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Black Horses For The King

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  2,157 ratings  ·  100 reviews
Lord Artos is on a historic quest - to search out the finest black horses ever known to man. He has vowed to drive the invading Saxons out of Britain, and he needs big, strong, powerful horses to carry his army into battle.

Galwyn, a young Roman-Celt, leaps at the chance to accompany the group, little guessing the adventure ahead of him - or the price he will have to pay fo
Paperback, 211 pages
Published June 5th 1997 by Corgi Childrens (first published April 1st 1996)
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Black Horses for the King is an Arthurian novel, but focuses mostly on an original character, Galwyn, as he joins Arthur's men and helps to look after his horses, and eventually becomes involved in making prototype horse shoes for them.

It's a little odd for an Arthurian novel, as it has nothing to do with the now-traditional focus of the stories on Lancelot and Guinevere, and barely even follows the well-known characters -- the minor characters among Arthur's knights are original ones, while Bed
This was the book that turned me on to Arthurian fiction, which then led me to Elizabeth Wein's "The Winter Prince," which remains one of my favourite books today. This Anne McCaffrey novel is a historical fiction novel set in the time of King Arthur. Arthur, or Artos, as he is known in this story, is searching for black horses large enough for his warriors to ride. To help him find and trade for the Libyan black steeds that he
needs, he hires a young ship's apprentice, Galwyn. Awesome writing.
Clare Farrelly
Mar 20, 2015 Clare Farrelly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: age 10+
This is not just another rendition of Arthurian legend. Well it is but is is a story in itself. The story is interesting and gives a fresh perspective on what would normally only be the beginning of an Arthurian legend. It also has quite a few interesting historical facts woven into the story. I also found it completely believable. This book is no cliche . In some ways the "bad guy" plot was a bit simple and in the end almost to easy to deal with. But the main goal was to get Artos' big black ho ...more

A great little historical novel about the early years of King Arthur, imagining how he acquired horses large enough to carry his Companions. Absolutely of the quality fans of McCaffery have come to expect.
I love this novel, because it relates to the Arthurian cycle, without visiting the love triangle. It deals instead with the building of Camelot, and the foundation of Arthur's ideal city.
A great novel, truly! Action filled, and adventurous. It was interesting to hear the classic and cliched story of King Arthur told in a completely different way. I think its the best of them all! Black Horses For The King is not cliched at all. It tells of horses and knights and battle, and even a bit of sailing. I found the main character, Galwyn, very original along with the rest of the story. Oh ya, and i like th idea in the book of how even though Galwyns job wasn't in the fighting, he was s ...more
A very factual look at how a pre-Saxon warlord could have made himself and his knights into a powerful force to defend Britain. Entertaining and well-researched.
It's a slow-paced tale about (Welsh/Roman) King Arthur's farrier. IDK you're either here for it or you're not.
Synopsis: ""After his father's death, young Galwyn Varianus is apprenticed to his uncle, who puts the boy to work on the high seas. But horses, not ships, are Galwyn's passion. Luckily, a passenger aboard, Lord Artos (later to rule as the legendary King Arthur), is bound for the great horse fair at Septimania. Risking his life, Galwyn abandons his uncle to serve the gallant leader. Galywn's calming way with horses quickly impresses Lord Artos and his men. But what no one expects is how crucial G ...more
Okay, when I first picked up this book I wasn't sure what to expect. Anne McCaffrey writes wonderful science fiction/fantasy books but her only other non-science fiction book, The Lady, i was not that fond of.

But, having read this book as a way to pass an otherwise boring afternoon spent in the library as a junior in high school (what can I say, I was a major geek, and hanging out in the library was more fun then staring at a wall during study hall) I was immediately drawn into the story.

