In the deadly chaos of the First World War, a horse, Joey, witnesses the reality of battle from both sides of the trenches. Bombarded by artillery, with bullets knocking riders from his back, Joey narrates a powerful story of the truest friendships surviving in terrible times. One horse sees the best and the worst of humanity, the power of war and the beauty of peace.
Reviewed by Maggie Fergusson in Slightly Foxed Issue 60.
A Modern Pied Piper
And then there’s War Horse. One evening in the late 1970s, Michael walked down to the Devonshire farm, Nethercott, to which he and Clare have welcomed inner-city children for over forty years. In the yard, he spotted a lad of about 8 leaning over the stable door talking to a horse. He’d been warned by his teachers that this boy was acutely shy and liable to take fright if asked a question. And yet here he was chatting fluently to a horse who seemed, in turn, to be listening. Watching them, Michael had an idea. He would write a novel set in the chaos of the First World War and narrated by a horse, Joey, who would witness the horror from both sides of the trenches. The rest is history . . .
Extract from Slightly Foxed Issue 60, Winter 2018
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