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The Shadowy Horses

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  13,304 Ratings  ·  1,446 Reviews
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 Le
Paperback, 432 pages
Published March 1st 1999 by Jove (first published 1997)
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- Sarah's Reading Guide for The Shadowy Horses -

(1) Open google.
(2) Load a picture of dry toast. Example:

(3) Stare at toast for 3 minutes.
(4) Leave the room. Trim your toenails.
(5) Return to the computer. Stare at toast for another 3 minutes.
(6) Close picture.

Congrats! You've successfully duplicated the Shadowy Horses experience. Be proud -- you've saved yourself untold pain by not bothering with the tepid characters, bland plot, excruciating infodumps, cutesy humor, & nauseating romance of
Nov 10, 2012 Barb rated it did not like it
I really didn't like this story from Susanna Kearsley. This is the fourth novel by her that I've read and there is definitely a formula she follows. Sometimes the formula works for me and sometimes it doesn't.

I did like the setting of the archeological dig and the insertion of the Roman history that went with describing what the archeologists were looking for and discovering. I also liked the many references to the Scots language and traditions.

What I didn't care for was the romantic story line
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Read This Review & More Like It On Ageless Pages Reviews!

A thoroughly satisfying mix of history, the paranormal, with a dash of romance to flavor, The Shadowy Horses does not disappoint. A bit more romance-orientated than my previous read by this author (Mariana), I can still easily endorse Susanna Kearsley as fast becoming one of my favorite authors; one that is adept at creating a wide array of individual characters, as well as intricately setting up an atmospheric read. She delivers every
Shadowy Horses was another quick, enjoyable read by Susanna Kearsley. It's not a time-slip like the others that I've read, but more of a contemporary ghost story, although it's really not what you would call a chilling one. I expected a bit more of an eerie, Gothic atmosphere, and got more Scottish flavor instead (which is really not a bad thing).

The story centers on an archaeological dig in an old fishing town where a mad old scholar believes he's found the final resting place of the Roman Nin
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
**4.5 stars**

I would have stayed up all night last night to finish this book if my daughter didn't wake up and call for me. It was one of those books where you say to yourself "I'll just finish this one chapter" and do that over and over again until you look up and 2 hours has gone by.

I always love Susanna Kearsley's writing and this book was no exception. Her prose just envelops me and drags me deep into the plot to the point where the world around me grows murky. I get sucked into these beaut
Jan 20, 2012 Stacey rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Elizabeth Peters, MIchael Crichton's Timeline, Elizabeth Lowell
This novel went way beyond my expectations, into "truly delightful" territory. I had expected something a little less fiction and a little more fluffy (Kind of like Elizabeth Lowell, who writes stories involving art history, book history, studies of artifacts, etc. - but whose writing is not nearly as good).

This novel has a perfect mix of history, romance, and mystery.

The plot begins immediately, with an archaeologist re-tracing her route on a bus after managing to sleep through her train stop.
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
I won this book in a contest hosted by Reading Between the Wines and Sourcebooks.


Shadowy Horses is centered around Eyemouth, which is an actual fishing port located in south-east Scotland. The story references actual places and events including The Ship Hotel, the fish auctions and the Herring Queen Festival. While it hasn't actually been verified that Eyemouth is the last resting place of the Ninth Roman Legion, this is what the fictional character Verity Gray is drawn
Christine Spoors
This book begins with the main character Verity sitting on a bus in the pouring rain. I spend a lot of time doing that myself so I instantly began to love this book. It's set in Eyemouth, a port town in the Scottish Borders, and I love the way Kearsley writes about Scotland. It is clear from the very first page that she did a lot of research before beginning this book!

This book only has one POV and we follow Verity, an archaeologist, as she moves to Eyemouth to take part in an archaeological dig
What can I say, I think Susanna Kearsley could write the back of a cereal box and I'd think it was marvelous, lol. There's just something about her writing style that I truely love, she's one of my favorite authors. The Shadowy Horses was no exception, the setting was modern day Scotland with our main character Verity Grey an archaeologist accepting a job to help find the truth as to whether the lost Ninth Roman Legion is buried in a rocky field by the sea. This story has everything, a charming ...more
Oct 22, 2015 TL rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: favorites
Some samples of the beautiful writing:

"The man, to my eyes, looked enormous, a great dark giant who moved over bracken and thorn with an effortless stride. He might have been a spectre from a bygone age, a fearless border laird come to challenge our rude intrusion on his lands--but the illusion lasted only a moment.

"The sea was close beside us now. I could the choppy froth of waves beyond the thinning wall of mist, and the jutting silhouettes of jagged rocks. The rain had stopped. Between the r
May 26, 2010 Margaret rated it really liked it
When Verity Grey arrives in Eyemouth, Scotland, for an archaeological dig, she doesn't know exactly what to expect. When she meets eccentric Peter Quinnell, who's financing the dig, she's intrigued by his theory that he's found the lost Ninth Legion of Rome. However, Quinnell isn't working off solely archaeological evidence; there's a Roman ghost, and a small boy who can speak to him.

