Soldier of the Horse
About the Book
Winner of the Gold Medal for Military/Wartime Fiction at the 2012 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Book Awards
Winnipeg, 1914. Tom Macrae is working on his law degree and enjoying the company of his sweetheart, Ellen. When the call to arms comes, both Tom and Ellen are torn from their secure, settled lives in the prairie city. Tom finds himself hunched in the trenches, amid the mud and horror of the Great War, while Ellen faces an uncertain future in Tom’s absence.
His prospects bleak, Tom serves with the Canadian Cavalry Brigade, in the thick of the stalemated struggles on the Western Front. In addition to the soldiers’ comradeship, Tom discovers the strong bonds of trust between the soldiers and their horses. With his own horse as his closest companion, he dodges a hurricane of shells, machine guns and swords, and in the clamour, faces his finest hour.
Inspired by his own father’s story and letters about fighting in Picardy, France, Robert W. Mackay has written a novel that brings to life the great military history and traditions of the Canadian Cavalry.
“Robert W. Mackay’s first novel, Soldier of the Horse, is a lovingly crafted account of such a time—a tour de histoire, if you will—above all, a heartfelt requiem for an entire rank of the world’s youth, called upon to suffer a clash of titans in the First World War.” —Vancouver Sun
“Soldier of the Horse is an engaging first novel. —January Magazine
“The tale of passion, war, camaraderie, bravery and history takes readers from love and legal wranglings in Manitoba to a young soldier’s Great War survival in France with the famous WWI Canadian cavalry regiment, Lord Strathcona’s Horse. . . . Weaving emotions generated by wind, rain and memories of scars (physical and emotional) left with his father and those who survived, Mackay ably translates his impressions into a period tale which returns the reader to a by-gone era.” —Examiner.com
“This book has clearly been well-researched and is well-written. . . . the characters feel realistic and the plot accurate.” —David Tattersfield, The Western Front Association
“[A] graceful first novel…Mackay uses his novel not only to commemorate this father’s service, but to delve into the lives of Canadian soldiers in a war that marked the coming of age of the nation of Canada.”—Len Shurtleff, past President of WFA-USA and Honorary Vice President of WFA-UK
“[This] novel took me into the depth of those terrible battles and into the hearts of Sergeant Tom Macrae and the men and women of his day. Soldier of the Horse should be read in every Canadian History classroom. – Ben Nuttall-Smith, Member, B.C. Retired Teachers’ Association.
“A galloping, gripping adventure, rooted in the tragedy and triumph of the Canadian cavalry in World War One. Robert Mackay has crafted a genuine page-turner that haunts and lingers in the mind. I loved it.” –Ian Weir, author of Daniel O’Thunder.
“I enjoyed [Soldier of the Horse] a great deal. I found it credible, interesting, well-researched and exciting. It’s a good read and a good story!” —Keith Maxwell, Retired Air Force Colonel, Former Infantryman
“Weaving emotions generated by wind, rain and memories of scars (physical and emotional) left with his father and those who survived, Mackay ably translates his impressions into a period tale which returns the reader to a by-gone era.” —Cloverdale Reporter