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Blood Red Horse

Blood Red Horse

4.3 26
by K. M. Grant, Maggie Mash (Narrated by)

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Two Boys. One girl. The adventure of a lifetime.

You need three things to become a brave and noble knight:

  • A warhorse.
  • A fair maiden.
  • A just cause.

Will has a horse-a small chestnut stallion with a white blaze in his brow. Ellie is a fair maiden, but she’s supposed to marry Will’s older brother, Gavin. And as for the cause, King


Two Boys. One girl. The adventure of a lifetime.

You need three things to become a brave and noble knight:

  • A warhorse.
  • A fair maiden.
  • A just cause.

Will has a horse-a small chestnut stallion with a white blaze in his brow. Ellie is a fair maiden, but she’s supposed to marry Will’s older brother, Gavin. And as for the cause, King Richard is calling for a Crusade. The Knights of England must go to the Holy Land to fight. Will and Gavin will go. Blood will be shed. Lives will be taken. But through it all, two things will be constant-Ellie, and a blood-red horse called Hosanna...

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Based on the Third Crusade with England's King Richard I and the Muslim leader Saladin, this novel takes readers from the de Granvilles' Hartslove Castle to the bloody battlefields of the Middle East. It is a story of loyalty, honor, and nobility and centers around the lives of two brothers, Gavin and William; the fair maiden Eleanor whom they leave behind; and Will's beloved red horse. Readers are caught up in the bloody battles, with alternating chapters revealing what is happening on the "home front," and in the Christian and in the Muslim camps. Tying these stories together is the red horse, Hosanna, who is the book's most compelling and empathetic character. The futility of war is a theme throughout and readers will discover that, much like war today, combat in the 12th century had devastating consequences. The historical setting and the vocabulary may challenge younger readers but ensure that older ones will find the book a rewarding adventure, one not soon forgotten and one that lends itself to great discussion.-Denise Moore, O'Gorman Junior High School, Sioux Falls, SD Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A British import reminds us that there are historical potboilers for the young even as there are for their parents in this overblown and under-plotted first of a trilogy. From 1185 to 1193, readers follow hot-blooded and hard-hearted Gavin, his younger brother William, bright and compassionate, and their father's ward Eleanor. Thomas de Granville, the boys' father, goes on Crusade with King Richard Lionheart; his sons go with him and Eleanor stays behind to learn to read and fend off a slimy suitor. The most vivid character is Hosanna, the red horse of the title, a fierce, intelligent, graceful animal who carries William to Jerusalem and back during the Crusaders' battles with the leader Saladin (a historical trope handled far more compellingly by Catherine Jinks in Pagan's Crusade, 2003). The human characters have little depth or energy-21st-century cardboard cutouts set in a medieval frame. On the other hand, it is a page-turner, as Hosanna overcomes mistreatment, attack and injury to inspire both William and Saladin's assistant Kamil, into whose hands the horse briefly falls. (Historical fiction. 10+)

Product Details

Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:
De Granville Trilogy Series , #1
Edition description:
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

blood red horse


Walker & Company

Copyright © 2004 K. M. Grant
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8027-8960-9

Chapter One

Hartslove, 1185

On a warm summer's evening, a very angry twelve-year-old boy was leaning against a chestnut tree, tearing a leaf into small pieces and muttering to himself. He was dripping wet. Running toward him over the grass came a smaller girl, her skirts, which were extremely grubby, hitched up to her knees. Some distance behind her, panting, came a large elderly woman whose ability to move at any speed other than a bustling walk had long since vanished. The elderly woman was also hampered by a large bundle and the fact that she was shouting as she went, "Ellie! Eleanor! MISS ELEANOR!"

The girl took no notice. The boy, however, stopped scowling at his shoes and scowled at the approaching parties instead. The girl stood in front of him, wiped her hands on her skirt, and demanded, "What's going on, Will? The courtyard is in an uproar, and Gavin's nose is pouring blood."

Will glared at her. "I hate him."

"I hate him, too," Ellie agreed, although this was not strictly true.

She always tried to hate Will's older brother for Will's sake. But ever since she'd caught Gavin crying over a little dog of his that had died, she had found this quite hard. Gavin certainly could be mean. Catching her watching him as he mourned his dog, he had loudly ordered the corpse to bethrown into the moat. However, when Ellie ordered the body to be retrieved from the water, she had, rather unexpectedly, found Gavin beside her. She thought he would be angry. Certainly, he never spoke a word, and after the dog had been properly buried by the two of them in the animals" graveyard, he stalked off without a backward glance. But about a month later she found a small, delicately carved wooden dog on her pillow. She had kept it in a pocket ever since and, for some reason she could not really account for, never told Will about it. Without either she or Gavin saying a word, she just knew that Gavin wouldn't either.

