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The Shadowy Horses

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The Shadowy Horses

ratings:
4/5 (89 ratings)
Length:
502 pages
8 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Oct 2, 2012
ISBN:
9781402258718
Format:
Book

Description

New York Times and USA Today Bestseller!

"Brooding and atmospheric … lovers of all things Scottish are going to adore this work."—RT BOOK REVIEWS

"Ms. Kearsley has woven archaeology, history, mystery, the paranormal, and love together, to create a wonderful story."—RENDEZVOUS

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 Legion and is convinced he's finally found it—not because of any scientific evidence, but because a local boy has "seen" a Roman soldier walking in the fields, a ghostly sentinel who guards the bodies of his long-dead comrades.

Here on the windswept shores, Verity may find the answer to one of the great unsolved mysteries of our time. Or she may uncover secrets someone buried for a reason.

"Like something out of the pages of Daphne du Maurier."—Daily Express

Publisher:
Released:
Oct 2, 2012
ISBN:
9781402258718
Format:
Book

About the author

Susanna Kearsley is a New York Times, USA TODAY, and Globe and Mail bestselling author and former museum curator who loves restoring the lost voices of real people to the page, interweaving historical intrigue with modern suspense. Her books, published in translation in more than twenty countries, have won the Catherine Cookson Fiction Prize, RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, a RITA Award, and National Readers’ Choice Awards, and have finaled for the UK’s Romantic Novel of the Year and the Crime Writers of Canada’s Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel. She lives near Toronto. Visit her at SusannaKearsley.com or follow her on Twitter @SusannaKearsley.


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Inside the book

Top quotes

  • Catherine Cookson Fiction prize, Susanna Kearsley’s writing has been compared to Mary Stewart, Daphne du Maurier, and Diana Gabaldon.

  • The Irish horses of the sea, coming to gather their dead.

  • To Fortune, Who Brings Men Home.


Reviews

What people think about The Shadowy Horses

4.1
89 ratings / 38 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (2/5)
    Far more of a romance than suspense or historical. Not as good as her others.
  • (4/5)
    Someone recommended Kearsley’s books as being in a similar vein to Mary Stewart’s and this book is most delightfully Mary-Stewart-ish. From the opening paragraph, I was convinced that I was going to love it:The bus had no business stopping where it did. We should have gone straight across the Coldingham Moor, with Dunbar to the back of us and the English border drawing ever nearer, but instead we stopped, and the shaggy-faced cattle that lifted their heads on the far side of the fence appeared to share my surprise when the driver cut the engine to an idle. Verity Grey is offered a job on an archaeological dig near a fishing town in Scotland. Her eccentric boss is convinced that the site is a Roman marching camp made by the Ninth Legion but for the dig to receive university support, he needs more evidence than a boy’s reports of seeing a ghostly sentinel.This has atmosphere: history, scenery and mystery. I was fascinated by the historical details about the Romans, I enjoyed vivid depiction of Eyemouth, and there was enough suspense to keep me intrigued without becoming too creepy or disturbing. If there must be ghosts, then this is one approach I don’t mind.I also enjoy reading about characters who are intensely passionate about what they do. If Verity hadn’t remarked that her mother despairs of her impulsiveness and habit of speaking to strangers, I could easily believe that she was the daughter of a heroine from one of Stewart’s earlier novels. She’s the right age, and she’s similarly smart and kind and adventurous. Then there is the romance, which mostly simmers away in the background and is comfortably predictable obvious. These two people are clearly well-suited and I liked the sense that those around them are -- quietly, amusingly, supportively -- well aware of this.I would have loved this even more had the ending had addressed a few things in more detail -- as if it was a couple of scenes and three conversation short of being perfect -- but it was still very satisfying.I’d always felt a wistful sense of envy for my colleagues who broke open long-sealed tombs, or for film heroes who scraped about in the dirt for twenty seconds before pulling out some rare bejewelled and golden statue, carefully preserved, intact.Almost everything I’d ever touched -- with the notable exception of one small military dagger -- had come to me in pieces, dull with dirt and worn with age.
  • (3/5)
    Roman ghosts in Scotland. I didn't even mind very much how damn precious the narrator is (she's so proper and annoying most of the time), it's like I ordered up a book tailor made for me and it had Roman ghosts and took place in Scotland. *shrugs*
  • (3/5)
    I didn't like this one as much as The Winter Sea. Still good, but seemed to end rather quickly.
  • (5/5)
    Another great paranormal historical romance by Susanna Kearsley. A well-constructed plot, interesting characters, good history, and good romance made for a perfect travel book.
  • (4/5)
    Enjoyed it very much! Atmospheric & enjoyable characters, with unexpected twists!
  • (5/5)
    Excellent book! Love this author! Kearsley brings the best of authors like Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt with excellent character development and setting.
  • (3/5)
    While I dearly missed the whole "time-travel" element that I adore so much in her other books I have read, I really enjoyed this one. My only complaint is there wasn't enough romance for my usual taste. But if you don't care about that, and are looking for a great story with wonderful writing and a good bit of history, then I highly recommend this book.
  • (4/5)
    Another story focusing on the lost Ninth, with romance and psychic abilities thrown in.
  • (3/5)
    I just finished my first Susanna Kearsley's novel,The Shadowy Horses. I gave it three out of five Shelfari stars. Although many love her novels, I was less than ecstatic.

    Verity Grey, a freelance archaeologist, has been employed by a wealthy archaeologist who has spent a lifetime searching for what happened to missing ancient military garrison known as the Ninth Roman Legion. Recent evidence seems to indicate that a southern Scottish coastal fishing village may the final resting place of the Ninth. However, shortly after Verity's arrival she senses danger in the air. This feeling is only strengthened after the housekeeper's young son, who possesses a "second sight" sees a lone Roman sentinel walking in the fields. The estate's pets are also squeamish. When problems begin occurring with the expedition's computers and archaeological gear are misplaced, Verity begins suspecting the Sentinel.

    Although the novel was enjoyable, I wasn't enthralled with it. The author seemed to be struggling deciding which genre her novel was - is it a ghost story, a mystery or a romance. I felt that there was no particular plot elements which defined it.

  • (5/5)
    Verity Grey is working on a dig in Scotland for an eccentric archaeologist, Peter Quinnell, who has been looking for evidence of the missing ninth legion of an ancient Roman army for many years, with little success. Her ex-boyfriend, Adrian is also on the same project, as well as an attractive local Scot, Davy. They have little proof that the excavation is going to turn up their desired finds, little support from the academic community, and ghostly presences to complicate things further....as well as Verity's own feelings for Davy.

    If you like archaeology and ghost stories, then this is your book. I thought this was an excellent story. I love a good mystery combined with the supernatural. This had both and they blended well. There was also a romantic thread through it, which was refreshing and not over done. The Scottish atmosphere throughout the book was charming, and made it all the more interesting. There was just enough Scott's brogue in it to make it realistic. I would give it 10 stars if it was possible...but in lieu of that...5 well deserved stars.
  • (3/5)
    I've read two books by Susanna Kearsley and they followed a somewhat similar theme with parallel stories involving the past and the present. This book was different in there was no time travel (physically or otherwise) and no secondary story. There was a bit of the supernatural involved however. I did enjoy this one but not as much as her other books. Three and a half stars.
  • (5/5)
    Every time I read Susanna's books, it's a mixture of being unable to stop and not wanting it to stop. I've loved every one of her books and have added this one to the list. It was an interesting mix of love, paranormal, mystery, laughter, adventure and the importance of honesty.

    This is the story about a British woman named Verity who is an Archaeologist and is lured to Scotland by a former love interest with the chance to possibly discover the Roman Ninth Legion. Things are not what they seem though and the further she gets pulled into this mystery, the harder it is for her to pull away including a ghostly Sentinel who seems to have developed a protectiveness towards Verity.

    Along the way, she finds herself falling for the tall dark Scotsman David who is a confusing mix of easy going and yet brooding. She soon learns the reasoning behind his broodiness and puts him into a different light.

    Just as all seems to be going well, a storm blows up and Verity realizes that the hints from the Sentinel were warning of a danger to those that she loves. Will be be in time to uncover the culprit and save them?

    You'll have to read to find out. Trust me, it's worth the wait!

  • (3/5)
    All The Shadowy Horses, an early career book from Susanna Kearsley that was re-released in 2012, shows some of the author's early promise, but feels sort of half baked compared to her later works. I felt like the story started off at a good pace, then stalled, with all of the characters simply suspended in development while the plot creeped along. Once it started moving, it wrapped up quickly, which made me wonder what the 200 pages in the middle of the book had been for!
  • (5/5)
    My first read by Susanna Kearsley did not disappoint. Even with a paper deadline looming over my head, I couldn't put this book down. Maybe it has something to do with my love for England, Scotland, and Ireland, but I immensely enjoyed the book and look forward to reading anything else by Ms. Kearsley that I can get my hands on.
  • (4/5)
    An archeological dig for a lost Roman legion near the tiny fishing village of Eyemouth, Scotland, this is a contemporary romance complete with ghosts, smugglers and family drama. Verity Grey, the "finds" manager for the dig finds herself with a ghostly admirer, as well as one of the more corporeal sort, lucky her.I picked this up because several reviewers indicated a writing style similar to Mary Stewart and Barbara Michaels. For me, at least in this book, Kearsley's style is evocative of both those authors, but lacks a certain something... suspense, perhaps? The sense of impending doom that characterizes both Stewart and Michael's romances is absent here. Not to mention, Kearsley's hero is far more likeable and less domineering than either Stewart or Michaels' men ever dreamed of being. Still, an enjoyable read and an author whose work I wouldn't balk at exploring further.
  • (3/5)
    A bit disappointing: too much fiction, not nearly enough archaeological fact or science. Still, it had a nice story and strong female character (almost).
  • (4/5)
    This was first my Kearsley book and I really enjoyed it. I wasn't sure exactly what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. The story had a touch of gothic, paranormal, historical & romance which are all favorites of mine. I'm looking forward to checking out what else she has to offer.
  • (3/5)
    I think I have read too many books involving ghosts (or read about them) I kept wondering if the sentinel here was a hottie and if they would hook up ;)

    Let us forget about that and get to the story. Verity is an archaeologist, she loves her job but wants back to digging. So in comes Scotland, and a mysterious job she knows nothing about. Plus an ex-boyfriend who tells her to come. She has a logical mind, she likes order, but it does prove that she has an open mind too. For that I liked her, sometimes you just have to believe (well after a while).

    On the team is also the eccentric boss who wants to find the missing Ninth Legion. Her ex-boyfriend who loves them and leaves them. A Scottish archaeologist who she starts to fancy. A woman who works at the estate and of course her son, the son who says he can see a Roman Sentinel guarding the hill. A nice group of people all in all.

    The book is part fiction, part tiny bit of suspense, part ghost story, part romance. A nice mix that works.

    The story is about the dig, about learning that there might be more to things than what we just see (and with a nice explanation too), and of course about finding evidence and getting recognition.

    I think I want to end with a poem :)

