Book I: The Knight Henryk

‘THE MUFFLED CRYING sound came again, from just over the hill. Meagan crept forward. A man was crouched at the base of the knoll, sobbing. He wore chain mail over coarse brown fabric. Next to him lay a shield and a long, tapered, brightly-painted wooden pole: a knight’s lance.’ —excerpted from Eclipsed by Shadow (Book #1 of ‘The Legend of the Great Horse’ trilogy (p. 201)

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 Central Europe in 1240 AD: While on the run with her Mongolian pony, Meagan meets a horseless knight …

Wherever man has left his footprint in the long ascent from barbarism, we will find the hoof print of the horse beside it.

—John Trotwood Moore (1852-1929)

Knight Henryk and his mount Chouchou

THE MUFFLED CRYING sound came again, from just over the hill. Meagan crept forward. A man was crouched at the base of the knoll, sobbing. He wore chain mail over coarse brown fabric. Next to him lay a shield and a long, tapered, brightly-painted wooden pole: a knight’s lance.

She cleared her throat delicately. “Excuse me, is something wrong?”

The man whirled and rose to his feet, and Meagan saw two things immediately. First, the man was not much more than a boy, and second, there was a sword strapped to his side. The young man brandished the metal blade, then on another thought grabbed his shield. He took a fierce stance, wiping his red eyes discreetly.

“I am sorry, I did not see you before,” Meagan said cautiously. “Are you lost?”

The young man sniffed. He was blonde-haired and his plain, wide features were raw from rubbing. “Cheval go,” he said miserably.

Zhivago? Meagan enunciated clearly: “Do you mean as in ‘Doctor,’ by any chance? It’s one of my mother’s favorite movies.”

“Nie, nie!” He pointed to the bridle Meagan carried. “Cheval!”

“Oh, this?” Meagan held up the simple headgear. “It is not a shovel … it’s a bri-dle. For my horse.”

“Tak, tak! Horse!” The young man launched into an excited string of what sounded like gibberish.

Meagan held up her hand. “I am sorry, I do not understand. Do you speak English?”

“Small!” The young man nodded eagerly. “English mother once.”

“English. Mother. Once,” she repeated.

The young man pointed off into the distance. “Horse go. Mens.”

She straightened. “What do you mean, horse go? My horse or your horse?”

He pointed at himself sadly, saying, “Horse go.” Then he pointed at Meagan. “Horse go.” He made an angry face and pantomimed kicking, as if imitating a certain ill-tempered pony.

This person had no idea what he was saying. Meagan put her hands to her mouth and whistled the call that always brought Targa trotting. The pony did not come. Again she tried … the call sounded shrill and futile.

After a moment silent except for sounds of birds in the trees, the young man shyly cleared his throat. He pointed to himself apologetically. “Henryk.”

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.

__________

Links:

» See All Excerpts from The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy.

» Read the 1st Chapter online.

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

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gend of the Great Horse trilogy books (2015)

Book I: The horse with a demon’s name

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 meets the Emperor’s infamous chariot horse, Cerberus …

“Now that no one buys our votes, the public has cast off its cares; the people that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions, and all else, now meddles no more and longs eagerly for just two things
—bread and circuses.”

—Juvenal (c. 60-140) Roman satirist

THE CHARIOT DRIVER stood and offered his hand. “Would you like to see Cerberus? I will give you the honor.” His handsome smile was warmth in the cold air. “My name is Braedin.”

The Emperor's chariot team (100 AD) ... from Eclipsed by Shadow, Book #1 of THE LEGEND OF THE GREAT HORSE trilogy: (c) Micron Press. Illustration by Marti Adrian.She took his hand casually, but the heat of his grasp went through her. “Braedin! I like that. My name is Meagan. They rhyme, sort of … Meagan, Braedin.” She bit her tongue to stop talking.

Together they walked out of the compound, past the curved hindquarters of the marble horses protecting the gates. Beyond them, the outline of buildings topped the surrounding hills, a moonlit cityscape framed by stone. Hard-packed road passed between a circle of pens and an adjoining work-shop. Inside could be seen a shadowy row of neatly stowed chariots.

They passed the workshop area and approached the paddocks. Out of the darkness a stallion’s scream pierced the night air. A horse charged the fence. The driver smiled as dirt flew around him and announced, “The warrior Cerberus!”