Ellie tried to offer some comfort. "Gavin's a horrible bully," she said a little more forcefully than was strictly necessary. "But I still don't know what happened. How did you get so wet?"

"I'll tell you what happened, Miss Eleanor," said the nurse, who had caught up and, despite being very out of breath, seized William before he could escape. "But first things first. Now, Master William, let's be having you." She pulled an extremely uncooperative Will toward her and tried to wrap him in a rough blanket. "What a to-do!" she said as she began to fuss over his clothes.

"Well?" demanded Ellie, almost stamping her foot with impatience. The nurse waited to reply until she had finished tut-tutting over the state of William's shirt, which was torn in several places.

"Well, Miss Eleanor," she said at last, "Gavin saw Master William riding that great big stallion of Sir Percy's and called for everybody to come and look. That's all." William found it difficult to protest from underneath the blanket, but a voice squeaky with indignation made some muffled comments, and a pair of elbows dug into the nurse's ribs.

"It's no good, Master William," said the nurse, quite unmoved. Her bulk easily flattened the boy against the tree as she, with dexterity born of long practice, removed his wet tunic and handed him a dry one. "You'll catch your death if you don't change." She then neatly hooked William's legs from under him, whipped off his shoes, and removed his leggings. "Here. Put these on."

There was a scuffling and a flurry of activity. Oaths were uttered. The nurse raised her eyebrows. Eventually William emerged, his brown hair tousled and his humor blacker than ever.

"That's not exactly what happened," he retorted, furiously shaking himself free from the nurse's grasp. "Gavin did call for everybody to come and look at me riding Sir Percy's horse, but only to make fun of me. "If you want to see what a flea would look like on a dragon," William mockingly imitated his brother, "'come and look at Will.' And it was not only the knights who laughed," he went on, aiming a kick at the pile of wet clothes, "it was all the servants, too. Anyway, I got my own back if his nose is bleeding. Good."

"But how did you get so wet?" repeated Ellie. There was a short, rather painful, pause.

"Gavin threw me in the horse trough."

"A very bad boy, that Gavin," observed the nurse, wringing out William's sopping tunic and folding it neatly. "A very bad boy indeed."

"He threw you in the horse trough?" Ellie tried to compose her face and think of something appropriate to say. "Maybe he will go to hell."

Will looked at her pityingly. "You don't go to hell for that kind of thing."

"Yon might," said Ellie defensively. "How do you know?"

Will sighed. Here he was being dressed by an aged nurse and listening to a silly girl talking nonsense.

"I'm going to get Sacramenta," he said, trying to salvage some dignity out of the situation. "She needs to go out. And nobody can say I look like a flea on a dragon on her."

The nurse was exasperated. "But it's nearly dinnertime, Master William," she said. "We've company. Your father will be angry if you are gadding about on that horse instead of sitting down at the table."

"I don't care," said William, and began walking back toward the castle. Eleanor was unsure what to do, but then ran and skipped along beside him. The old nurse watched them both, picked up her bundle, and sighed. The children were growing wilder each day. They missed a mother. She pulled out a bottle from under her skirts and took a small sip. Then she tucked William's wet clothes firmly under her arm and set sail for the laundry.

William, with Ellie beside him, strode along in silence for a while. Then, in the distance, the little girl spied a line of monks in white habits filing slowly into the woods that stretched away to the west of the castle.

"Look," she said, "there are those monks who are building the new monastery. They must be coming away from their meeting with your father." She glanced side-ways at William, then continued, "I saw one of them squatting behind a tree this morning. When he saw me, he didn't know what to do, so he began chanting the Rule of St. Benedict with his eyes tight shut, as if his not being able to see me meant I couldn't see him."

Will seemed to take no notice, but Eleanor went on anyway.

"So I began to recite Our Lady's Psalter aloud until he was finished and couldn't squat any longer. He cleaned himself up with his eyes still tightly shut, but if I stopped, he opened them just a tiny bit to see if I had gone away." She glanced at William again. "It was not easy, I can tell you, reciting Ave Marias looking at a monk's behind."

Will's lower lip wobbled. Then suddenly he stopped walking, threw back his head, and shouted with laughter.

"Oh, Ellie," he said, "you really are a wicked girl. What would Father say?"

Eleanor pulled down the sides of her mouth and made her voice deep and gravelly.

