Title: The Silver Horse (Chain of Charms #2)
Author: Kate Forsyth
Genre: Historical Fiction, Children’s Literature
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Published: 10th November 2007
Synopsis:Once there was a gypsy queen who wore on her wrist a chain of six lucky charms – a golden crown, a silver horse, a butterfly caught in amber, a cat’s eye shell, a bolt of lightning forged from the heart of a falling star, and the flower of the rue plant, herb of grace. The queen gave each of her six children one of the charms as their lucky talisman, but ever since the chain of charms was broken, the gypsies had been dogged with misfortune.
Book Two: The Silver Horse 13th-14th August 1658
Emilia and her cousin Luka have the gypsy crown and are travelling with their menagerie in search of the Hearne tribe. They hope that this family, to whom they will soon be related, will surely help release their kin from gaol. Luka and Emilia find the Hearnes horseracing on the Downs above Epsom. But Emilia must compete to win their support. Will she have to give up her beloved mare in exchange for the Hearne family’s charm – a small silver horse? And can they escape Coldham again?
Book Two in the exciting new six-book series by bestselling author, Kate Forsyth.
Winner of the Aurealis Awards’ best Children’s Long Fiction 2007
The second book in The Chain of Charms series by Kate Forsyth is The Silver Horse, and it picks up right where The Gypsy Crown left off, with Emilia and Luka finding the Hearne family and seeking to make an exchange or deal for the charm that the matriarch – Janka Hearne – holds: a silver horse. Emilia and Luka must find a way to get the charm, and stay together whilst avoiding the thief-taker, Coldham. As they evade capture, Emilia agrees to ride Alida – the filly she’s raised herself – in a race to earn money for Felipe Hearne and if she wins, she will get to take the silver horse charm – that Janka believes has brought her family all their good luck. With several close calls with Coldham and his men, Emilia and Luka find that they cannot trust anyone – not even Tom Whitehorse – the son of the family who they’ve worked with for years. What will Emilia give up so she can reunite the chain of charms and what deal will she make to save her family?
Kate Forsyth has delivered again – an engaging story trimmed with historical fact, with characters running the spectrum of humanity and communicating the injustices and discrimination against people like Emilia and Luka whilst maintaining an authenticity to the period that shows she has done immaculate research. Kate’s approach to researching her books shines through on every page and enriches the experience – putting her fictional characters and situations into an historical setting that resonates clearly and with a life of its own.
Much like in The Gypsy Crown, Kate Forsyth has managed to show what people like Emilia and Luka were subjected to, creating an empathy for them, and having characters on both sides whom you’re never sure you can like or trust, but who in the end, aim to do the right thing, the moral thing. Even if the moral and ethical thing to do is illegal. In The Silver Horse, the Hearne family – Felipe and Cosmo, and a stable hand – Dicky – show that they are willing to do the right thing to help Emilia and Luka, even though they take some convincing.
The pacing is very similar to The Gypsy Crown, and ensures that the reader is captivated throughout the novel and is learning about the history of Oliver Cromwell as they read. Indeed, the scene is set from the first page of the first book, and the mood of discomfort of the time, yet gives hope that the children will achieve their goals. If anything, history tells us what happened to Cromwell and those who supported him. What this series also shows is that fear of what we do not know, and fear of what is different has never changed – that it happens in many incarnations and to many people throughout history. The powerless are given a voice in this series, and this is effective as it allows readers to glimpse what the other side must have gone through, and not just the side with the power.
Another fabulous read from the delightful Kate Forsyth – book three is about to be started now!