The Mark of the Horse Lord

The Mark of the Horse Lord

by Rosemary Sutcliff
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The Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff

“There was a smell of blood mingling with the smell of burning that still clung about scorched timber and blackened thatch, and a great wailing rose from the watching crowd. The old High Priest dipped a finger in the blood and made a sign with it on Phaedrus’s forehead, above the Mark of the Horse Lord.”
So began the ceremony that was to make young Phaedrus, ex-slave and gladiator, Horse Lord of the Dalriadain. Phaedrus had come a long way since the fight in the arena that gained him his freedom. He had left behind his old Roman life and identity and had entered another, more primitive, world—that of the British tribes in the far north. In this world of superstition and ancient ritual, of fierce loyalties and intertribal rivalry, Phaedrus found companionship and love, and something more—a purpose and a meaning to his life as he came fully to understand the significance of the Mark of the Horse Lord. 

First published in 1965, The Mark of the Horse Lord, set in second-century Britain, has been acclaimed by many readers as the finest of Rosemary Sutcliff’s many novels, imparting true insight into the nature of leadership, identity, heroism, loyalty, violence, and sacrifice.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781932425628
Publisher: Highlights Press
Publication date: 03/28/2006
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 289
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Rosemary Sutcliff wrote more than 40 novels for young adults, including Black Ships Before Troy, The Wanderings of Odysseus, and The Eagle of the Ninth; five adult novels, including Sword at Sunset; and several books of nonfiction. Scott O'Dell wrote over thirty books, mostly historical fiction, including the perennial bestseller Island of the Blue Dolphins.

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The Mark of the Horse Lord 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
krim More than 1 year ago
I first read this book in my twenties, and it remains in my top 10, no matter the intended audience. Her historical fiction is amazing.
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I read "Mark of the Horse Lord" when I was in middle school, and it became my idea of perfect historical fiction. Rosemary Sutcliff make ancient Britain move and breathe. You will find yourself rooting for Phaedrus as if he were a younger brother. Details of daily life along with a spellbinding story combine to create a trip to the past from the comfort of an armchair. The ending is perhaps a little sad for a younger child, but it's perfectly in keeping with the realities of those times. This story defines a hero as a hero should be defined -- not as the smartest or most beautiful or luckiest person, but as the leader that puts the good of his group above his own. A great message in our times where greed is admired over truth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book my children, wh are all now in their twenties, tell me they still remember vividly the summer that I read this book aloud to them, and that they wept when I read the ending (the ending will break your heart). It is the story of Phaedrus, a half-Briton, half-Greek slave who is sold to a gladiator school in Roman Britain when he is a teenager, and who wins his freedom in a gladitorial contest where he must kill his best friend. When he is given the Wodden Foil, he has no idea what he can do, now that he is free, because he has been a slave all his life. He is sought out by a group of Chiefta from the northern part of the British island, who are Irish Gaels in what will become Scotland. Phaedrus is almost identical in appearance to the former prince of the tribe, Midir, who was deposed by Lidiane, a ruthless Queen who had Midir blinded so that he could not be her successor. The chieftains are plotting her overthrow, and they coach Phaedrus to impersonate Midir and take over the tribe, to become the Horse Lord. He goes north, and learns to love his adopted people as he leads them, and he falls in love with Murna, Lidiane's daughter, who is forced to marry Phaedrus/Midir, but who gradually comes to love him as well. He leads the tribe in battle, and wins, and then disaster strikes. The story is fast-paced, and wonderfully researched. Sutcliff vividly recreates Roman Britain around 200 AD. You really feel that these people lived, and you come to know them as complex characters. Phaedrus especially remains in your memory long after the book is finished. A great book for both children and adults!!