"Sir Thomas would say: "Eleanor Theodora de Barre, you are the despair of my life. How are we to make a lady of you? Who on earth will marry you and run the great estates you have been left?'"

William, his good humor creeping back, took up the challenge.

"Ah, indeed, Sir Thomas," he sighed, now imitating the fussy treble of Piers de Scabious, the constable of his father's castle. "What are we to do with such a pair as Master William and Miss Eleanor? Truly, truly, children are nothing but heartache and nuisance."

The game was a familiar one. Soon the pair were engaged in most unchristian mimicry, and Will's outraged dignity began to feel less raw.

The horse-trough incident was by no means unusual. Like many brothers, William and Gavin were constantly at war. Their father, Sir Thomas de Granville, appeared almost to encourage it, and their mother, who might have exercised a restraining influence, had died in child-birth when William was six and Gavin was ten. Eleanor's own mother, a distant cousin of the de Granvilles, had also died in childbirth-at Eleanor's birth, as it happened-and her father had been killed fighting for the king. Passed for a while from relation to relation, for the last eight years Eleanor had been living with the de Granvilles, and William had become her special friend. However, even at ten years old, Ellie knew that it was for the land she had inherited as well as out of kindness that Sir Thomas had agreed to take her in. Occasionally she overheard conversations between Sir Thomas and Gavin in which her name was mentioned. She was too wise not to realize that her great wealth meant her destiny lay not with William but with Gavin. Elder sons must get the prize of the wife with the worldly goods. Ellie had always thought this very unfair.

But she was not thinking about that now. She had a much more pressing concern, and that was to stop William going out on his horse and missing dinner, since that would annoy Sir Thomas and spoil the whole evening. This was not only for William's sake. If the monks, whom Eleanor loved to tease, had been complaining about her, she wanted Sir Thomas kept sweet.

"Where will you take Sacramenta?" she asked innocently enough as William became silent once more. "She is so fast, you could probably gallop to the river bridge and back and still get something to eat."

"Perhaps," said William. He kicked at a stone. "Sacramenta can gallop, I know." He kicked the stone harder, then began what to Ellie was a familiar complaint.

"But the thing is, ranch as I love Sacramenta, I want a bigger horse, a destrier. I did not look like a flea on a dragon on Sir Percy's black stallion, and I could manage him very well. Nor do I look like a pea on Montlouis. Both those horses would be just the thing for me. Gavin got Montlouis when he was my age, I know he did. So why can't I have one of my own?"

Ellie made sympathetic noises, but since she hadn't ever had even the meanest, scruffiest pony to call her own, she also felt entitled to ask, "But isn't a light, speedy horse like Sacramenta just as good for you at the moment?"

"That's not the point," replied Will. "Of course she's good. But for tournaments, a courser like Sacramenta is just not, well, you know, well, just not ..."

"Not quite strong enough?" offered Ellie.

"That's it. That's it precisely. Sacramenta is lovely, but she is just not strong enough."

"I see what you mean," said Ellie, and went on: "Maybe you could talk to Sir Thomas about it this evening. He is always in a good mood when we have company. If we were to catch him at the beginning of dinner before he gets talking to the guests ..."

William considered. "You mean not go out on Sacramenta and instead put up with having to sit at the same table as Gavin?"

"Well," said Ellie, "if you are polite to Gavin, your father would see how grown-up you are. And don't forget, you did make Gavin's nose bleed with your fist."

William brightened. "So I did. Perhaps that is a good idea. Perhaps it is silly to cause trouble when I want something. Thanks, Ellie."

Ellie nodded as William grabbed her and, in just the way she loved, spun her round and beamed. "Race you back."

He set off with purpose. He was not going to be beaten again today, and Ellie, picking up her skirts and shaking out her auburn hair, ran happily after him. Everything would be sunny again.

William waited for her as he approached the drawbridge, and they galloped over it together, pretending to be horses snorting for their suppers. William told himself that he only played this game for Ellie's sake, but the truth was that horses, whether real or imagined, were his passion and he thought about little else. Whenever he ran, he imagined himself on a big, bold destrier, a warhorse clattering home from the battlefield. Even while William was at his prayers, his mind was in a field or a stable filled with horses that were all his own. The boy had studied the horses in the de Granville stud from birth. He knew more about them and loved them more than any of the servants, even Old Nurse of whom, for all his cursing and swearing, William was fonder than he would ever have admitted.

But now, after the excitements of the day, hunger suddenly overtook him. All he could think about was dinner. Taking care not to even glance at the offending horse trough, he chased Ellie up the stone steps leading to the great hall, hoping against hope that they had missed the lengthy grace so favored by Sir Thomas's chaplain, that there would be roast lamb, and that Gavin had a horrible headache.