I thought the style started out a little overly descriptive (I could feel myself skimming a little in the early
Jan 20, 2012 Reese rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"You've only got one chance to get it right."

I am not sure which is my favorite book from Kearsley. Each one is unique in their own way, but I can always count on the budding romances, the suspenseful scenes, the harrowing twists, and a dab of supernatural occurrences that are a penchant in all of her wonderful novels.

The Shadowy Horses is based in Scotland, about an archeologist who is invited to join an excavation to find the long lost fleet of the Legio Nona Hispana (Ninth Spanish Legion), da
Aug 24, 2016 Giedre rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Picked this one up before reading The Firebird, which is the companion book to The Winter Sea but also features a character from this earlier novel. Frankly, The Shadowy Horses didn't do much for me. It's definitely not as good as The Winter Sea—the formula is very similar, but Kearsley has definitely grown as a writer since this one was published. That said, it did make me read up on Legio IX Hispana, so I know a bit more than I did previously. Yay for that, I guess.
This was not up to the standards I have come to expect from this author.Story premise was interesting and the characters with all their contrasts and foibles should have carried the story. But it all fell flat for me.
At times there was too much detail and others not enough. It was as if the author got bored with her own story and just wanted to get it done and over. I was reading along and all of a sudden we went from zero to sixty. Neatly tied up with a bow and happily ever after? Huh?
Jan 04, 2011 Nicole rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
I know there are quite a few Susanna Kearsley fans out there...and I am one of them! Not only is she a fantastic writer but she is a fellow Canadian - its great to support a talented writer from your own country. A Susanna Kearsley book always reemphasizes for me why I love reading and why quality writing always wins out over filler and flash. Instead of focusing this post on reviewing The Shadowy Horses though, I am going to discuss more why I love Susanna Kearsley and highly recommend this aut ...more
What I liked:
- the archaeology and Roman history lessons,
- the main premise,
- the setting,
- Wally, Jeannie's dad.

Ha, no, really, I did like most of the secondary characters - even the annoying ones. I enjoy reading Kearsley's books - though they tend to be populated with similar characters, it's fun to see them in slightly different positions this time around.

What I didn't like:
- The 'sinister' plot. Why was that even in there? Made no sense and was just dumb, especially the big...finale?
Oct 08, 2015 Lyuda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One cup of ancient Roman Legion history, one cup of archaeology tidbits, one cup of modern Scottish coastal village atmosphere, full dollop of paranormal element and one tablespoon of the Scots language.
Mix all ingredients together.
Sprinkle romance and mystery on top and enjoy this wonderful creation!

Consumption can lead to:
1. Impulsive internet search on everything to do with Roman Legio IX Hispana and its disappearance.
2. Overwhelming desire to visit the east coast of Scotland and,
Carol Kerry-green
Another excellent novel from Susanna Kearsley. Verity Grey is a Finds Supervisor, who works on archaelogical digs in various parts of the country. She has a job opportunity in Scotland near the village of Eyemouth in Berwickshire. Peter Quinnell an eccentric researcher into the lost Roman Ninth Legion, is settled at Rosehill a house just outside Eyemouth and is searching in the field at the house for a Roman Marching Camp, which he is convinced belonged to the Ninth. There is no evidence for thi ...more
Jun 28, 2011 Jackleen rated it really liked it
Deliciously spooky. Complete with ghosts, an unnervingly psychic child, and the gorgeous highlander David Fortune, The Shadowy Horses is a spine tingly, hair raising good read. Verity Grey is invited to join an archaeology dig in a small coastal town in Scotland. Her employer, Peter Quinnell is sure he has found the last location of the mysterious Roman Nineth legion who lost from records, remain a source of great debate amongst historians. Thought to be mad, this find would validate Peters care ...more
My first Susanna Kearsley, and definitely not my last - I was left wondering why I waited so long to read her. This was one of those quiet romances that somehow manages to be swooningly romantic at the same time - my favourite kind. I also really liked the archaeological details and the well-rounded secondary characters, plus I felt the touch of paranormal suited the story perfectly – and if you know me, I don’t often say that when the paranormal intrudes into my contemporary.
Mar 02, 2015 puppitypup rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, mystery
Fiction/Mystery Exquisite writing, this author is gifted, no doubt. The book has a decidedly Gothic feel to it, and a languid pacing that fits the setting perfectly. In fact, this story has that elusive quality that I am always searching for in a novel - room to breathe.

Set in the windswept moors of the Scottish borderlands, in a coastal village still lingering under the miasma of a terrible disaster that claimed the lives of its menfolk a hundred years past.

