A Famine Of Horses

Written by P. F. Chisholm
Review by Lorraine Gelly

In 1592, Sir Robert Carey, weary of court life, left London to take up his new post as Deputy Warden of the West March near Carlisle. As stated in the Introduction, the Anglo-Scottish Borders were England’s version of the American Wild West, replete with horse rustlers, cattle thieves, kidnappers and murderers. Into this mix, add a courteous and stylish gentleman from Queen Elizabeth’s court – and watch the locals snicker at the thought of his keeping law and order.

Sir Robert has arrived right before the funeral of the old Warden. Robert is convinced that the local outlaws will take advantage of the uncertainties to cause further upheaval. Add the discovery of a body of a young man, shot in the back. His family is volatile and vengeance will be swift unless Sir Robert can forestall them. Robert’s philosophy is summed up in the book, “Without law what you have is feud, tangling between themselves, and murder repaying murder down the generations.” Clearly, Robert Carey is a new kind of law in the wilds of the West March.

P.F. Chisholm (Patricia Finney) admits that she has fallen “hook, line and sinker” for the charming Sir Robert – and I must say that readers will fall for him too. The sense of place and the language is all marvelously real. And it’s great fun, too!