

Meagan followed the confusion to the platform’s edge. Knights were pouring out of the city gates below; already the fields were filled with their color. In the distance, on the edge of the horizon, a black flood could be seen flowing through the trees.

“They take not our answer.” The Englishman gazed in satisfaction. “They shall see our manner of surrender.”

Eclipsed by Shadow (Book #1 of the trilogy) won 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.

« “The War Horses” || “Knights need horse!” »
The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy is an adventure through history … each section is about a different time period. The above excerpt is from “Home,” the 1st section of Eclipsed by Shadow, set in modern-day California.

Eclipsed by Shadow (Book #1 of the trilogy) won 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.

__________

» See the Media Kit for more information about the trilogy.

Check out the trilogy’s page on Facebook!

The War Horses

The War HorsesHorn answered horn throughout the camps. A rippling change went through the horse nation. The few not yet mounted swung aboard. Meagan’s group moved out. The camp leaders rode ahead, each holding a blazing torch. – Eclipsed by Shadow (excerpt)

Hast thou given the horse strength?
Hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?
Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper?
The glory of his nostrils is terrible.
He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength.
He goeth on to meet the armed men.
He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted;
neither turneth he back from the sword.
The quiver rattleth against him,
the glittering spear and the shield.
He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage…

– Holy Bible, Job 39:19-24
MEAGAN SENSED The War HorsesEXCITEMENT in the camp. An undercurrent ran through the people and the horses pranced nervously. Throwing her saddle pad over Targa, she saw something had been added: an odd-looking pole now hung from a loop of leather on her saddle. Then she saw the sharp point and realized she had been given a spear.

Leaders rode through the lines of horses, each with a string of knives hanging from one arm. Meagan took one and examined it, confused. The others were sliding theirs into belt pouches. It seemed a dangerous place to carry a knife, but she did the same.

Horn answered horn throughout the camps. A rippling change went through the horse nation. The few not yet mounted swung aboard. Meagan’s group moved out. The camp leaders rode ahead, each holding a blazing torch.

The pitch of the horns was changing, signaling back and forth down the black mass of horsemen covering the plain. The tight lines of the nomads were dissolving into chaos, melting and running in streaks. Horses were breaking from easy canters into full gallops. When the call reached Meagan’s group, Targa sprang forward, her legs stretching in exhilaration of the run…

Eclipsed by Shadow (Book #1 of the trilogy) won 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.

The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy is an adventure through history … each section is about a different time period. The above excerpt is from “Home,” the 1st section of Eclipsed by Shadow, set in modern-day California.

Eclipsed by Shadow (Book #1 of the trilogy) won 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.

__________

» See the Media Kit for more information about the trilogy.

Check out the trilogy’s page on Facebook!

A Poet Gladiator

Horace rubbed his face and looked at the morning sky. His profile was clean and unblemished. With quiet conviction he recited, “And yet more bright shines out the Julian star, as moon outglows each lesser light…” – Eclipsed by Shadow (excerpt)

“The driver listens to no one. Fame has deafened his ears.” Horace stepped into the early morning sun. His marred face was ugly in the naked light and Meagan fought her urge to step back. He led her a short distance away from the gates and lowered his voice. “If you are planning to escape you will have no interference from me.”

“I am not, Horace, I promise. I just want to help the horses.” She saw his quizzical look and corrected herself. “Help the Emperor, I mean.”

“Good. Helping the Emperor cannot be wrong. It can even bring you freedom.” Puffed from sleep, the man’s pale gaze was unnerving. “You are different than other women, Meagan. I want to ask…” His voice became carefully impassive. “What will you do if you receive freedom? Will you go home?”

“I don’t know.” Quick tears formed which she wiped away. “Sometimes I don’t think so.”

Horace rubbed his face and looked at the morning sky. His profile was clean and unblemished. With quiet conviction he recited, “And yet more bright shines out the Julian star, as moon outglows each lesser light…”

“That is nice, Horace. What is a Julian star?”

