The Horsemasters

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Set way before the mists of time, when humankind was taking its first defiant steps to master the earth, this brilliantly imagined tale returns to the same setting of Joan Wolf's first novel of prehistory, Daughter of the Red Deer. The tribes who call themselves the Kindred and live in the lush green valleys of Southern France have already encountered the rivalries and desires that divide societies while uniting passionate men and women with a force no power, ancient or modern, has ever deigned to break. One of ...
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Overview

Set way before the mists of time, when humankind was taking its first defiant steps to master the earth, this brilliantly imagined tale returns to the same setting of Joan Wolf's first novel of prehistory, Daughter of the Red Deer. The tribes who call themselves the Kindred and live in the lush green valleys of Southern France have already encountered the rivalries and desires that divide societies while uniting passionate men and women with a force no power, ancient or modern, has ever deigned to break. One of the special tribes among the Kindred, the Tribe of the Red Deer alone is still ruled by the priestess/chief called the Mistress. Through cabalistic rites in mysterious caves, she teachers her band to share in the sacred gifts of the Great Mother. But change is coming on the chill wind that howls through the stark Pyrenees. Alarming reports are being circulated during Kindred gatherings about a race of conquerors swooping down from the North. Yet the Tribe's Mistress, Arika, gives little credence to such wild stories. Her attention is captured by the ambition of the proud, handsome young Ronan, the son she gave away at birth; the charisma of the small, dark-haired girl, Nel, her dead sister's child whose extraordinary talents with animals and healing will someday make her a dangerous rival; and the lust of beautiful, laughing, sensual Morna, Arika's self-centered daughter who is intent on seducing Ronan, the one warrior forbidden to her because he is her half-brother. As ageless hungers for love and power become a catalyst in the battle for the tribe's destiny, Ronan is cast out. While struggling to form a tribe of his own, he undertakes a journey to an Eden-like secret valley and discovers that the fierce band of northerners has mastered the art of horsemanship and is moving south in a wave of conquest. The terrifying threat is that these brutal warriors will enslave the Kindred women, murder their men, and burn their villages to ashes. Ronan's challenge

In the lush green valleys of southern France, long before the mists of time, one special tribe among the Kindred is ruled by the Priestess Arika. But a feared change is coming, for the distant thunder of hooves brings terrifying whispers of a fierce race that threatens to enslave Kindred women.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Despite its ambitious and imaginative subject, Wolf's second novel set in a prehistoric era is disappointing. Beginning 50 years after Daughter of the Red Deer , it investigates the Magdelenian culture of Paleolithic Southern Europe through the story of Ronan and his bittersweet struggle for survival. His mother Arika, Mistress of the Tribe of the Red Deer, spurns Ronan at birth, foreseeing and fearing the authority he could grow up to wield over her people. Cast from his community, Ronan begins a fight for the preservation of his life and that of his Kindred, a quest that will carry him through treacherous mountain passes, across snow-laden valleys and along a River of Gold to a final encounter with the deadly Horsemasters. Unfortunately, the novel is pedestrian both in its uninspiring themes and in its repetitious, cliche-laden prose, which features stilted dialogue that tends to blur the characters, since they all sound the same. Numerous (if sometimes predictable) plot developments and a touching relationship between Ronan and his wife Nel provide some motivation to finish the book, but overall this is an uncompelling read. ( May )
Library Journal
With The Horsemasters , Wolf continues her saga of paleolithic people begun in Daughter of the Red Deer ( LJ 9/15/91). Set 50 years after that work, this new book tells the tale of Ronan, the charismatic son of the Mistress of the Red Deer, who is falsely accused of blasphemy and exiled from his tribe. Ronan faces two challenges: to form a tribe of his own with other misfits and outcasts and to weld this group into a fighting unit capable of leading the mountain tribes against a new threat--fierce tribesmen from the north whose mastery of the horse enables them to conquer at will. Characters have less depth here than in Wolf's previous title but are likable and easily carry the story forward. The well-constructed plot is suspenseful, and an appealing romance--a Wolf trademark--also adds interest. Fans of Jean Auel and Sue Harrison as well as readers of Daughter will enjoy this.-- Beth Ann Mills, New Rochelle P.L., N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451405050
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/1/1994
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 4.28 (w) x 6.76 (h) x 1.23 (d)

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