Meagan watched in disapproval. “Horses do not have to be like this, Braedin. You would be amazed what some carrots and a nice bridle can do.”

The driver watched the angry stallion with admiration. Hooves smacked against the wood fence in front of him. “The greatest son of Pegasus, the Thundering Horse of Jove! If I had three more like Cerberus our team would win without challenge!”

“Actually Braedin, I think you would have four dead horses.”

“You are wrong. Were the others as strong as mighty Cerberus, he would pull with them. Cerberus is a warrior. He only hates weakness.”

Common horse sense told Meagan that the stallion only hated rivals, but she decided against pressing the point. Instead she watched a small shadow dance toward them in the moonlight, approaching with a comical jig. A goat came up to the fence and shoved his wiry neck through the timber poles, hoping for a handout. It is not uncommon for a horse to bond with a smaller animal, and a transformation came over the stallion as he sniffed his tiny companion. Meagan reached to pet the goat and Cerberus laid back his ears. She stepped back. “So, they do not fight because this is a strong warrior goat? I mean, the horse does not hate everything. You can see he has a nice side.”

“We are not interested in the stallion’s nice side,” the driver said sharply. “Cerberus is not the Emperor’s favorite stallion for his nice side.”

This is the Emperor’s favorite?”

“Yes. From the day Cerberus savaged Titus’ Blues and scattered them across the track. A glorious day.”

Meagan made herself stay silent.

“It was the same month the horse became a centenarius!” The charioteer’s voice was a boast. “Emperor Trajan gave orders that Cerberus would always run in his team. Trajan was a general of the legions, and Cerberus is to represent the military strength that now rules Rome!” The boast died. “Of course, that was many months ago. And many horses.”

“I am sorry, what is a ‘centenarius?’”

“A horse that has won a hundred races. I drove Cerberus to half of those victories before he became too fierce.” His voice grew boastful again. “One of my fans is a poet named Martial. He gave me an epitaph for when I am killed.” The driver stood straighter and recited: “Here lies Braedin, the glory of the roaring Circus, the object of Rome’s cheers and her short-lived darling. The Fates, counting not years but victories, judged me an old man.”

Meagan listened appreciatively. “That is very nice, Braedin, for when you are killed.” She watched the goat grazing quietly by the stallion. At least the horse was not insane, she realized, ending doubts. “I think Cerberus wants friends. Horses do, you know.”

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.

__________

Links:

» See All Excerpts from The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy.

» Read the 1st Chapter online.

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

» Order Books

gend of the Great Horse trilogy books (2015)

Book I: “Rome wasn’t Read in a Day”

Jennifer wished the answer could be different. “Meagan, there are no such things as Great Horses. I like that you are taking an interest in history, but you can’t believe in fantasies.” – Eclipsed by Shadow (excerpt)

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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 modern day America: young Meagan is convinced the legend is true, but no one believes … including her mother…

I think that if I become a horseman,
I shall be a man on wings.

– Xenophon (c. 400 BC)

Jennifer wished the answer could be different. “Meagan, there are no such things as Great Horses. I like that you are taking an interest in history, but you can’t believe in fantasies.”

“Mrs. Bridgestone said only true owners will believe the legend,” Meagan replied stubbornly. “You are just proving it.”

“I’m sorry, Meagan.” Jennifer glanced down at picture of chariot race with teams of galloping horses. “Horses can make people act very strangely. Now, will you promise me? No talking with Mrs. Bridgestone.”

Meagan shrugged. “Maybe we should bring Promise back home, just in case.”

“Meagan?”

“I said okay.”

Jennifer went to the doorway. “Tell the books goodnight, Meagan. Rome wasn’t read in a day.” Jennifer closed the door behind her and returned downstairs. She sat beside her husband on the couch. “I’m worried about Meagan, Tom.”

“Of course you are, Jen. It’s how we know you’re her mother.”

Jennifer shrugged. “She spends all her time reading history books. It’s that silly legend. Meagan is absolutely convinced.”

“Yes, she told me. It sounds like this Bridgestone woman is a bit … should I say it?”

“There is nothing wrong with being a little eccentric, Tom.”

“That wasn’t the word I was going to use.”

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.

__________

Links:

» See All Excerpts from The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy.

» Read the 1st Chapter online.

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

» Order Books

Check out the trilogy’s page on Facebook!

 

The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy books (2015)