The boo
Althea Ann
A straight historical novel which focuses solely on one point - horseshoes.
If, as some theorize, King Arthur, in the 5th century, imported impressive Libyan horses to Britain from the Middle East, how did he deal with the problems which would have occurred when animals used to a dry, desert climate were transferred to wet and soggy England? Hoof rot and mold & all kinds of horsey health issues would undoubtedly have occurred.
McCaffrey gives us her how-it-might-have-happened, through the stor
"Black Horses for the King" is the only novel of historical fiction Anne McCaffrey wrote during her long career as far as I am aware. She made the vision of one Celtic-Roman leader determined to bring his people warhorses and one ordinary young man's devoted efforts to see that vision through real and important to me. This is vital because, though I do enjoy animals, what I know about horses couldn't fill a melon-baller and I have been quite contentedly embracing my ignorance.

In her 'Foreward' M
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in January 1999.

Anne McCaffrey was never going to write an Arthurian story, because she felt put off by the Hollywood-style image she had of the legends, presumably that put about by films like A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. In this novel, written for the 'young adult' market, she has changed her mind. But she has not really written an Arthurian novel; the setting (other the fact that it is early medieval Britain, with the presence of a charisma
Well, little did I know that I was getting a book for "young adults" foisted off on me. However, since two of my long-time loves are horses and King Arthur -- and this book combines both -- I was satisfied to read it.
Covers the importation of heavy war horses who could carry the limited armor of the era plus the soldier. They used what the book called Libyan horses, but were of what they now call Friesian-type or Spanish-type.
Then the challenge was how to keep their feet healthy. The breed was
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Rebecca Wells for

Galwyn Varianus's life has never been easy. When his father died he was apprenticed to his cruel uncle on a trading vessel, though all he wanted to do was stay shore-bound and work with horses. But when Lord Artos calls upon Galwyn to help him bargain for horses for his Companions, Galwyn's life changes completely.

Once Lord Artos - the man who will become the legendary King Arthur - sees Galwyn's calming way with horses, Galwyn is invited to join th
It's not that it's a bad book. It's just that it's not really great.

I think I picked this up solely because it was written by Anne McCaffrey, and I went on a kick where I read just about anything she'd written. It was filed under the regular fantasy/sci-fi section, but that was a serious misfile.

Let's admit it -- this isn't fantasy. This is historical fiction, and while King Arthur shows up for a few pages, he's presented as a historically accurate figure, not a Merlin-and-magic myth.

The book
I may have been reading too much experimental fiction lately, but I found BHFTK pretty juvenile and melodramatic.

Pros first: the historical research is impeccable, including Roman place names and established trading posts. It includes amazing detail of shipping practices, the travel of Jews and Arabs (later reviled and curtailed by Christian influence), and the importance of good horseflesh to military practices. The characters comment on each other's physical build, armaments, and accoutrement
The other John
A blurb on the cover of this one reads, "The story of King Arthur as it has never been told before..." This is true. It's true because this book seems to be as much about King Arthur's horse as it is about him. Now like I said before, I've never found horse stories to be all that interesting. Arthurian tales, however, I find to be quite enthralling. Mixing the two turned out quite successful and yielded an enjoyable tale. (Of course, Ms. McCaffrey's ability to create interesting characters might ...more
I actually got a message asking me why I rated this and didn't review so I will tell you.

Every book is different, a new book, a new chapter; a new life. Don't compare them.

I read this book when I was fifteen and never even seeing a horse before I could feel a velvet smooth nose and hear their puffing breaths; know how much it might hurt to ride one as it ran and jostled you on its back. To me this is what matters in a book. An this book even as I read it again yesterday; still lets me feel like
This was painful to listen to as an audiobook due to quality. I zoned out so much because of that, but also because of the story.

It just wasn't that fascinating to me.

Didn't much care one way or another about the characters, which is saying something since it's a King Arthur story! (Well, he's in it. It's not his story though.)

The only reason I stuck with it was because it was so short.

You really have to love horses to love this book.
Anne McCaffrey has been one of my favorite authors since I was 15 and first read Dragonsdawn.

This book is one of her ventures into both fantasy (the legend of King Arthur) and historical fiction. The intended audience is probably young adults and was likely written for her son. It covers the time before Arthur was a legend, when he was building Camelot and the legend.

