The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley
Sourcebooks reissue October 2012
Originally published 1997
Review copy provided by the publisher, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating:
THE INVINCIBLE NINTH ROMAN LEGION MARCHES FROM YORK TO FIGHT THE NORTHERN TRIBES. AND THEN VANISHES FROM THE PAGES OF HISTORY.
Archaeologist Verity Grey has been drawn to the dark legends of the Scottish Borderlands in search of the truth buried in a rocky field by the sea.
Her eccentric boss has spent his whole life searching for the resting place of the lost Ninth Roman Legion and is convinced he’s finally found it—not because of any scientific evidence, but because a local boy has “seen” a Roman soldier walking in the fields, a ghostly sentinel who guards the bodies of his long-dead comrades.
Here on the windswept shores, Verity may find the answer to one of the great unsolved mysteries of our time. Or she may uncover secrets someone buried for a reason.
I really loved this story set in Scotland during a small archaeological dig that featured several lovable and quirky characters. Verity’s name means truth, and that’s exactly what she is looking for in regards to the history of the land that Peter Quinnell and his team are excavating. Most endearing is the Scottish accent which came through vividly and easily, making me wonder how the author was able to effortlessly set this scene for us. This novel is making me think twice about men in kilts.
Verity’s GQ-style ex-boyfriend is among the team, and is a bit protective of Verity as she falls head over heels in love with David. David and his mother are a fixture in Peter Quinnell’s life, and it was like a small family that Verity found herself a part of as she joined the archaeological dig. All of the characters brought their own element to the storyline and I loved their banter back and forth. Most surprising of all, the ghostly ‘sightings’ were magnificently told. A young boy Robbie seemed to have a bit of a second-sight, and it went against Verity’s logical judgement to believe that a member of the famous Ninth Legion was trying to contact the team through Robbie.
Great story, great plot, fabulous characterizations made this a fantastic read for me. As far as the suspense and details go, there were some things that were either taken for granted or glazed over which left me wondering what exactly just happened, as if we got from point A to point C without stopping at point B. But, even with the conclusion tying things up as far as the mystery goes, I would love to read a sequel because I adored all these characters. I took some extra time just to make this novel last longer because I just knew I would not want it to end. I was right. This one is going in my keeper pile as I may want to re-read it just for the way the Scots talk.