The Golden Spark : review by Don Sloan

The following review of The Golden Spark was given by reviewer Don Sloan, a retired journalist turned full-time Indie book reviewer who posted on the site justfreeandbargainbooks. (not a paid review!)

The review is written in narrative “genre-based” format, which offers a unique summary of the story while engaging the reader. Book review space has been lost from most newspapers, but promising new work by reviewers are a part of independent publishing’s innovation in how readers can find their best books:


quotation markI won’t spoil the ending by revealing whether or not Meagan gets any closer to her true home in the present day, but suffice to say, there’s still plenty of adventure for her before the end of The Golden Spark.

These stories are so well-written, and expertly edited, they are a pleasure to read. Obviously, the author is himself an experienced horseman, and that intricate knowledge of horses, their habits, and the great love he has for them shines through on every page.

Five stars for The Golden Spark, and eager anticipation for the third book in the Great Horse Trilogy.— Don Sloan, justfreeandbargainbooks

The Golden Spark honored by Underground Book Reviews as “Pitch Perfect Pick”

The Golden Spark has been selected as a “Pitch Perfect Pick” by Underground Book Reviews!

This is a special independent honor for The Golden Spark“Underground Book Reviews is an online magazine that puts a spotlight on the emerging world of independent, e-publishing and self-publishing.” Here is the notice I received:

gh2_261x377_3e-r-FINThe Golden Spark was selected as a Pitch Perfect Pick Finalist!

Our judges analyzed your book’s pitch, sample content, and several other factors and found it’s initial presentation comparable to other quality books in its genre and market. Once qualified, it had to finish in the top five of all our weekly qualifiers. This is an honor not given lightly.

Next week I’ll share their official Facebook post for voting!

“Throw your heart over!”

The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy is an adventure through history. The Golden Spark (Book #2) won the 2011 Written Arts Awards for best Science Fiction/Fantasy.

The year is 1816 and Meagan has found an obstacle she can’t jump…

But I freely admit that the best of my fun I owe it to horse and hound.

—George John Whyte-Melville (1821-78)
Jumping the Gate (c. 1745) by James Seymour - Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

“Danvers, look!” Meagan shouted. A field of horsemen streamed from behind a distant rise on the horizon.

“Thundering heavens, there they are! Going by the mill where they’ll lose the fox for sure. We’ll cut short. There’s a lane here somewhere that leads to town and goes right by the mill…” Danvers stood high in the stirrups, surveying. They tramped across tall weeds, letting the horses pick a path through. “There it is!” he called, pointing to an ancient wall buried in brambles and overgrown brush. The wall’s stones had loosened, and many of the large rocks had fallen to lie scattered on the ground. “It’s a bit sticky, I dare say, and I can’t recall it having a gate. It’s not so bad as the stile out of it, so hold your breath.”

With that, Danvers released Finnigan into a canter. Meagan urged Banjo forward, letting the leaders’ enthusiasm fire them both. Finnigan wavered, looking for a way through, and launched himself at the overgrown wall. A crashing followed, and Finnigan and Danvers vanished into the brush behind the wall. Meagan pulled Banjo off her planned line to the wall and circled away.

“It’s all right!” came Danvers’ cry from inside the brush. “Maybe come on a wee strong to get all the way in the lane!”

Meagan turned toward the wall again, asking Banjo for a faster canter. The horse opened his stride and pricked his ears, raising his head as he came toward the thick brush. He bobbled, tripping over a loose stone, and at the last moment Meagan pulled the horse away.

“What’s the matter, love?” Danvers called. “I’m back up. Come on over!”

“Where? I can’t see you!”

“I’m on the other side, where did you think? I can’t bloody well raise a flag.”

Meagan felt warmth pass from her into the cold air, leaving a hard, frozen spot in the pit of her stomach. She urged Banjo back into a canter and swung back to the wall. The brush behind it seemed impenetrable. Furious with herself, Meagan pulled out and circled again.

“I can’t, Danvers!” she called.

“Why bloody not? Just kick on … he’ll have a go!”

“No, it’s me.” The dreadful admission hung in the air.

“You’ve heard the trick, love. Throw your heart over and follow it.”

“I don’t know if I can, Danvers. I can’t even see the landing. It’s ridiculous.”

“Bother, the finest things in life are ridiculous! Leave it to the horse. He doesn’t mind a bit.”

Meagan inhaled deeply and circled again. This is going to be fine, she told herself. Banjo shook his head, thoroughly confused, but opened his stride again and pricked his ears at the wall buried in dense thicket. Banjo picked through the stones as Meagan sat tall and waited for the bounce into the air. Instead, Banjo swung violently to the left and the wall swerved away.

“What’s this?” came the voice from the other side of the wall.

He stopped that time, Danvers.” She hated the miserable moment of missing a difficult jump with a refusal and having to make another attempt. “Maybe you should go on by yourself.”

“Nonsense. He’s had a runout, that’s all. You’ve shaken his confidence, all that mucking about you’ve done. Now he thinks it’s dangerous.”

“It is dangerous!”

A loud call interrupted: “You there! I’ve told the lot of you to stay off my land!” Meagan turned in the saddle to see a man approaching on foot, waving a pitchfork and shouting.

“Sounds like Old Baker, that does. You’d try that wall again if you knew what was about.”

“He has a pitchfork, Danvers!”

“Are you coming then, love?”


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Time travel can be tricky

The Legend of the Great Horse trilogy is an adventure through history. The Golden Spark (Book #2) won the 2011 Written Arts Awards for best Science Fiction/Fantasy.

Meagan was enjoying the formal 17th century social outing when she was abruptly whisked to an English farm of 1820. Time travel can be tricky.

Image of Meagan & “Beecher” by Marti Adrian Gregory © 2014 Micron Press

The young man dealt the draft horse a couple of affectionate whacks that echoed off the nearby barns. The horse swung his mighty head around, gently lipping the man’s sleeve. “Say, Martin, could one of your hands bring him around? I’ll pay a half-day’s wages.”

“I don’t have any hands available, Chadwick.”

“What about the young lady there?”

Both men turned to look at Meagan. She smiled and gave an embarrassed wave. Pink satin was hardly farm apparel.

“Never seen her. Must have strayed by.”

“She’s slicked up for something.” The younger man called to Meagan: “You, there! Not lost, are you?”

“No, just made a wrong turn.” Meagan was mortified to be standing in a field in such a dress. “Could you point me to town?”

“Town?” The men looked at each other. “There’s a mill up that road a ways. Did you walk here?”

“I-I was dropped off.” She looked down the long, tidy driveway.

The men exchanged another glance. The younger, Chadwick, shrugged and strode over. “I have my business, I suppose you have yours. Say though, if you would follow my carriage with this horse there’s two pence and a meal waiting. No need to get dirty, and it would be a real favor. I can give you a ride somewhere once we get the horse home.”

Meagan hesitated. Her real wish was to hide.

“Come on, now, don’t be afraid of him. He’s big, but he won’t hurt anything bigger than a fly. Then take a meal with the family and I will get you where you want to go.”

I doubt it, she thought, but smiled and agreed.


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