I would highly recommend this book to horse-mad young teens. It was obviously well-researched in terms of blacksmithery and farrie
I was pleasantly surprised with this novel. After reading Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, and Dragondrums, I had figured out that I wasn't a huge fan of McCaffrey. But her historical fiction is far more pleasurable to read than her fantasy, due to my tastes. I loved reading about Galwyn's journey and his care of the Libyan horses. The only two things I found distasteful were the hard-to-pronounce Latin/Celtic names (which is a personal distaste, rather than McCaffrey's own fault) and McCaffrey's near ...more
When I picked this book off the shelf at the library I didn't know that it was going to be a spin on Arthurian fiction. I really just needed something to hold me over while I waited for another book to come in and thought Anne McCaffrey might be a good choice. It has been about five years since I read anything by her.
If you are a big fan of Arthurian fiction, I wouldn't particularly suggest this book. While it does have a little to do with Arthur (Artos, Comes Brittanorum, as he is known in thi
LOVED this book! Being the horse girl I am, this book was just perfect for me to read. Amazing plot at an older level I didn't feel like a complete youth when I read it! Good book plan on reading it again soon!
Tamara Richman
This was such an unexpected treat! I read through the entire Dragons of Pern series when I was pregnant with Cameron but hadn't touched a McCaffrey book in 12 years. I'm also not a big Arthurian legend fan. All that being said, this was a wonderful juvenile/young adult book about a young boy who is willingly taken by Comtes Artos to acquire and care for war horses big enough to carry Arthur and his knights in armor so he can win control of the whole of the British Isles. Arthur and his cohort ma ...more
Explained the work of a farrier in a fictional setting. A good job of explaining and a poor job of character development.
Great book! I read it to see if it was age appropriate for the boys in my knights class and the rating was for 9-12 years old, but I loved it for me! If you love stories of King Arthur but want a fresh perspective, this is the one to read. She was a famous author before attempting this book and wrote it because a friend requested that she write it without any of the typical Hollywood spin on all of the other King Arthur books out there. For the kids, it has great new vocabulary and so much inter ...more
Sara floerke
This one was better than Bloodline, of course I really enjoy McCaffrey. But it wasn't a "wonderful" book. Historical Fiction about the King Arthur time period. McCaffrey tried hard to stay away from the cliche King Arthur. In fact, the story doesn't resemble King Arthur at all. The protaganist is a stable boy who works for Arthur and Arthur is a side character (which I found refreshing). Probably the best thing from this book was what I learned about horses and the historical background on horse ...more
The book “Black Horses for the King” written by Anne McCaffrey is about the young runaway Galwyn Varianus whose gift with horses would come in handy for Lord Artos. After finding the needed
(And best) Libyan mares and stallions Lord Artos, Galwyn, and others get on the road to Deva. Encountering problems on the way there, they lose or kick out a member of the group and Galwyn and Canyd created iron horse shoes for the horses.
They soon make it to Deva and fight the Saxons.
I thought that this bo
Maureen E
An Arthurian re-telling? By Anne McCaffrey? Why, yes! It was a little weird to read it, especially after having read The Winter Prince so recently; she uses several of the same names and locations. Nonetheless, these are entirely different stories. This one ended very abruptly and I wasn’t entirely satisfied. (Is it part of a series? I’m too lazy to look it up on Wikipedia. A new depth to which I have fallen.) But it’s an interesting look into a particular period of history, especially equine hi ...more
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Anne McCaffrey was born on April 1st, 1926, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at 1:30 p.m., in the hour of the Sheep, year of the Fire Tiger, sun sign Aries with Taurus rising and Leo mid-heaven (which seems to suggest an early interest in the stars).

Her parents were George Herbert McCaffrey, BA, MA PhD (Harvard), Colonel USA Army (retired), and Anne Dorothy McElroy McCaffrey, estate agent. She had two
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