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Ride the Gods Own Stallion, To
     

Ride the Gods Own Stallion, To

by Diane Lee Wilson, Dorling Kindersley Publishing Staff
 
"Better that you'd never been born." His father's bitter words torment Soulai. Even worse, he fears they may be true. Soulai isn't brave like his sister. He isn't an accomplished harness maker like his father. He is just a boy who likes to sculpt clay horses—so unimportant that his own father has sold him into slavery.

But in Nineveh, the seat of the ancient

Overview

"Better that you'd never been born." His father's bitter words torment Soulai. Even worse, he fears they may be true. Soulai isn't brave like his sister. He isn't an accomplished harness maker like his father. He is just a boy who likes to sculpt clay horses—so unimportant that his own father has sold him into slavery.

But in Nineveh, the seat of the ancient Assyrian kingdom, Soulai gets his first glimpse of a stallion named Ti; a horse so regal he bears the mark of the gods. Like Soulai, Ti is owned by the spoiled young Prince Habasle. And like Soulai, the stallion's courage is questioned. Prince Habasle believes that Ti's strange markings promise a future of greatness—a grand destiny liked to Habasle's own determination to become king. As Soulai is suddenly swept into the dangerous world of palace intrigue where his life, as well as Ti's, is put at risk, he can only wonder: Will he find the courage to make a mark of his own?

Diane Lee Wilson brings to life an exotic, fascinating world in this moving and inspiring epic adventure of two very different boys and the horse that stands between them; three unlikely allies, each bound for his own kind of greatness.

Another robust, horsey historical tale from the author of I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade, this one set in and around Nineveh, capital of the Assyrian Empire. Sold into slavery by his father to pay a debt, Soulai transfers his delight in making horses from clay to caring for the real things in the royal stables. Ti, a spirited, parti-colored stallion with marking thought to indicate a god's approval, becomes a particular favorite. Then Soulai's arrogant owner, young Prince Habasle, takes Ti out on a disastrous lion hunt. Returning with terrible wounds and a broken spirit, the horse becomes a link between the proud, ambitious, tough-minded prince and his sensitive, outraged slave. While Ti gradually regains his health and inner fire, Habasle and Soulai reluctantly learn to depend on each other as they face life-threatening challenges in the wild, and in the intrigue-rife palace. Both young people grow and develop considerably in the course of their shared adventures, becoming in the end not conventional friends but respectful associates, with qualities in common but very different paths to follow. It's gripping, vivid storytelling, and Ti is a strong a presence in the story as any of the human characters. (Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review))

Author Biography: Diane Lee Wilson is an accomplished horsewoman and the author of I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade, which was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and was awarded a silver medal by the Commonwealth Club of California. She was selected as a Publishers Weekly Flying Start, and a starred Publishers Weekly review praised the novel as "No ordinary horse story, Wilson races out of the gate with her debut...horse livers or not, readers will be riveted." To Ride the Gods' Own Stallion was inspired in part by the powerful bas-relief sculptures discovered in the ruins at Nineveh, which chronicle the exploits of the warrior kings of ancient Assyria. Ms. Wilson lives with her husband and daughter in Escondido, California.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fans of Wilson's gripping debut novel, I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade, may be disappointed in her latest horse tale, set in 640 B.C. Assyria. As the novel opens, 13-year-old Soulai broods over his negligence in allowing a lion to claim one of the goats in his family's herd; he was too busy sculpting clay horses to notice the predator. That same day, the burning lamp he had used to admire his sculptures causes a fire that destroys his family's home, as well as some expensive pieces that his father, a harness maker, was working on. His father sees no choice but to offer Soulai in payment to Jahdunlin, whose harnesses were destroyed; Jahdunlin in turn sells Soulai to the Assyrian prince Habasle to work as a stable hand. Unfortunately, neither Soulai nor Habasle is a character readers will sympathize with; Soulai is careless, Habasle cruel, and the journey through the lengthy novel grows tiresome. The setting here is not as tactile as 14th-century Mongolia was in Wilson's previous novel; even Ti, the central horse character, is weak-willed and unlikable. The author seems to set up a prince/pauper situation with repeated references to the likeness of slave owner and slave, yet nothing ever comes of it. The change of heart in Soulai, Habasle and Ti (and other minor characters, such as the royal stable master, Soulai's supervisor) comes too belatedly and unconvincingly to hold most readers' attention. Ages 9-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA
Caring for the magnificent stallion Ti is the only thing that makes life bearable for Soulai, a slave to the king in ancient Assyria. The king's young son, Habasle, however, has plans for Ti. First he uses Ti to challenge a lion, an encounter in which Ti is almost killed. He then steals the stallion at night in an effort to escape from rivals who want to kill Habasle. To protect Ti, Soulai follows Habasle. Becoming weaker, the injured Habasle asks Soulai to ride Ti to the palace to find the evidence needed to prove that he is the rightful heir. Soulai and Ti encounter danger and must again "face the lion" before they complete their mission and save Habasle. This coming-of-age story is more adventure tale than historical fiction. The author shows how Soulai's devotion to Ti influences his development into the kind of man who will face danger to protect what he loves and do what is right. Although characters are well drawn and the author's language is beautifully descriptive, the period might not hold interest. If readers can accept the obvious mistreatment of animals and slaves as a part of ancient times, they will be rewarded with an exciting adventure. Because the stallion is an integral character, the book also should appeal to those who like horse stories. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2000, DK Ink, 276p. Ages 12 to 15. Reviewer: Chris Carlson VOYA, February 2001 (Vol. 23, No.6)
School Library Journal
Gr 6-8-Thirteen-year-old Soulai is devastated when his father gives him to a trader to pay for a harness ruined in a fire. Told that he would be enslaved for five years, the boy thinks his life is over. Taken to Nineveh, where in 640 B.C. Ashurbanipal is king, he is bought by Habasle, one of the king's sons who desperately wants to be the next ruler. As a stable boy, Soulai has in his care the magnificent horse Ti, marked with the wings of the god Ninurta on his flank. When Habasle causes both physical and psychological injuries to Ti, Soulai is determined to protect the animal from further damage. In a plot full of violence, action, occasional strong language, and intrigue, Soulai follows Habasle and Ti as the young prince tries to outwit the forces determined to stop him from what he feels is his destiny. The book is full of vivid description, good character development, and careful attention to certain literary details. At the same time, the plot is too often driven by convenience and coincidence-some seemingly debilitating wounds heal suddenly, people appear on the scene at exactly the wrong time, and life-threatening situations that defy the imagination are endured. Still, Soulai is a character with grit and purpose, and readers can only be delighted when he gains his freedom and finds his niche as an artist carving the great Assyrian relief sculptures.-Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Another robust, horsey historical tale from the author of I Rode a Horse of Milk White Jade (1998), this one set in and around Nineveh, capital of the Assyrian Empire. Sold into slavery by his father to pay a debt, Soulai transfers his delight in making horses from clay to caring for the real things in the royal stables. Ti, a spirited, parti-colored stallion with markings thought to indicate a god's approval, becomes a particular favorite. Then Soulai's arrogant owner, young Prince Habasle, takes Ti out on a disastrous lion hunt. Returning with terrible wounds and a broken spirit, the horse becomes a link between the proud, ambitious, tough-minded prince and his sensitive, outraged slave. While Ti gradually regains his health and inner fire, Habasle and Soulai reluctantly learn to depend on each other as they face life-threatening challenges in the wild, and in the intrigue-rife palace. Both young people grow and develop considerably in the course of their shared adventures, becoming in the end not conventional friends but respectful associates, with qualities in common but very different paths to follow. It's gripping, vivid storytelling, and Ti is as strong a presence in the story as any of the human characters. (Fiction. 11-13)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780789468024
Publisher:
DK Publishing, Inc.
Publication date:
11/01/2000
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
244
Product dimensions:
5.86(w) x 8.44(h) x 1.01(d)
Lexile:
810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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