A boy destined to lead his clan; a girl raised by wolves; a stranger with a sealed box.
These are the elements of this powerful novel, set on a rocky northern coast in a distant time, in a small community who lives in dread of the coming of the legendary warrior tribe, the Dark Horse.
Told in part by the boy, Sigurd, himself, it is a dark and dangerous story of conflict and betrayal.
With its strong sense of time and place and the magic of a primitive people, The Dark Horse again confirms the exceptional talent of Marcus Sedgwick.
About the Author
Marcus Sedgwick used to work in children's publishing and before that he was a bookseller. He now happily writes full-time. His books have been shortlisted for many awards, including The Guardian Children's Fiction Award, the Blue Peter Book Award, the Carnegie Medal and the Edgar Allan Poe Award.
Shortlisted for both the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Childrens Fiction Award, Marcus Sedgwick's novel has been compared to those of Alan Garner, and does not disappoint. Set in an unspecified time and place, the book tells of a time in the lifespan of the Storn, a tribe of fishermen and farmers who eke out a existence close to the shores of a great sea. The short chapters alternate between past, in the voice of Sigurd, and present, with the past episodes serving to explain the origins of Mouse, the girl child who understands what the animals and birds say and who is possessed of a powerful magic that no one quite understands. It is Mouse who first discovers the magical box on the shoreline as she and Sigurd, her adoptive brother, look for sea cabbage to supplement their meagre diet. Horn, the tribal Lawspeaker, forces Mouse to open the box as both he and Gudrun, the Spellmaker have failed in all their attempts to prise it open. When she does open it, easily and without force, it is seen to be empty, but only Mouse knows that a very powerful presence has been loosed. Sigurd, injured by a mysterious stampede of black horses, is brought back to the brochs by Ragnald, a tall stranger with white hair and black palms to his hands who says he is an entertainer and who claims the strange box is his. His arrival presages the downfall of the Storn and the terrifying truth of Mouses origins. The prose is sparse but rich. Marcus Sedgwick has brought off a tale that is compelling and shocking, a real page turner. Ages 8-11 (Kirkus UK)
For Ages: 12+ years old
Number Of Pages: 187
Published: 15th May 2010
Publisher: Hachette Children's Group
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9 x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.188
Edition Number: 1