This novel is a strongly fictionalized biography of the Godolphin Arabian, one of the three Arabian ancestors of the Thoroughbred horse. It starts with the famous race between Man o' War and Sir Barton, after which Man o' War's owner reflects on the racehorse's great ancestor.
Agba, a young mute horseboy in the service of the Sultan of Morocco, is present at the birth of a foal he names Sham ("Sun"), and when the mare dies vows to keep the foal alive. Sham thrives and becomes the swiftest of the Sultan's horses. When Sham is two years old, the Sultan decides to send six of his finest horses as a gift to the King of France, with horseboys to tend them. This is the start of a series of vicissitudes for the horse and his boy, in which Agba shows great tenacity and devotion. Sham never gets to become a racehorse himself, but his offspring become famous.
A fantastic book for horselovers. The affection between Sham and Agba is touching, and the ups and downs of the story are heart-wrenching at times. The scene where Sham steals the beautiful mare from the Earl's favoured stallion is unforgettable.
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- Reading Age: 12+
- Reading Aloud Age: 8+
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