Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Horse And His Boy by C.S. Lewis

In this third book of C.S. Lewis's series, The Chronicles Of Narnia, the reader learns about the backstory of Prince Caspian, who will play a large part in later books. Caspian is a fisherman's boy, raised in poverty and ignorance, maltreated and unsure of where to go in life. This all changes the night a visitor demands shelter from his father and Caspian is thrown out to provide room. He listens to the visitor's conversation and it becomes evident that he is not the fisherman's son, but an orphan the fisherman found, and further, that the fisherman plans to sell him as a slave.

Caspian escapes, and is aided by the visitor's horse. It turns out that the horse also has a backstory as he is a talking horse who was captured as a young colt in Narnia and forced to become a war-horse by his captors. Besides providing the means for Caspian to escape, he educates him about Narnia, the power structure, and everyday affairs of the various lands they ride through.

We meet cruel rulers trying to overtake Narnia, a brave girl who is also running away from a family that doesn't treasure her and is trying to marry her off for political gain, and a first glimpse of Aslan, the great lion of Narnia. We hear more of the kings and queens of Narnia, who up to this point the reader knows only as the children who discovered Narnia when they stumbled through the wardrobe into a miraculous land. The reader also discovers the amazing story of Caspian's true background, and the part he will play in future books in the series.

This book is recommended for readers of all ages, and is a great book for families to read together. It is slower than some of the other books in the series, as it spends a lot of time explaining some of the history and principles that the rest of the series is built around, but stands alone well as a tale of mystery and intrigue.


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