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The Dark Horse

3.5  ·  Rating details ·  647 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
SIG IS A boy in a coastal tribe, the Storn, long ago in a Northern land. On the day of the wolf hunt, the life of the tribe changes forever, for Sig rescues a small girl, more like the wolves who shelter her than a human. Sig’s family adopts her and names her Mouse, and he becomes a loyal brother to this girl with mysterious powers and a secret past. The shocking discovery ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published February 11th 2003 by Wendy Lamb Books (first published July 18th 2002)
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Aurora Fenzl Sorry to say this book has nothing to do with horses. It is a prehistoric coming of age story with skewed point of view chapters to mess with the…moreSorry to say this book has nothing to do with horses. It is a prehistoric coming of age story with skewed point of view chapters to mess with the reader. It is about betrayal and survival (those are the only good words I can find to describe the way the book ends).(less)

Community Reviews

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Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This is the first Marcus Sedgwick book i have read and i was blown away.
There was not one single boring sentence in this whole book. I just could not put it down once i started. It was only 187 pages long and i read it within three hours.

The blurb reads: A girl snatched from the wolves, a sealed box that can only be opened by one perosn, a sinister stranger with black-painted hands, and a boy destined to lead his clan are woven together in this riveting story of betrayal and ancient magic
Mar 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
"The Dark Horse" is a story about betrayal of family and how in the end a tribe works through the darkness to make their lives better and their tribe even stronger. Mouse, who is an orphan girl who the tribe found in a wolf cave turned out to be an enemy whom they were living with all these years. With Mouse comes a mystery of where she came from and why she has magical powers. Also there appears to be a box that no one knows what it is except Mouse. In the end she stayed family to the Lawspeake ...more
Dannuel Saùl Delizo
Wow. A marvelous story of ancient magic - with a hint of belongingness and betrayal. I should've finished this a long time ago. I thought it was boring! It made my thoughts travel back to the time when brochs were built to be homes. The beautiful story of the Storn tribe gave me blissful shivers as I closed the book. This is a novel about an orphan, Mouse, who possessed some kind of magic and a dark past. Sigurd, as her foster brother, tried to understand and protect her. But magic is an inevita ...more
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
my first book :D totally loved it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mavis Hewitt
Imagines how it was to live in a coastal village in the iron (?) age, often under the threat from raiders, Would have given it 4 stars but, to me, Mouse's extra ability introduces an element of fantasy which jars with the idea historical reconstruction.
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Had rejected it originally as thought it was a straight forward wolf child story - that's the problem with dipping. Well worth the effort as baffling & scary at turns. Would love this at any age.
(And yes I was reading 3 books concurrently)
Rüdiger Álvarez
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ya hace tiempo que lo leí pero lo recuerdo como un buenísimo libro. Con una gran ambientación que me tuvo totalmente enganchado. Un autor a tener en cuenta.
Jane  Lew
Jul 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Leaves you with a sick taste in brain. Blegh.
Aug 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Another book by Marcus Sedgwick which I enjoyed, but not as much as I did with white crow and the book of dead days.
Not as spooky and captivating as I wanted it to be.
Sep 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is the first book that I have read by Marcus Sedgwick and I was impressed with the world he created. The story focuses on Sigurd who finds a small girl living in the caves with wolves not too far from his village, Storn. Due to her continuous silence, he decides to name her Mouse and treats her like a sister after she is adopted by his family. The bond of affection grows between them throughout the passing years and while Mouse is glad to have a brother, Sigurd grows to love her.

When Sigurd
Mrs Mallott
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 14, 2012 rated it liked it
The writing is done in short chapters so that things move along very quickly, much in the way James Patterson does his chapters in his teen/young adult books. Also like Patterson, at least in his Witch Wizard books, the story is told in two different texts, every other chapter. This can be confusing at times but not to badly. I personally do not mind short chapters and fast paced books.

This is my first book by this author and I liked it enough to give him another try. The book was not quite wha
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
This novel was all about the flavor- it had a Norse feel, the threat of the Viking-like marauding tribe of the "Dark Horse", the use of magic, but with no real purpose. the plot feels unconnected, full of unexplained turnings that in the end are really not very satisfying.

The story centers on Sig, a boy living in a coastal village, and his adopted sister, Mouse, who was found living among wolves and who can speak to animals (essentially.) They find a box with... stuff? magic? Memories?... in it,
** For the full review please check out **

I was intrigued to read this book as I have read another of his books, the first in the Raven Mysteries series, and I was not let down. He is fast becoming one of my favourite authors.

The story is told in two books and with two different texts, one style of text is told from the pov of Sigurd and the other is the Narrator. At first this is a little confusing. Sigurd’s pov starts before the Narration of the book and fills us in on eve
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I could barely put this book down! Adventure, mystery, fear, and violence were on every page. There really was not a dull moment in the book. Sedgwick sets the story in a pre-literate society located on a remote outpost of civilization. The environment and the names of the characters conjure up Scandinavia or Germany, or maybe even Britain. However, the introduction of magic pretty much negates the actual historicity making such speculation moot.

