You need three things to become a brave and noble knight:
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.
"The parallel coming-of-age stories are compelling, and Grant portrays both sides of the conflict without demonizing or idealizing either." Booklist
"This fast-paced story rides smoothly, except when twenty-first century ideas sneak into dialogue and motivations." Hornbook Guide to Children
"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." School Library Journal
Eliot, March 10, 2013 (view all comments by Eliot)
"Blood Red Horse", by K.M. Grant, is a historical fiction novel set in the Crusades. It follows two boys, one Muslim and one Christian, who fight on opposite sides of the war. More importantly, however, it follows a beautiful, almost magical, chestnut red horse named Hosanna. The events in the book build to one final battle, which decides the fate of Hosanna. Although at first it was a little slow, I got really into this book after the first three or four chapters. The writing was light and easy to read, and the plot was enticing, with plenty of fighting, love, and character change. I found myself turning page after page, unable to stop at some points. "Blood Red Horse" would be much better read in a reading group than alone, because there was much to discuss when I read it in a group, and I realized a lot of things that I would't have noticed if I had read it by myself. This is the type of book where it is very helpful to have input from other people. The book had stunning historical accuracy, even down to the main character, Will, being based off an actual young boy who lived at the same time, also named William (thank you wikipedia!). All in all, this book is a great read for someone looking to learn more about the Crusades and life in the Middle Ages, or someone who just wants an exciting novel to read.
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Caroline R, March 10, 2013 (view all comments by Caroline R)
Blood Red Horse is a great book that I would recommend to anyone. It’s about a young boy named William, who lives in the De Granville estate in medieval Europe with his older brother, Gavin De Granville, and Ellie, an orphan of a powerful lord and lady. When Ellie is grown, she will inherit the great expanses of land that are left to her for her dowry. As Gavin is the eldest child, she will have to marry him when they grow up, but that doesn’t stop her and Will from being childhood friends. Will has always liked horses. Ever since he was little, he has wanted a great war horse. When he is ten, he once again requests one from his father, Sir Thomas De Granville, who recalls when he was Will's age; he had a great war horse. So the next day, Will goes to the stable to pick out Hosanna, foal of the courser he already has, Sacramenta. Hosanna is a beautiful fiery spirited and colored horse whose coat clashes with the hue of blood. Over the next three years, Ellie, William, and Hosanna have many adventures, and Gavin goes on some knightly quests as well. But the true test comes, when King Henry dies, Richard the lion heart takes the throne, and declares the quest for the holy land. Now Ellie must stay at home, surviving seeking suitors and awful rumors. Meanwhile, Sir Thomas, Will, Gavin and Hosanna must go and fight for the holy lands, surviving the untold horrors of war, and finding a friend in some unlikely places.
What I like about the book Blood Red Horse is how historically accurate it is. Almost everything except the main characters really existed. From the Old Man of the Mountain to the lavish luxuries of the Muslim Empire to the raid on Jaffa, if you took out any influence the main characters of the book had on the event, then almost everything else would have really happened. I appreciate how much research the author must have done to make this book as historically accurate as possible. In addition to Blood Red Horse, K.M. Grant writes two other books to begin the De Granville trilogy. They are Green Jasper and Blaze of Silver. I think that Mr. Grant tied up to many loose ends at the end of the book to lead most people onwards and have them tempted to read Green Jasper; and Blood Red Horse would be a good book without the temptation of a sequel. But I would encourage you to read it all the same. I can’t decide if this book would be better for independent reading or book groups. It has some very good material for inspirational discussions, but it gives lots of hooks and can be better to read at your own pace if you don’t like deadlines and suspense. In conclusion, Blood Red Horse is an incredible book, and I would really recommend it if you want to learn more about the middle ages in a fun way.
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Annika, March 8, 2013 (view all comments by Annika)
Blood Red Horse is a story that follows two boys named Will and Gavin into the Crusades. It also follows the life of Ellie a maiden who is to marry Gavin. Before Will leaves to the Crusades, he finds a beautiful horse with a coat red like blood named Hosanna. The way Will and Hosanna bond in the story seems almost magical. This novel started out slow and seemed to drag on in the beginning, but picked up towards the end. So, if you read the first few chapters and don’t like it KEEP READING! I read this book with a group and there was much to discuss. The author does a good job building the characters. I think that if you don’t enjoy historical fiction I would stay away from this book. Also, at some points in the book the plot was hard to follow and was confusing at times. But all in all it was a good book.
Walker & Company -
"The parallel coming-of-age stories are compelling, and Grant portrays both sides of the conflict without demonizing or idealizing either."
by Hornbook Guide to Children,
"This fast-paced story rides smoothly, except when twenty-first century ideas sneak into dialogue and motivations."
by School Library Journal,
"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."
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