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The Dark Horse by Marcus Sedgwick
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The Dark Horse (2001)

by Marcus Sedgwick

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In a small, struggling coastal settlement during ancient times, life is difficult and getting harder every year. Crops are failing, the fish no longer abundant, winters cold and long. The people are barely surviving. Then they discover a small ragged girl in a wolf cave, and bring her home. She has an uncanny ability to communicate with animals which they mistrust and fear, even as it could save them from starvation. But there is more to her obscure past. While scavenging for food on the shoreline, the wolf girl and her adopted brother find a mysterious, beautiful wooden box among the flotsam. They take it home, but the girl is plagued with a deep fear of it. Then a stranger comes among them, asking for the box. At the same time, rumors are arising of a warring tribe descending from the north, and the tribe is in turmoil as their leadership falters. All these events are in some way connected to the wolf girl, and as they try to first deal with then flee their oncoming fate, she might be their entire undoing. This is a fast-paced story. Well told, with sparse yet vivid language. It definitely kept my attention. Even to the very end, I was never quite anticipating where the story would turn next.

from the Dogear Diary ( )
  jeane | Nov 9, 2014 |
Ideal read for a teen reader with little confidence. Well written, good hero and steady plot. I read this quite quickly, my husband took a little longer over it, but we both enjoyed it. [He's a new to reading bloke, with no reading confidence and reading YA seems to help him]. ( )
  viciouslittlething | Jul 7, 2010 |
This book would be a wonderful choice for the "reluctant reader". All the chapters are short and the action moves quickly, but the underlying themes are complex and moving. I am not a reluctant reader by any means, and I could hardly put it down. ( )
  chilirlw | Aug 28, 2008 |
TBR
  miketroll | Mar 15, 2007 |
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For my mother.
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It was Mouse who found the box.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440419085, Mass Market Paperback)

SIG IS A boy in a coastal tribe, the Storn, long ago in a Northern land. On the day of the wolf hunt, the life of the tribe changes forever, for Sig rescues a small girl, more like the wolves who shelter her than a human. Sig’s family adopts her and names her Mouse, and he becomes a loyal brother to this girl with mysterious powers and a secret past. The shocking discovery of Mouse’s true identity brings to life a terrifying legend and leads to war, betrayal, and Sig’s coming of age as he finds the wit and courage to save his tribe.

“Like an ancient cave painting come to life, Sedgwick’s tale of dark enchantment depicts a primitive tribe in a north country.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred

“Will . . . find a solid readership among historical fiction fans, thanks to the fast pace, hint of magic, and satisfyingly enigmatic
conclusion.”—Booklist

“Employing a lean narrative voice and writing in short chapters that encourage page turning, Sedgwick draws readers along . . . rich, involving, and vivifying.”—School Librabry Journal, Starred


From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:17:59 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Having risen to power as chief of his people, the Storn, sixteen-year-old Sigurd leads them as they try to resist the bloodthirsty invaders known as the Dark Horse and makes a shocking discovery about his foster sister Mouse.

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