Black Horses for the King by Anne McCaffrey

   For anyone who has ever read McCaffrey's work, Black Horses is an enjoyable read. It is not the typical Arthurian story, taking place more on the sideline of the main plot rather than directly with the legends. McCaffrey is a lover of horses and Black Horses is really more a horse story than about Arthur. With a little push and taking a subplot from Sutcliff, McCaffrey gives us a simple story of a young man caught up in the legend, destined to help Lord Artos acquire horses large enough to mount his knights. The story takes place in the early years of Artos rise and follows some of the newer directions of returning Arthur to his Romano-Celtic roots rather than the medieval warrior king of Malory (and Hollywood).
   Galwyn Varianus, is the son of a bankrupted aristocrat. After his father's death, he is apprenticed to his uncle, a disreputable merchant, to begin a career as a seaman merchant. But Galwyn is drawn to Lord Artos when he comes aboard on a horse buying trip to Septimania. Using his talents with language and his enthusiasm, he assists Lord Artos during the voyage and later jumps ship to join him. The plot lines are not dense. McCaffrey draws us along on the journey as Galwyn grows and becomes Arthur's first farrier, the smith that takes care of horses and their shoeing, or as the Roman called them, iron sandals.
   The book is a quick read and is youth oriented.

Black Horses for the King, Anne McCaffrey, Harcourt Brace, April 1996, ISBN: 0152273220 School & Library Binding, 240 pages