The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
The Horse and His BoyShasta lives by the sea in Calorman with his father. His father, a poor fisherman, treats him very poorly. When a lordly soldier stops at their home one night, Shasta discovers the fisherman is not his father. He determines to run away. As he is leaving the house, the soldier’s horse speaks to him. Bree is a Narnian, and had been kidnapped when he was a foal. Bree and Shasta run away together toward the north and Narnia.
Along the way they meet another runaway couple. Aravis is the daughter of a rich man who has promised her to be the bride of an odious minister of the Calorman court. Hwin is the Narnian mare who is also trying to return to her land of birth. Reluctantly, the four join together as they ride north through Calorman and the capital city of Tashbaan.
They get separated in Tashbaan. Shasta is taken in by a Narnian King and Narnian Queen who are visiting. He hears their plan to sneak out of the city because they don’t trust the prince that Queen Susan refused to marry. With his own concerns, he ignores those plans and escapes from them and out of the city. Aravis is discovered by one of the girls she had grown up with. When she finally convinces her friend she has to escape Tashbaan, they sneak through the castle grounds. There, Aravis overhears a plan to invade the countries of the north and kidnap back Queen Susan. When she escapes she is able to meet the horses at the prearranged place. Finally, in the tombs at the north of the city, the four are reunited.
Now they have a greater urgency to get to Narnia and Archenland. They want to warn them of the coming attack. It is difficult to get across the great desert. They hear lions. The only safe crossing to get to water quickly takes them out of their way. But they are determined.
I love to visit C.S. Lewis’ land of Narnia. The Horse and His Boy is a fun fantasy of bravery, courage, and learning. It has the proper villains and heroes. The final come uppance of Prince Rabadash, the man who vows to wed Queen Susan, is fitting and fun for any child to believe.
This book is still one of the last two I would choose to read, and probably would not have re-read if it hadn’t been part of the wonderful series. Yet each time I reread it, I enjoy it all over again. You will, too.