Dragon Horse by Peter Ward
‘The sleeping dragon awakes!’
Aeons ago, winged dragons spread terror across the Chinese empire.
Their descendants, magnificent horses bred and ridden by the Wild Horsemen, are known as dragon horses.
But now an ancient evil is stirring – and two brothers, Rokshan and An Lushan, are about to be drawn into battle. One must travel to the Valleys of the Horsemen – and on to the Plain of the Dead where the great stallion Stargazer, lord of the horses, is waiting for him.
While the other chooses a different path entirely…
Set in China during the 9th century, Dragon Horse is an epic fantasy that marks an impressive debut novel for British author Peter Ward. It is an atmospheric, well researched and involving tale of two brothers, Rokshan and An Lushan, with two very different destinies.
The author’s passion for China and Chinese mythology shines through strongly and the admirable attention to detail make this refreshing take on a fantasy theme highly readable and unquestionably enjoyable. A book for both children and adults, it is full of memorable characters and locations with the titular dragon horses being a brilliant invention. The passage below, taken from the book, describes Rokshan’s first meeting with these wonderful creatures.
“Rokshan bent closer and gazed into the dragon horse’s eyes, and for a moment he felt as if he was drowning in the depths of green oceans. He grabbed instinctively for something to hold onto as he was swept into a whirlpool of colours that pummelled and tugged at him, pulling him this way and that. Strangely, he felt himself relaxing, and the more he let go, the more easily he seemed to float along with the pulsing colours that streamed about him… He felt himself laughing with joy at a sensation that was unlike anything he’d ever felt before-“
Dragon Horse: Chapter 5 – Shou Lao’s Message and the Imperial Messengers
On the slightly negative side, there were occasions when the narrative did not seem to know if it was aimed at children or adults. This sometimes led to confusion when complex and adult-themed passages were joined together by passages that felt rather too simplistic and manufactured. There was also a feeling that the author, by staying very true to the original legends, found difficulty in creating a clear and concise story using the complex source material. These are, it should be pointed out, minor quibbles that meant that Dragon Horse was a very good book rather than an excellent one.
At the back of the book there is an author’s historical note on The Silk Road. This is absolutely fascinating and left me wondering why all this information was not part and parcel of the story itself. Below is an excerpt from this note.
“The many different trading routes together made up the greatest road of the ancient world, which linked the Mediterranean to Central Asia, travelled by Alexander the Great, Darius (the ‘King of Kings’) of Persia, Genghis Khan and Marco Polo. The Silk Road linked the Eastern Roman Empire in the west to China, at the height of its power and cultural glory during the T’ang Dynasty (618-907 AD). Travellers, merchants and adventurers from the west came in search of silk, which was valued as highly as gold.”
Author’s Historical Note: The Silk Road
Dragon Horse is a book that deserves to be read, it is educational, entertaining and will leave the reader wanting to know more about ancient China and the wonder that was The Silk Road. The jacket illustration is beautiful and will sell many copies all by itself.
With his father in military service, Peter Ward grew up in different places throughout England, Germany and the Far East. He was educated at Ampleforth College before graduating in English and Religious Studies from Leeds University, marking the start of a lifelong interest in Eastern mythology and religions.
His fascination with the culture and mythology of the East, especially China and tales set around the ancient Silk Road, inspired him to want to write his own stories. Dragon Horse is his first novel.
“Strides the length of the Silk Road. Ahead… lie dangerous journeys and desperate battles, treacherous enemies and loyal friends’ Books for Keeps
“If you only read one book this year make it this one! Gripping and absorbing!’ DMAG
‘Pacy, rich and satisfying’ writeaway.org.uk
This Dragon Horse book review was written by Floresiensis
Have you read Dragon Horse?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Dragon Horse reader reviews
Fred from Glasgow
An awesome book, any fantasy lovers' dream - full of weird and wonderful, highly descriptive mythical beings. Can't wait for the sequel.
9.3/10 from 2 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The year is 1939. Raybould Marsh and other members of British Intelligence have gathered to watch a damaged reel of film in a darkened room. It appears to show German troop...
Guy Gavriel Kay
Set in a beleaguered land caught in a web of tyranny, Tigana is the deeply moving story of a people struggling to be free. A people so cursed by the dark sorceries of the t...
A Christmas Carol
It is Christmas Eve in Victorian London, and all around the snow-covered city people are rushing home to be with their families. All except one man, that is: Ebenezer Scroo...
Sailing to Sarantium
Guy Gavriel Kay
Rumoured to be responsible for the ascension of the previous Emperor, his uncle, amid fire and blood, Valerius the Trakesian has himself now risen to the Golden Throne of t...
In the winter of his eleventh year, Little Hawk goes deep into the forest, where he must endure a three-month test of solitude and survival which will turn him into a man. ...
As they approach adulthood, Cat Barahal and her cousin Bee think they understand the society they live in and their place within it. At a select academy they study new airs...
The Moon and the Sun
Vonda N McIntyre
Louis XIV, the Sun King, rules the Western World from the Chateau at Versailles. Marie- Josèphe de la Croix looks forward to assisting her brother in the scientific ...
Come one come all to greatest city in the world. In London, all men are free, the streets are lined with gold and the naughty ladies are friendly to all. In London there ar...
Who or what is Endymion Spring? A power for good, or for evil... A legendary book that holds the secret to a world of knowledge... A young boy without a voice - whose five-...
Publius Varrus is the last legionnaire in Britain, and The Skystone is in many ways his story. He is a common man with aristocratic friends, and successful both as a soldie...
Dreaming Of Zhou Gong
The Wu have been living in isolation for decades while the Shang Emperor and his enchantress have ruled the land. It has been a terrible time for the common people and the ...
Kepler is like you, but not like you. With a simple touch, Kepler can move into any body, live any life - for a moment, a day or for years. And your life could be next. SOM...
The Other Log of Phileas Fogg
Philip Jose Farmer
About a hundred years ago, a group of mutant supermen began playing a major role in our affairs. It is no accident that Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, Captain Nemo, and Doc Savag...
The High King of Montival
Rudi Mackenzie has returned to Montival with the Sword of the Lady, ready to face the legions of the Prophet. To achieve victory, Rudi must assemble a coalition of former e...
The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart
Edinburgh, 1874. On the coldest night the world has ever seen, Little Jack is born with a frozen heart and immediately undergoes a life-saving operation. But Dr Madeleine i...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: