Blaze Of Silver
This is the final part of a trilogy set at the time of the Crusades, and is a gripping and colourful read that deals with big themes such as courage, betrayal and redemption. Saladin has died and his country is in danger of being taken over by the leader of the Assassins, known as the Old Man of the Mountains—a wonderfully evil character reminiscent of a James Bond villain. Richard the Lionheart is in prison in Germany and Will de Granville, our hero, is raising a ransom and preparing to set off and free him. Also at Will’s home, Hartslove, are Ellie, the girl he loves, Marissa, who loves Will and is determined to travel with him, and Kamil, a young Saracen. The story begins when an old Arab, Amal, a spy employed by the Old Man of the Mountains, arrives at Hartslove with the gift of a beautiful silver horse. Amal has been sent to deceive and betray Will and Kamil, but the young people are convinced by him, and they take in both him and the silver horse, Shihab.
The plotting is complex, and the characters strong and appealing. All show heroism of different kinds, and each person has to work out his or her own destiny. There are also some beautiful and courageous horses—characters in their own right. Will’s blood-red horse Hosanna has almost magical powers of perception that stay just within the bounds of reality.
Vivid writing carries this exciting story forward to a dramatic and satisfying conclusion. I did feel, however, that I would have enjoyed it even more if I had read the first two books, and would recommend that the trilogy be read in the right order, starting with Blood Red Horse.