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Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Famine of Horses by P.F. Chisholm

A Famine of Horses

I've read one other book in Chisholm's Sir Robert Carey series (An Air of Treason), but A Famine of Horses is the first in the series and very, very good.

A Famine of Horses is a fast-paced tale full of historical detail with many of the characters taken from real life, both the good guys and the bad guys.  On Sir Robert Carey's arrival as Deputy Warden of the West March, he is faced with a murder to investigate.  He must discover the guilty person quickly to avoid further bloodshed.  Another mystery pertains to the shortage of horses; horses are being stolen at an alarming rate, and what, wonders Carey, is the purpose.

I loved Carey's character, but the other characters were well-drawn with distinct personalities, as well.  (oh, and names:  the murdered young man is Sweetmilk Graham, Carey's sister's name is Philadelphia, and then there is Red Sandy Dodd, and Bessie's Andrew, and Bangtail Graham, etc.)  

In An Air of Treason, I was quite fond of Sergeant Dodd, and it was fun to see the beginning of the relationship and get know his wife, a great character in her own right.

This was a Kindle read for 99 cents!  How I love a bargain that turns out to be a so rewarding;  I look forward to the next in the series.

Background on Sir Robert Carey--
The real Robert Carey was the son of Lord Hunsdon, Henry VIII's illegitimate son by Mary Boleyn.  Lord Hunsdon was also Queen Elizabeth's Lord Chamberlain (and half-brother) and patron to Shakespeare.  Obviously, Robert Carey had some interesting DNA to draw from, and he had an interesting life as a dandified courtier in Elizabeth's court.  Then, for whatever reason, he decided to switch to soldiering, and he accepted the position of Deputy Warden of the English West March.  Quite a switch, that.  From courtier to sheriff/marshall of the wildest part of the kingdom in the West March where murders, horse thieves, and outlaws abounded.

Evidently a charming and cheerful man, his memoirs are lively and entertaining, and Chisholm says that she lifted him "practically undiluted from his own writings." 

Information about the West Marches can be found here

 P.F. Chisholm is a pseudonym of a well-known writer of historical thrillers, childrens’ books, and nonfiction blogs and ebooks. Previous titles in the Sir Robert Carey and Sergeant Dodd series are A Famine of Horses, A Season of Knives, A Surfeit of Guns, A Plague of Angels, and A Murder of Crows. After the events in An Air of Treason, Sir Robert and Sergeant Dodd will be heading back to the Anglo- Scottish Border where trouble is brewing as usual.  (from Poisoned Pen Press)

Read in March.

Elizabethan mystery.  1999/2012.  Print version:  288 pages.


  1. This does sound good! Well drawn characters really can make a book.

    Love the names of the characters! LOL

  2. I really liked this one! I ordered the second one in the series and am reading it now. I wonder if the author (who has read extensively about the period, including Carey's memoirs) is using real names for the characters....