Excerpted from blood red horse by K. M. GRANT Copyright © 2004 by K. M. Grant. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

K. M. Grant was born into a large family that often found itself caught up in historical events-usually on the losing side. Stories of high adventure, most of them true, were part of everyday life. Married with teenaged children, the author now lives in Scotland and works as a writer and broadcaster. Blood Red Horse is K. M. Grant's first novel.

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Blood Red Horse 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book to any one over the maturity level of 13
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a super, amazing book about fighting crusades and a beautiful horse named Hosanna. It is action-packed and I can't wait to read the next book!!! Usually I do not like war books, but in this book it is not as bloody and doesn't say much about people dying. When I started reading it I thought it was boring, but as I got farther into it, I loved it!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great story, not only for horse lovers, but for young readers in general. Although it is a war story, it isnt boring, yes they talk a lot about the camps, but i personally think its a good thing to get that image. The author really shows the bonds not only between the horse and the main character, but also between each character that comes along. I would definitly recommend this book to read for enjoyment, or for school.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, I am a total horse lover but you don't have to be to read this. I do think there was too much description of the camps and the war and wished there was more on the horses. Overall I liked this book and I can't wait to finsh the series!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is the best book ive ever read!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im sorry people but this wasnt a very good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Name: Sweetpaw &#9816 Gender: Female &#9816 Age: 6 moons &#9816 Rank: apprentice &#9816 Description: she has a petite, slender build, and her fur is blue-grey. Her paws an chest are white, and her eyes are an adorable light-grey &#9816 Personality: Contrary to her name, Sweetpaw is a ruthless killer, and has always dreamed of being an assasin. She is fearless, bold, cunnning, and though she doesnt look it, strong. &#9816 Kin: her older brother, Deathpaw &#9816 Crush: none, though she really admires Nightpaw's abusive skills &#9816 Kits: for now, she is devoted solely to fullfilling her goal. &#9816 Siggy: Sweet &#9818 <p> Name: Deathpaw &#9817 Gender: tom &#9817 Age: 7 moons &#9817 Rank: apprentice &#9817 Description: he is muscularly built, which is unusual for an apprentice. He is usually thought of as handsome, but he takes no notice od it. His fur is pitch-black, and his eyes are yellow and omnious. &#9817 Personality: he is quiet, an doesnt really talk a lot. He doesnthave as strong ambitions as his sister, but he does enjoy fighting. He can be a heartless killer, but he usually keeps to himself. His best battle tactics deal with speed, agility, and camoflauge. &#9817 Kin: his younger sister, Sweetpaw &#9817 Crush: none &#9817 Kits: umm... im only 7 moons... &#9817 Siggy: Death &#9812
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lived the historical base
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't think that they described the camps to much. I think that this book was meant to be a war story, not a horse story. If it was meant to be horse story, they would have either stuck with talking about the horses life the entire book or would have put it at the horse's point of view. This is a great book to read if you are into the crusades or medival England.
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Dying-Anthem More than 1 year ago
Absolutely enthralling. Action-packed and utterly entertaining. Not only will readers fall in love with Hosanna, and share the lives of Gavin, Will and Ellie, but their preconcieved notions of hope, love, frienship, and harship will be expanded. It is a wonderful ride for any person, really. No matter the age, the reader will fall in love with the characters, and, of course, with Hosanna, the beautiful Blood Red Horse.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I love horses and history, so this was a great book for me. Even if you don't love horses or history it's hard not to like this book! I can't wait for the next book, Green Jasper to come out!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book!!! The story is amazing and historically acurate. One of the main characters is a horse named Hosanna and everyone who reads this book will feel as close to this horse as the pages in the book itself! Pick it up and see for yourself!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an awesome book!! I cried, laughed and was very happy when I read this book! It's about the Crusades, but soooo much better than history books! I couldn't wait for the 2nd book in this series, Green Jasper, to come out! If you like fantasy and want a great book, read this one!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I admit, at first I wasn't too keen about reading a historical fiction novel, but my whole outlook has changed. Not only was the plot outstanding, but it put a human face on the Holy Wars and put it in the mind of a teen. I was greatly surprised at how she was able to grab me by the face and pull me into this book. Bravo!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the greatest book ever. It has everything: war, romance, violence, betrayal, intrigue, sorrow, despair, and hope. It is the ultimate novel. If you liked the movie Kingdom of Heaven, which starred Orlando Bloom, then you'll love this book.