I adore stories that have dual timeli
Sep 14, 2012 Aimee rated it it was amazing
Susanna Kearsley has really become one of my favorite authors, I have read many of her books and have very much enjoyed all of them. The Shadowy Horses is set in Scotland and Kearsley does a wonderful job of adding rich details to bring out the beauty of the land. The main character, Verity Grey, is intelligent and dedicated to her work and I enjoyed reading the book from her point of view.

There is some supernatural elements thrown in that added some tension to the story. A ghost, a Sentinal, w
4.5 stars

The Shadowy Horses was my first Susanna Kearsley even though I have The Winter Sea, Marianna and The Rose Garden sitting on my bookshelves *shamed face* lol

The Shadowy Horses is a beautiful blend of mystery, history and romance, throw in a ghost, and a boy with second sight and it's a match made in heaven.

I don't think I need to say much more, I recommend this one without hesitation and here's just a few reasons why I loved it -

- set in Eyemouth, Scotland ... the Scottish borders area o
May 28, 2012 Emmy rated it really liked it

Out of two, this is my second favorite Kearsley ;)

While not as good as The Rose Garden, which I loved, I still did really enjoy this one. It was a bit slow at times (this is not an action-packed book by any means), it rather relied on the characters to move it forward.

I thought the paranormal aspect of this book would play a bigger role than it did and so I kept waiting for more about the Sentinel or for Verity to eventually see him, but that never happened. I also thought this book woul
Nicole Karlson
Jan 29, 2017 Nicole Karlson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a delightful reading experience this book gave me. I loved it. The prose and plot were a breath of fresh air. I loved the characters and the vivid details. Every minute I spent in this world was pure joy. I'm now a big fan of Susanna Kearsley and canna wait to read the rest of her work. Huge thank you to my friend, Donna, who recommended this author to me several times. I'm so glad I finally listened, D!
Feb 07, 2014 Keertana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: swoooon
The Shadowy Horses, oddly enough, threw my preconceived notions regarding Kearsley's work right out of the window. After having read The Winter Sea, I expected Kearsley's prose, plot, and characterization to follow a similar pattern, but I found myself pleasantly surprised. While her writing style does, once again, transport readers into a rich, ethereal atmosphere, little else about The Shadowy Horses was similar to The Winter Sea. Yet, despite the fact that Kearsley lacks a formulaic approach, ...more
Diane Lynn
Really closer to 3.5 stars, but I'm not rounding up.

First line: The bus had no business stopping where it did.

Sometimes just a simple first line of a book is enough to draw me in, as was the case here.

Verity Grey moves to Eyemouth in Scotland to work on an archaeological dig. Eyemouth is in the Scottish Borders area. What a wonderful location for a book setting. Verity is in charge of the finds at the dig. She sifts the dirt to get at the important bits (pottery and what not) and then cleans, so
Sep 18, 2012 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First read - 11/2/12-11/9/12
Second read - 2/3/17-2/7/17

*-* First read comments *-*
Fantastic book! Love Susanna's writing style, characters, details and creativity for a truly captivating story. The thoroughness of her research comes through in the rich detail and makes it incredibly easy to see everything that is going on with every single one of your senses.

Scotland and a kilted man are quite the enjoyable bonus' included in this book. :-)

-*- Second read comments -*-
I have been wanting to re-re
Rio (Lynne)
Jan 10, 2012 Rio (Lynne) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scotland
3.75 Stars

I enjoyed this book, even though it was slow moving. It had the makings of a great book...suspense, a Roman Sentinel, a kid (Robbie) who could see ghosts, a great setting (Scotland) and typical Kearsley characters, but there was something lacking.

Verity leaves London for a controversial dig in Scotland. Peter (the boss) knows that the mysterious Roman Legion 9 is in the backyard of his new home in Scotland. How does he know this? Because Robbie, a kid sees the ghost of the Sentinel w
Jessica Howard
Jul 18, 2015 Jessica Howard rated it did not like it
Shelves: romance, listened-to, 2015
I'm normally a big Kearsley fan, but I REALLY disliked this one. Skip it - read The Winter Sea or The Rose Garden instead!

This one has an underwhelming romance, super sexist characters, way too much talk about vodka, and an annoying tendency to use the same phrases over and over. I thought if the phrase "a difficult woman" was used one more time I might scream.
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  • The Island House
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Aka Emma Cole.

Susanna Kearsley studied politics and international development at university, and has worked as a museum curator.

Her first novel Mariana won the prestigious Catherine Cookson Literary Prize and launched her writing career. Susanna continued her mix of the historical and paranormal in novels The Splendour Falls, Named of the Dragon, Shadowy Horses and Season of Storms.

Susanna Kearsle
More about Susanna Kearsley...

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“But till then, I could wait – I was in no great hurry. Like the swans, I had mated for life.” 1 likes
“My mother, come to think of it, would have been a welcome sight jut now..."There are no such things as ghosts," she would have told me, and of course I would have believed her” 1 likes
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