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The Shadowy Horses

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  20,349 ratings  ·  2,083 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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Caryn The setting of the book is modern, but before ubiquitous cell phones- so late 1990s to early 2000s.

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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  20,349 ratings  ·  2,083 reviews

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This was really good.

I love me some Roman history, and I've read more books set in the UK than anywhere else, so this book pretty much sold me at "female archaeologist searching for the lost ninth Roman legion in Scotland".

I probably would have given it a solid three stars for that alone, but with such a gorgeous setting, lush prose, wonderfully developed characters - including a few very grey side characters, a likable, brainy MC with integrity and nerve, and a love interest that you fully un
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
This is a decent, slightly old-fashioned romantic suspense novel (though the suspense here is pretty understated) with a ghostly twist. Verity Grey is an archaeologist who takes a job up in the Scottish Borderlands on a dig that maybe - just maybe - is the final resting place of the legendary lost Ninth Roman Legion. Verity's new boss is convinced of it, even though the evidence is murky at best. His reason? A local young boy with the Sight has seen a ghost of a Roman legionnaire stalking the gr ...more
Sarah Mac
- 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 this
Christy Hall
Aug 29, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a lover of history and archaeology. I always wished I could find an artifact of a bygone era in my backyard or while hiking in the wilderness. Deciding to read The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley was very easy. It checked all of my boxes: Roman history, archaeological dig in Scotland, supernatural goings-on, family drama and a bit of romance.

Verity Grey, a finder expert, takes an invitation from her ex-boyfriend to interview for a job in Eyemouth, Scotland. The job entails a potential d
Nov 10, 2012 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 tim
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
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
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
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.
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

He Bids His Beloved Be At Peace

I hear the Shadowy Horses, their long manes a-shake,
Their hoofs heavy with tumult, their eyes glimmering white;
The North unfolds above them clinging, creeping night,
The East her hidden joy before the morning break,
The West weeps in pale dew and sighs passing away,
The South is pouring down roses of crimson fire:
O vanity of Sleep, Hope, Dream, endless Desire,
The Horses of Disaster plunge in the heavy clay:
Beloved, let your eyes half close, and your heart beat
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
C.  (Never msg.  Just comment!  Email if private.)
I liked Susanna Kearsley’s third outing best! An archaeological site in Scotland is a sublime setting. Three stars don’t reflect how much I enjoyed this novel, which a few factors shaped. “The Shadowy Horses”, 1997, is about a disputed third-century Roman camp. The loveable landowner is rich but the university needs evidence to approve a student workforce. His proof is the neighbour’s son.... meeting a spirit from that legion!

The impact wavered because Susanna didn’t clarify any primary genre.
I have loved the Kearsley novels I had read up til this one, and while I don't know that I enjoyed this one quite as much, it was still a wonderful way to spend several evenings. The description calls it "brooding and atmospheric" and those are apt descriptors. This one is a re-print, and it does feel a bit dated, and not just because no one whips out their smart phone (I actually enjoyed that bit!), but rather there is something about the language. I really don't care for certain words, especia ...more
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
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 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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 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,
Sara (taking a break)
A story with a ghost and a child psychic wouldn’t generally appeal to me, but there is something very retro about Susanna Kearsley’s writing style that I enjoy. We meet her main character, Verity Gray, as she arrives at an excavation site in Scotland, where her new boss is attempting to find evidence of the elusive Ninth Roman Legion, and even from her initial bus ride into town, we know there will be more discovered here than old bones.

Kearsley's Scottish setting is charming, her romantic invo
2.5 rounded up to 3 stars.
Set in Scotland which automatically gives it a star.

Verity is called to assist in an archaeological site whose purpose is to find the elusive Roman Ninth Legion. I knew nothing about this so I was happy to go off on little Google tangents on my own as the story progressed. Plus the sprinkling of Latin and Scots is always welcome to my linguaphile heart.

Nice enough story. Contemporary gothic light with a dash of magic thrown in.

Quick summary of characters:
Verity mee
Someone recommended Susanna Kearsley (and this book by her specifically) as a nice option if looking for something in the vein of Mary Stewart. And it really does hold up. Delightful ambiance, charming Scots, and mysterious ghosts. I mean, really, what more do you need?

Well, maybe a more cohesive climax.

The story builds nicely with a slow-burn romance and hints of some danger just around the corner. But when the danger does come, it feels rather out of left field. I also didn't care much for t
Feb 07, 2014 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
Lark of The Bookwyrm's Hoard
Like Named of the Dragon (review), The Shadowy Horses reminds me of Mary Stewart’s novels, with a little less suspense and considerably more archaeology — not to mention a ghost. A Roman legionary, in fact, possibly from the legendary and ill-fated Ninth Legion, Legio IX Hispana. The Ninth Legion was stationed in Britain, and all but disappears from the historical record after 108 CE, though a few inscriptions suggest at least a detachment may have been at Nijmegen (Netherlands) after 120. The r ...more
Jan 20, 2012 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
May 26, 2010 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
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.
This was creepier than I expected, but I really liked it. Kearsley excels in Scottish settings, and it was a delight to see Rob as a child.
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, 5-star
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
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This, of the Kearsley novels I've read so far, is one of the most like a Mary Stewart read. It places a heroine in a setting new to her. In this case, she's from London and goes to Scotland to work at an archaeological dig. It introduces many and varied secondary characters who are well-drawn and realistic and not uni-dimensional. It supplies us with some great sexual chemistry and romance between the heroine and her love interest, but in a subtle and non-explicit way. There is also the hint of ...more
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2015 Reading Chal...: The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley 1 25 Jul 28, 2015 11:56PM  
Rosemary Sutcliff...: Another Author's Take on the Ninth Legion 2 20 Sep 27, 2014 05:58AM  
Round Lake Librar...: Shadowy Horses 33 22 Oct 15, 2013 12:57PM  
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New York Times, USA Today, and Globe and Mail bestselling author Susanna Kearsley is a former museum curator who loves restoring the lost voices of real people to the page, interweaving romance and historical intrigue with modern adventure.

Her books, published in translation in more than 20 countries, have won the Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize, RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, a RITA Award, and Nat

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