Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Shadowy Horses” as Want to Read:
The Shadowy Horses
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Shadowy Horses

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  11,155 Ratings  ·  1,258 Reviews
Verity Grey has never been a woman who recoils from a challenge. But when she is invited to a windy coastal town in Scotland to work on an archaeological dig, she wonders if she has stepped over the line.

It's not the ancient Roman history that intimidates Verity--even when that history takes the ghostly form of a slain Roman sentinel--it's her co-worker David Fortune, who
Mass Market Paperback, 317 pages
Published 1998 by Orion (first published 1997)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Shadowy Horses, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Dec 28, 2012 Barb rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
- 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
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
Mar 29, 2012 Stacey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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
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
Jun 29, 2011 Margaret rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 09, 2012 Reese rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 04, 2011 Nicole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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?
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?
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
Jul 02, 2011 Jackleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 14, 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
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
Sep 16, 2012 Aimee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Been meaning to try this author. Think I'll start here, since it's shorter than her other books and my friends liked it. Plus, I like the topic, the lore of the lost Roman legion.

Another bonus? This book is sold on Audible, and the excerpt sounds fine.
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.
Apr 06, 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
Christy B
Verity Grey arrives in Scotland to join in on an archaeological dig, one that she doesn't know all the details to until she arrives. Her employer, the eccentric old Peter Quinnell believes he has found the sight of the resting place of the Ninth Legion – a Roman legion who mysteriously disappeared around 177 A.D. The thing is, he doesn't have any kind of physical evidence. He's only going by what a local boy – who appears to have 'the sight'- has said. The boy has supposedly seen a Sentinel walk ...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
I read this book because of the 9th Legion and Rosemary Sutcliff. It is mystery set in the lowlands of Scotland. A group of archaeologists are searching for evidence of the fate of the lost Roman Legion. There are gothic elements including a little boy with second sight and the role of the supernatural, weather and landscape in shaping events. The book is 15 years old now and is clearly an early work by an author with great potential. I found it a tad old fashioned even for the late 1990's and w ...more
Rio (Lynne)
Nov 25, 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
Kind of slow but still a decent read.
Feb 09, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-book

I like this author's books....some more than others, but I think it was the characters in this one that helped make it so enjoyable.
The fact that I know the town in which it's set well......Eyemouth, on the East coast borders of Scotland....only added to my enjoyment.
This book is a mystery, with lots of interesting archeological details, gentle ghosts, diverse, engaging characters and a nice love story, which made it a fun, relaxing read, which held my interest until the last page.
Jun 11, 2013 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 stars

I'm getting a little addicted to Susanna Kearsley's stories about Scotland. If there was a little more romance in the love story I think it would be a 5 star book for me. As it is, still very interesting!
Katrina Passick Lumsden
If I were to rate this on a scale of works I've already read by Susanna Kearsley, I'd place it ahead of The Splendour Falls, but well behind Mariana, The Winter Sea, and The Rose Garden. It was mildly interesting, the characters were enjoyable and not all that aggravating, the atmosphere was great (Kearsley's never a slouch in that department), and the history was engrossing. My biggest problem with this particular story was that there ended up being a few loose ends that left me feeling kind of ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
2015 Reading Chal...: The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley 1 17 Jul 28, 2015 11:56PM  
Rosemary Sutcliff...: Another Author's Take on the Ninth Legion 2 12 Sep 27, 2014 05:58AM  
Round Lake Librar...: Shadowy Horses 33 16 Oct 15, 2013 12:57PM  
new authors 2 75 Aug 03, 2013 03:18PM  
  • The Island House
  • An Inquiry Into Love and Death
  • Under the Same Sky (The MacDonnells, #1)
  • The Dark Enquiry (Lady Julia, #5)
  • House of Echoes
  • Rivals for the Crown (Highland, #2)
  • A Cottage by the Sea
  • A Place of Secrets
  • Touch Not the Cat
  • Houses of Stone
  • The Anatomist's Wife (Lady Darby, #1)
  • A Rip in the Veil
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...

Share This Book

“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
More quotes…