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Shadowy Horses Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 754 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Impulse has brought Verity Grey to remote Eyemouth, Scotland from her home in England. Verity's friend and ex-lover Adrian Sutton-Clarke has tempted her with an archaeological mystery. What it is, exactly, he won't tell her until she gets to Eyemouth. By then, the impetuous museum worker is intrigued enough to stay. At the estate known as Rosehill, Verity meets her boss, Peter Quinnell. People say Peter is quite mad, but the eccentric old man believes he has found the site of the lost Ninth Legion of Rome. With the help of a young boy with second sight, Peter intends to unearth the remains of the Roman camp. Verity's job would be cataloguing and drawing the artifacts that are found- but she isn't convinced of the site's authenticity. While at Rosehill, Verity also meets David Fortune, an archaeologist working with Quinnell. What starts out as a working relationship builds into a romantic attraction as the two find themselves embroiled in a mystery that dates back to ancient Rome. Gothic romance isn't dead, it's just been sleeping. The Shadowy Horses has a gothic feel reminiscent of Mary Stewart. Ghosts and legends abound in this tale set in the rugged Scottish countryside. Ms. Kearsley recreates an archaeological dig with precision and detail, inviting the reader into a world that is unfamiliar and exciting. Ms. Kearsley's use of words to create setting will make readers feel like they've been to Scotland. Susanna Kearsley's The Shadowy Horses is marvelously written and a pleasure to read! A wonderful book to curl up with on a cold night. If you've never been to Scotland, let Susanna Kearsley take you there. You won't want to leave! Kristina Wright -- Copyright © 1999 Literary Times, Inc. All rights reserved -- From Literary Times

From the Inside Flap

Verity Grey has never been a woman who recoils from a challenge. But when she is invited to a windy coastal town in Scotland to work on an archaeological dig, she wonders if she has stepped over the line.

It's not the ancient Roman history that intimidates Verity--even when that history takes the ghostly form of a slain Roman sentinel--it's her co-worker David Fortune, who frustrates her with his remoteness.

As the group of archaeologists strives to uncover the truth of the mysterious Roman campsite, science must contend with the paranormal. The ghost's appearances become more urgent and more chilling until Verity can no longer deny its message--someone is in great danger. Could the deadly warning be for her or for David? Somehow they'll have to communicate with each other, which is proving to be the biggest hurdle they face at the dig site...

The wild Scottish landscape is a perfect backdrop for intrigue, as Verity learns that outside the scientists laboratory the shadowy horses of history carry messages from the past. --This text refers to the Unbound edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Jove (March 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0515124648
  • ISBN-13: 978-0515124644
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (754 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,127,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I write modern gothic novels that blend historical adventure and modern-day suspense with romance and a touch of something spooky, so they don't fit neatly into any category, really...but they're fun to write!

I live on the north shore of Lake Ontario, east of Toronto, in Canada.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
"The Shadowy Horses" by Susanna Kearsley was my first book by this author, and the comparisons to Mary Stewart are wonderfully accurate. I am already ordering her other books...from me, the highest compliment. Ms. Kearsley writes in the first person, and manages to pull you right into the story, which is no small feat. Her writing style is fluid and descriptive, and she displays a talent for building suspense at just the right pace. Her characters (secondary as well) are well-drawn, likable, and interesting, and her quick-moving plot makes you want to keep turning the pages. One tiny, tiny criticism (but perhaps this is simply a result of my wanting the story to continue long after it was finished): her ending seemed rushed, and I wanted a bit more detail on the ghostly Sentinel and his tragic story, and that of the Ninth Legion...in another book, perhaps??? My final assessment: well done, Ms. Kearsley, well done!
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Format: Paperback
Then you must read this!!! The Shadowy Horses is, like the best of Mary Stewart, a blend of suspense, literature and romance, but without the dated 1960s feel of Mary Stewart's books. (Although I'm sure 30 years from now, readers will talk about the "dated 1990s feel" of Susanna Kearsley's books. Ha!)

The Shadowy Horses is set in a small town on the east coast of Scotland and is, as mentioned above, a blend of literature, romance and suspense. Kearsley's writing is masterful, as she manages to tell a modern tale of a haunted archaeology site without ever going over the top. At several points the characters actually attempt to communicate with the ghost of a Roman legionnaire, and not one time did I ever want to roll my eyes; quite a feat for a writer, in my opinion.

The weakest part of this book -- and the reason I am not giving it 5 stars -- is the suspense element. The suspense is so mild as to be almost non-existent. So if you're looking for a spine-tingling, keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat type of book this is definitely not it.

The romance is low-key, also, which is fine with me. But again, if you're looking for a heart-stopping, blood-racing, titillating love scene you're not going to find it here. Nevertheless, the romance is there, as the heroine is faced with not just one but two admirers (three, if you count an eight-year-old boy), both drop-dead gorgeous (we should all be so lucky, huh?). And one of them -- I don't want to say who as that could be a spoiler -- did make my heart beat just a little bit faster. :)

Kearsley's greatest strength is in her dialogue. This is the aspect where many writers of fiction -- especially those writing in a contemporary setting -- lose me.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had a really bad day at work and I was exhausted and even playing with my three year old son couldn't completely close down my thoughts. Then, in the bath, I picked up The Shadowy Horses and got back into it (I'd started it the night before.) Honestly, I sighed OUTLOUD. It was complete escape. I recommend this book to fans of Mary Stewart or Barbara Michaels -- anyone looking for a really good gothic suspense.
2 Comments 80 of 93 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm not sure if I should thank Ms. Kearsley or be mad at her. I stayed up two nights in a row because I couldn't put her book down. The story was wonderful, and the characters were realistic. I have been looking for an alternative to Barbara Michaels' books, and I think Ms. Kearsley is it. My only suggestion to her would be-- write faster!
1 Comment 57 of 66 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I thought this was an excellent book. I love a good mystery. I also like a little of the supernatural. This had both and they blended well. There was also a romantic thread through it, which was refreshing, in not being explicit about sex. The Scottish atomosphere throughout the book was charming, and made it all the more interesting. There was just enough Scottich brogue in it to make you feel like you were right there with the characters. Overall, a great read and I would highly recommend it to all who wish to read a really good book. Plan on getting her two other books to read, and I will definitely be looking for future books by Susanna Kearsley.
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Format: Paperback
In the Shadowy Horses, Verity Grey is working on a dig in Scotland for an eccentric archaeologist, Peter Quinell, who has been looking for evidence of the missing ninth legion of an ancient Roman army for many years, with little success. Her ex-boyfriend, Adrian is also on the same project, as well as an attractive local scot, Davy. They have little proof that the excavation is going to turn up their desired finds, little support from the academic community, and ghostly presences to complicate things further....as well as Verity's own feelings for Davy.

This is an excellent, fast moving book that I was sorry to see end. The descriptions of life in a small Scottish coastal village were excellent and very true to life. The characters were colourful and likeable and it is not at all hard to picture them at the Ship Hotel with a pint or gathered around the kitchen having a hearty Scottish breakfast.

Pour a cup of tea and make plans to curl up for a day by the fire reading this book, you won't regret it.
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