The Year of the Horsetails
This great example of historical fiction was originally published in 1967 by Hutchinson Co. and then went out of print and was unavailable for some time, except for the used copies available in the world. Now CNPosner Books have brought it back into print again for readers to enjoy, albeit in ebook format. But this is the beauty of ebooks: they never have to go out of print. It’s, hopefully, something that becomes more and more popular with publishers.
Our hero is one Bardiya, who is fleeing from the East and the peoples who will one day become the very powerful Mongols. He is a member of the heavy cavalry known as the Saka cataphracts located within the southern steppes (what is today western Russia and Ukraine). They are reluctant tributaries to the Horde. The lands he flees to are that of his enemy, and so begins his new mission: to foster friendship and respect with these farmers, becoming a part of their society and uniting them to in an effort to fight against the oppressive and controlling Horde. It will take time and patience and perseverance, but it is for the betterment of these simple people. Along the way, Bardiya also meets and grows to know a new love.
The point of historical fiction is to provide a snapshot of a time in history, creating a setting, and educating the reader on that time, as well as telling an interesting story about humanity, as if this particular snapshot with these particular people actually happened. R. F. Tapsell does all this and more with this fascinating example of historical fiction in Year of the Horsetails.
A lot of historical fiction has been written on the medieval period and Western Europe, but there is far less available on Eastern Europe. Tapsell goes into interesting detail looking at these groups of people working together, cavalry formations, battle tactics. But he presents it in an uncomplicated and fast-paced way, so the reader doesn’t get bogged down and/or bored with over-exposition, but is provided with succinct details that paint a full picture of this time and place.
Year of the Horsetails is a great example of historical fiction that Tapsell keeps short and to the point, but still very information and interesting, and a delight for any fan of the genre.
|Page Count||150 pages|
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