Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: C.S. Lewis
Illustrator: Pauline Baynes
Publisher: Harper Trophy
Shasta lives in a small fishing village in Calormen, a land south of Narnia, with an abusive man who he believes is his father. When Shasta finds out the man only adopted him when he washed ashore in a boat as a baby, Shasta decides to leave him. He escapes with a talking horse stolen from Narnia. Since Shasta is fair skinned, Bree (the horse) believes he must be Narnian too. As they journey, they are joined by Arabia, a daughter of noble blood, who is escaping from an arranged marriage. She is led by her own Narnian horse, Hwin. As they journey, they discover a plot by the prince of Calormen to invade Narnia and abduct Queen Susan. They rush to Archenland, the entry to Narnia, and warn the king just in time. It is then revealed that Shasta is the long lost son of the king, and twin to prince Corin. As he is older by twenty minutes, Shasta is the heir to the throne of Archenland.
The Horse and His Boy is the third book in the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. This story, while mostly taking place outside of Narnia, is still true to Lewis’s themes of good vs. evil. The Calormen prince lusts after Susan, and Edmund thinks it more likely that she will become the prince’s slave rather than wife. The prince also decides to attack Archenland in a time of peace, so the Calormenes can later overthrow Narnia. In this story, Lewis paints the Calormenes as the “Gentiles” of the story, who have their own gods and believe “the lion” to be a demon supporting the Narnians. While Aslan is in a large part of the story, he only leads the main characters to where they need to go, rather than appearing as a main influence in the battle as he did in the previous book. In this way, Lewis continues to characterize Aslan as an archetype of Christ, who is not always visible, but always present. Overall, this story was a good read, although it did not stand up to the same standards of plot as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
*Contains mild violence