“The moon at its fullest. Or, one who outshines.”

“Where did you learn it?”

“My mother. She believed in education.”

“My parents did, too.” She hurried to change the subject from home. “How old are you, if you don’t mind?”

“An old man. I have twenty years.”

“That isn’t old, Horace. You be anything.”

“And I would be, now. ‘A good scare is worth more than good advice.’

She nodded. “I understand that. I really do.”

“That quote was the real Horace,” he said softly. “Quintus Horatius Flaccus, the favorite poet of Emperor Augustus. I was named after him. Rome wants another Horace, my mother used to say.”

“Your mother sounds very sweet. I think it’s nice to be named after a poet.”

“Thank you. I didn’t used to be so courteous about it. ‘Adversity draws out talent,’ my mother said to me, over and over. I found my own favorite lines. ‘Seize the day!’ I told her when I left for the legions. Wasn’t I a bright boy?” He gave a dry laugh. “Father approved of the legions. Men of honor find their reward, father said. Homer was his man.” He lifted his face again to the sky. “‘A vase is begun—why, as the wheel goes round, does it turn out a pitcher?’

Eclipsed by Shadow (Book #1 of the trilogy) won 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.

« “The Arena” || “War Horses” »
The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy is an adventure through history … each section is about a different time period. The above excerpt is from “Home,” the 1st section of Eclipsed by Shadow, set in modern-day California.

Eclipsed by Shadow (Book #1 of the trilogy) won 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.

__________

» See the Media Kit for more information about the trilogy.

Check out the trilogy’s page on Facebook!

The Arena

There was everywhere and nowhere to run. People scattered before the galloping horses and their bristling chariots of bronze. Meagan leapt out of the path of an oncoming team. Hooves pounded across her footprints. – Eclipsed by Shadow (excerpt)

ECLIPSED BY SHADOW | 'The Legend of the Great Horse' trilogy book cover (90x135px)

This excerpt is from Eclipsed by Shadow, Book #1 of The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy, an adventure through history―on horseback.

The scene is set in ancient Rome (100 AD): Meagan is trapped with prisoners in the Coliseum…

The peculiar vices of this city, it seems to me, are conceived almost in the mother’s womb … a passion for gladiators and horses.

—Cornelius Tacitus (c. 55 – 120) Roman historian

THE WOODEN DOORS groaned back together behind them. Points of spears filled the narrowing gap as it closed.

Parthenon Horse

New gates opened, tall iron-banded doors that swept outward. The cheering was too loud for any other sound to be heard, but Meagan felt a familiar rumbling. Her stomach chilled to icy jelly as horses thundered from the gates in teamed pairs.

The dazed woman looked up to the sky, thin arms outstretched. Meagan saw a chariot bearing down on her, and she screamed into the crowd’s roar as the woman went under hooves and iron-sheathed wheels.

There was everywhere and nowhere to run. People scattered before the galloping horses and their bristling chariots of bronze. Meagan leapt out of the path of an oncoming team. Hooves pounded across her footprints.

Others tried to climb the smooth mortar walls, but spectators beat them back. A chariot rode along the inside wall, sparks and masonry flying where its spiked wheel made contact. One man climbed high enough to clutch the arm of a spectator—the crowd tossed both over the wall. A woman from the stands threw herself onto the netting, writhing in the passion of bloodlust.

Meagan saw a chariot fishtail, throwing plumes of sand as it straightened towards her. She turned and ran blindly, hearing the thundering gallop grow distinct from the crowd’s noise as the chariot gained.

Eclipsed by Shadow (Book #1 of the trilogy) won 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.

The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy is an adventure through history … each section is about a different time period. The above excerpt is from “Home,” the 1st section of Eclipsed by Shadow, set in modern-day California.

Eclipsed by Shadow (Book #1 of the trilogy) won 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.

__________

» See the Media Kit for more information about the trilogy.

Check out the trilogy’s page on Facebook!