A Famine of Horses

A Famine of Horses

In the year 1592, Sir Robert Carey comes north to Carlisle to take up his new post.

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Carey lowered himself down in the saddle like a maiden sitting for the first time on her wedding morning, took a deep breath, held it and nodded. I dont think you have to have Scottish blood to appreciate the raw history of the border wars that went on between England and Scotland (not to mention the Debateable Lands) for centuries. The Anglo-Scottish Border at that time made Dodge City look like a health farm. Barnabus Cooke had been too much of a fool to grab the offer and stay in London where he could understand what men said. But Barnabus followed because he was responsible for his young nephew Simon, who is going with him to the border country, where Carey has accepted an appointment as Deputy Warden, second to the Warden, his brother-in-law. When Carey arrives, we are inundated with Scottish terms and names, but mostly I can figure them out, although Google is certainly a help. Carey is the instant enemy of Lowther, who expected to be promoted to Deputy, but Queen Elizabeth the First, yes Good Queen Bess, the Maiden Queen, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, quite fancied handsome Sir Robert and enjoyed having him around. Carey's father was the son of Anne Boleyn's older sister, Mary, (The Other Boleyn Girl). Not only that, Mary had been King Henry's mistress, and Carey's father was widely believed to be their son, not her husband's. I quite liked Carey's explanation of why the rule of law is needed. one of the many ruined churches of Carlisle: this one had a churchman in it, a book-a-bosom man who spent most of his time travelling about the country catching up with the weddings and christenings. marches - these were areas around the border, and Carey was Deputy Warden of the West March peel tower - a defensive structure on great houses in the border country of England for warning and defence against the marauding Scots. reiver = raider, rustler, and a reived horse or cow is a stolen one riding surname roughly equivalent to a clan name shielings - huts in pastures where were the men stayed sometimes This is also available in the Omnibus collection of the first three books, Guns in the North.

The author writes beautifully and I immediately fell for the main character Sir Robert Carey. The story is set in Elizabethan times and the main characters are based on real people from those times.

Patricia Finney is using the pen name "P.F. Chisholm" for the Robert Carey novels. Robert Carey is a recognized figure at Court and something of a favorite of Queen Elizabeth.

Based on the real life character of Robert Carey, cousin of Elizabeth I and most likely grandson of Henry VIII (his father was born to Mary Boleyn while she was Henry's mistress) and set in the unstable borderlands between Scotland and England in 1592. Robert Carey has left his place as a favourite in Elizabeth's court to flee his debtors and take up the position of Deputy Warden in Carlisle at the invitation of his brother in law, Lord Scrope, the Warden.

Chisholm steeps her story in so much 16th-century atmosphere and historical detail.

The characterizations are very well done, and I especially enjoyed the women, who are capable and active participants in the story while sticking plausibly to their roles in Tudor society.

I'm hoping Chisholm will take on a sixth Carey novel and get back to the good stuff: Carey, the border wars of the late 16th century, the love story, and court intrigues, that make the first four such great reads.