    HE BIDS HIS BELOVED BE AT PEACE

    by: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

    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
    Over my heart, and your hair fall over my breast,
    Drowning love's lonely hour in deep twilight of rest,
    And hiding their tossing manes and their tumultuous feet.
  • (3/5)
    A little bit ghost story and a little bit mystery with a cozy romantic element, The Shadowy Horses is a bit disappointing after having read Kearsley's much more exciting "Mariana." This is more or less your typical archaeologists-poking-around-old-roman-site-find-more-than-they-bargained-for type story. As a former archaeologist, these can be painful to read, but I have to admit Kearsley did her homework and I didn't cringe at the way she portrayed the archaeological process.Kearsley is a good writer, and the story is entertaining and clips along. I just felt the whole punch of the plot was a little lacking, and this was more of a cozy love story than a true ghost story. The love story was predictable and ending wasn't terribly satisfying, but for a light read I liked it overall.
  • (5/5)
    Once Susanna didn't disappoint. She delivers an amazing book, with an alternative to what happened with the Ninth Legion (Hispana) and a good plot that leaves you wanting to visit Eyemouth.
    Having visited the places she mentions (Berwick, Eyemouth, London, Dunbar), and knowing how Scots and Irishmen are, I was happy with how she makes you feel the place. You believe it and you can see she knows what she's talking about and didn't just choose the places because they sounded pretty.
  • (5/5)
    As with all of Kearsley's novels, I thoroughly enjoyed Shadowy Horses. Utterly delightful, engaging and whimsical, I couldn't put it down. The archaeological aspect of the novel was fascinating, and even though I kept expecting someone to travel back in time (as per previous novels) I wasn't disappointed when no one did. Love love love. Eagerly awaiting the next book - spring 2013!
  • (3/5)
    I didn't like this one as much as The Winter Sea. Still good, but seemed to end rather quickly.
  • (2/5)
    Nugae (noun: fem, plural): Latin, "trifles"When Latin poets call their works 'nugae', it's self-deprecating. Their works are anything but trifles. This work, however, was all nugae. For a book about the search for the lost legion, I don't feel like I learned anything about the Roman military, or archaeology, or Latin for that matter. The plot was subsumed by the mediocre love story. The ending felt rushed, and the whole was unsatisfying. There was little character development, and the shadowy horses of the title were under used. Fluff.
  • (5/5)
    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 time, and this is no exception. If I was impressed after reading Mariana, I am entering full-on fan mode after finishing this offering from Kearsley in less than a day. Taking on the well-known mystery and search for the Roman Ninth Legion in Scotland, I was hooked early on. I simply could not put The Shadowy Horses down, but was conversely reluctant to finish once I was firmly engrossed in the novel.Kearlsey's descriptive (and it is very descriptive - from the countryside to the "not-posh" sitting room, Kearlsey crafts an easily imagined setting) and detailed style is present and used with a dab hand from the first chapter, to the benefit of both the locale and for the wide array of characters on the page. Both suspenseful and engrossing, each aspect of the novel, from the mystery to the romance to the supernatural, were all summarily well-handled and solid, with none detracting from the streamlined plot. These were characters who came alive for me as a reader, all with varying degress of characterization, as well as ones who made me care about each of them. This is a dynamic cast, with each character fully distinct, and, by and large, even with psychometric/psychic Robbie, one that doesn't strain credulity or irritate the reader. I do wish there had just slightly more of an antagonistic presence for most of the novel, but the minor conflicts and issues that were there, were enough to create increasing tension throughout the story.The first person POV of protagonist Verity Grey makes it easy to root for her through her struggles to accept what is going on in Eyemouth; her inner monologue reinforces the first impression of an impulsive, smart, and very independent woman who can more than handle herself. The strength of the novel, much like with Mariana, lies with main character Verity. The other elements of the novel are well-done and unique, but it is Verity who takes the cake (with some help from an accent Scotsman with a love of history!), and who will stick out in my memory. I appreciated the restraint with which the author took to the romance - it's a large part of the novel, but it doesn't drown the plot in melodrama or too much of a love triangle.The final conflict (and revelation of the antagonist) was a bit dry (ha!), but a nicely rounded denouement makes up for that slight misstep. Though Mariana will remain my favorite Kearsley (for now!), I loved The Shadowy Horses and think that this is an author that continues to impress and grow as a writer. This is an author who is very talented with crafting believable characters, with creating an atmospheric setting, and with making the past come to life. Well done and I can't wait for my next Kearsley read!
  • (5/5)
    This is the first book by Susanna Kearsley I've read, and it exceeded my expectations. I loved everything about this story. The author created the perfect Gothic atmosphere that pulled me in.Verity Grey is an archaeologist hired for a dig in Eyemouth, a village on the east coast of Scotland. Her new boss has spent his life searching for clues about the fate of the Ninth Spanish Legion, a Roman legion who disappeared possibly in Britain during the early 2nd century. He's believes the answers to the mystery are buried in a field on Rosehill Estate.Verity is excited to be offered a job on the project, until she finds out the only proof comes from a young boy said to have second sight. Little Robbie has seen the ghost of a Roman Sentinel roaming the field, which of course, Verity is skeptical about at first. But it's not long before she can sense his presence too.The mysterious ghost isn't the only man keeping her at Rosehill. She's also rather taken by a handsome Scottish archaeologist and professor named David Fortune. Honestly, I'm not sure which one I fancied more, David or the ghost! They both gave me goosebumps.THE SHADOWY HORSES was a captivating blend of ghost story, mystery and romance. The pacing was steady, not fast or slow, but I stayed hooked up to the last word. I enjoyed the entire cast of characters, each one with a distinct personality and something important to contribute to the plot. I also enjoyed the archaeological tidbits on how digs are organized and carried out. THE SHADOWY HORSES is going on my favorites list for this year, and I'm so pleased to have discovered Susanna Kearsley's amazing writing talent.Review copy courtesy of Sourcebooks via NetGalley.