The writing style is a bit difficult. Sedgewick ju
Sep 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Linden by: The author's other work

Before there was written language, Sigurd's tribe, the Storn, lived a traditional life by the sea. Fishing and farming fed them, songs made a record of their history, healers kept most of them well, and the Lawspeaker gave them right actions and helped them honor the luck of successful lives.

This is how it was until Horn took the Lawspeaker's work from Sigurd's father. By chance some time later, they found a young girl living in a cave with wolves. Sigurd's family took her in and named her Mouse
Mar 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, l-teens-fiction
This story is about a boy called Sigurd and his 'sister' Mouse. Mouse is a girl who was found with wolves and they had taken back to the village with them, and asked Sig to be her brother. The first half of the book is about the discovery of a box. A simple wooden box which seems to be empty inside. The second half of the book is about The Dark Horse. These are warriors. It isn't until the very last few chapters of the book where it all falls into place and you find out who Mouse really is.

Shaz Lewins
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the second book of Marcus Sedgwick the other one was Floodland(If you loved this book give Floodland a read)I loved this book and i loved how you had different chapters for Sigurd's . I only finshed today. The ended kinda spruised me I didn't think Mouse was like that. Half way in the book I thought Mouse was going to trun into a wolf but I am happy she didn't. I knew Sif & Sigurd was going to get married. It really shocked me of how many people died and how they died. This a must r ...more
Jan 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in an ancient community in the far north, this book is more about the relationship and mystery revolving around a foundling and her foster brother. When crops go bad and the village is threatened by raiders, it is Mouse whose dark secret decides the fate of everyone. The chapters are short so this is a fast read and there is a small amount of dark magic going on that gives the story a fantastic edge. All the characters make mistakes and several of them take some unexected turns. A good read.
Jan 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a nice very fast-paced read. The story revolves around Sig and Mouse.
It underpins the cruelties of human nature such as the loss of those you love, betrayal from those you trust but also brings out leader-like qualities and courage to withstand the pain and continue on as demonstrated by protagonist, Sigmund. The ending was beautifully crafter, almost lyrical in a sense. Overall, a nice and enjoyable read.
Apr 19, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was let down significantly by the overly ambitious and completely pointless narrative switches. The characters were flat and remained undeveloped and the story was, on the whole, weak. The seting was confusing, and explained poorly, and the "Dark Horse" was never really mentioned other than in phrases such as "we thought they were just a story".
I have to admit I am slightly disappointed :(
Neill Smith
Aug 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Sigrud’s tribe discovers a small girl living with some wolves and bring her to live with their tribe. Mouse, as she is called, has an affinity with wild animals that is almost magic. Although she is an outcast to the tribe it is her powers that become increasingly important to the destiny of Sigrud’s people.
Sarah Bishopp Velez
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is definitely not as good as Sedgwick's Midwinterblood (it's hard to beat), but certainly a great read. It has a similar feel to Midwinterblood; it's dark, mysterious, and has that slight tang of an old tribal folktale. However, it is rather straightforward, as in you can kind of guess what's coming. Still, a recommended read.
S.C Alley -  Author
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A very short book which is easy to read and quite addictive. It is in two parts and the actual appearance of The Dark Horse only truly occurs in Part Two. I would have been interested in reading an Author's Note to learn of what inspired the book but there wasn't one. This was a sad, touching and violent tale with a great twist. As ever, Marcus Sedwick has given us a great read!

Un libro bastante corto y muy flojo. Me pasó que mientras leía, tenía la sensación de que en algún punto la historia se tornaría más interesante, arrancaría en forma, vaya; sin embargo, nunca fue así. Lás páginas se acaban, dejando detrás situaciones no resueltas y multiples sinsabores, entre ellos que los personajes en su conjunto sean totalmente anticarismáticos y predecibles.
Khairah Boukhatem
Simple yet brilliant, this tale of war and home has truly warmed my heart. I have come to the conclusion this book is much like a folk tale with the undertones of Norse myth. A quick yet fulfilling read, I would highly recommend this for anyone with a taste for magic, morals or who simply wants to seek the meaning of home.
Sep 03, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anybody who likes to have a little fantasy
Shelves: fantasy
I liked this book and still I didn't quite like it. It had so much in it that it could even have become a much longer story but now it felt like Sedgwick didn't have energy to keep writing it and just stopped in the middle of everything. I think that he could have carried the story so much more so I'm a bit disappointed that he decided to end it at this point.
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Marcus Sedgwick was born in Kent, England. Marcus is a British author and illustrator as well as a musician. He is the author of several books, including Witch Hill and The Book of Dead Days, both of which were nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award. The most recent of these nominations rekindled a fascination with Poe that has borne fruit here in (in The Restless Dead, 2007) the form of "The Hea ...more
More about Marcus Sedgwick