Bree, the horse, has been kidnapped from Narnia and longs to return there. Shasta, on the verge of being sold into slavery, decides to run away with him in search of the home he's always dreamed of. But the journey is full of surprises and fraught with dangers, and when the companions uncover a treasonous plot, it also becomes a race against time.
It was enough of a surprise for Shasta to discover he wasn't the son of Arsheesh the fisherman. But when Bree, the talking horse, whisks him away from the cruel land of Calormen in search of the safe and happy of Narnia where High King Peter rules, Shasta finds himself up to his ears in mystery and adventure such as he could never imagine in his wildest dreams. Their journey is charged with fear and danger, intrigue and adventure, as they make their way in disguise through the city of Tashbaan, past the eerie tombs, then on by burning day and silvery night over the harsh desert to the high mountains of Archenland. Even when Narnia is in sight, Shasta realises he must finally conquer his fear. "If you funk this," he tells himself, "you'll funk every battle in your life. Now or never."
Much debate over whether this is the third in the Narnia series, with Prince Caspian always considered being the direct sequel, but with the 4 children appearing as kings and queens in Narnia in the novel and happening in that timeline I think it is safe to include it as the official third book in the Chronicles Of Narnia series.
The Horse & His Boy takes place in a different place of Narnia during the reign of the The Pevensies as adults. The story starts in Calormen, an arid land far to the south of Cair Paravel. Slavery is a part of life in Calormen and a young boy named Sasha meets a talking Narnian horse named Bree. Together they decide to escape and head to Narnia where, due to Sasha's fair complexion, he should be able to pass as native and escape his life of servitude.
After a little nudge from Aslan they meet Aravis and her horse Hwin who are escaping her arranged marriage. Together they agree to travel to Narnia and seek refuge under the Pevensies rule.
The problem with getting to Narnia is that they have to pass through the Calormine capital Tashbaan. Upon entering the congested city the two become separated and Sasha, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the Tashbaan prince, is mistaken by Queen Susan and King Edmund. Sasha overhears the Queen and King planning to escape the city as Susan does not want to marry the cruel prince.
Meanwhile Avris runs into her own problems when she is recognized by one of her wealthy friends. Convincing her spoiled and selfish friend that she must escape the palace and her planned marriage is an entertaining read. Avris overhears the Prince's plan to invade Narnia in relation to Queen Susan's escape.
Sasha and Avris manage to escape the city and head for Narnia with their horses, fighting Rabadash's army the whole way and must get to Narnia in time to warn the Kings and Queens.
The Horse And His Boy is the most mature and adventurous novel of the Narnian series. This is the novel that makes Narnia seem like a real and large country. A clear inspiration for this was the Arabian Nights legends and this drips through in Lewis's imagery of the desert cities.
The pacing and narrative are a complete departure from every other Narnian story. This is clearly aimed at an older teenager audience and is a adventure story. There is also a lot less magic for obvious reasons and a brief appearance from Aslan to help guide the armies in the right direction keeps things Narnian.
The Horse And His Boy is an exciting adventure through a different part of Narnia, telling a different kind of story that shows what a true genius CS Lewis, showcasing just how real Narnia was as a country.
Review by Alaisdair Dewar
6 positive reader review(s) for The Horse And His Boy
Gina from America
This is the best Narnia book out there. It's quick and easy to read because it has an engaging plot. The character of Aravis is a strong female character and there is no racism! Just because some people with brown skin in this book are evil doesn't mean C. S Lewis said that all people with brown skin are bad. In fact there is the Tisroc, who is a cruel yet wise leader, Rabadash, who is a hothead, Aravis, who is brave, proud, loyal, and stubborn, Lasareen, a loyal friend who is vain, and that guy who Aravis was going to marry, an old weasle who has no pride. There are many different types of character with brown skin and only 1 out of 5 is a bad guy. A main good guy has brown skin. Nevertheless this is a great book and a must read.
Daniel from Israel
A surprisingly great Narnian adventure set in the times of the end of “The lion, the witch and the wardrobe”. The characters are great and well-rounded, the adventures and landscapes are awesome and story is just great and captivating. The Christian subtexts and educational parts are a bit more subtle than previous books, yet still the racism start to be more apparent. The Calormenes are undoubtedly Muslims and undoubtedly savage and wicked, but all in all the strength of the story succeeds to win you over and remain an amazing read.
Kristen from US
Good review but, the names were spelt wrong and that kinda bothered me but, great other than that!
Owen from United States
The best book among the chronicles.
David from US
This is a good book.
Makaila from Los Angeles
I really loved this book like no words to describe it.
Tom from Nebraska
I treat this book as #3 in the Chronicles and it has a very different feel to the other books in the series. Set at a time following the events of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe we find King Peter on the throne. But this story is Shasta's, an orphan running away from a fisherman's life with help from a talking horse named Bree. They encounter numerous adventures on their quest to reach Narnia and it makes for a great book to read to children as it is full of adventure and shows Narnian lands not previously seen. When C. S. Lewis is telling a story and not preaching he is a real force to be reckoned with, writing humorous, involving plots with engaging characters. Recommended.
8.9/10 from 8 reviews