  • (4/5)
    I will start by writing that I have loved everything I've read so far from Ms. Kearsley and I've now added another book from her to that list. While the others I've read were time travel novels - which I unabashedly adore - this one takes place all in present time. But that doesn't mean that the past doesn't play a significant role in the novel.Our heroine, Verity (I love that name!) is hired on to a rather mysterious archaeological dig in Scotland. There she will be working with an old lover and the owner of the site who insists that the famed lost Ninth Legion of Rome is buried on his land. He feels this because a local boy with "the sight" has been seeing a legionary wandering the fields at night. Also on the dig is a very handsome local man who finds himself very interested in Verity.This was just a wonderful read full of great characters, a romance that grows slowly and a ghost that does not dominate the tale. That was my only disappointment - there was not enough of the spectral Sentinel. Since he was so integral to the plot I was left wanting more of him and his story. That being said, though I did enjoy the book overall and the depiction of small town Scotland was truly interesting. The characters were well defined and I didn't see the secrets coming; I like a good mystery like that. Ms. Kearsley writes in a very easy to read style that brings her places very much to life.
  • (3/5)
    Not my favourite of Susanna Kearsley's but still an enjoyable read.I found the beginning of the story to be overly descriptive in its establishment of the setting and characters. Not that it's a bad thing but the pacing remained unchanged throughout the novel. I was anticipating a transition in the plot but got nothing of the sort. The book was more explanation than storytelling and it became tedious after awhile. I had high expectations for this book, maybe a little too high. But that's only understandable after finding both Mariana and The winter sea to be excellent reads. The shadowy horses, however, fell flat in comparison.The characters were also slightly disappointing. Verity, is portrayed as a difficult woman. Which part? Independent. Yes. But difficult? That's an entirely different story. And also, must we always be reminded that she dislikes breakfast? To be honest, I do not have anything against the characters. I just think that they're not all that interesting to read about and I believe that Ms Kearsley can do much better than this.All in all, a good read if you want to know more about the hard, unexciting work of an archeologist rather than the exaggerated glamour that is depicted in Hollywood movies.
  • (4/5)
    Verity Grey goes to Scotland to work on an archaeological dig that is located on an estate near the small fishing village of Eyemouth on the Scottish coast. Peter Quinell, who owns the property and is running the dig, has some interesting theories about the property and the mysterious disappearance of the famous Ninth Roman Legion. He is looking for some evidence to support his theory, something more scientific than the words of a young boy, who apparently has "the sight", and claims to see and talk to a ghost who is a Roman Sentinel.As Verity begins her work, she becomes more and more engaged in the mystery, and she hears ghost horses at night and the Sentinel ghost begins to follow her around, seemingly trying to tell her something. I had read that Susannah Kearsley was similar to Barbara Michaels and Mary Stewart, other authors of ghostly romantic suspense, and having read and enjoyed both of those authors, I decided to try Shadowy Horses. It was very similar to works of those authors, and I enjoyed the suspenseful tale. It had all the elements that are the hallmark of those gothic romances...a rugged, handsome hero; a psychic child; a creepy ghost in a gothic setting, an interesting cast of diverse characters, and a smart, brave heroine. My only disappointment was that I thought that the plot was a little thin, but that didn't keep me from enjoying the Scottish dialogue and humor.
  • (4/5)
    I will start by writing that I have loved everything I've read so far from Ms. Kearsley and I've now added another book from her to that list. While the others I've read were time travel novels - which I unabashedly adore - this one takes place all in present time. But that doesn't mean that the past doesn't play a significant role in the novel.Our heroine, Verity (I love that name!) is hired on to a rather mysterious archaeological dig in Scotland. There she will be working with an old lover and the owner of the site who insists that the famed lost Ninth Legion of Rome is buried on his land. He feels this because a local boy with "the sight" has been seeing a legionary wandering the fields at night. Also on the dig is a very handsome local man who finds himself very interested in Verity.This was just a wonderful read full of great characters, a romance that grows slowly and a ghost that does not dominate the tale. That was my only disappointment - there was not enough of the spectral Sentinel. Since he was so integral to the plot I was left wanting more of him and his story. That being said, though I did enjoy the book overall and the depiction of small town Scotland was truly interesting. The characters were well defined and I didn't see the secrets coming; I like a good mystery like that. Ms. Kearsley writes in a very easy to read style that brings her places very much to life.