Phaedrus, an enslaved gladiator in northern Britain in the first century, earns his freedom by killing his best friend, a fellow gladiator, in a final fight to the death. Within days of leaving the arena he is recruited by leaders of a tribe from the far north to impersonate Prince Midir, who has been robbed of his right to kingship in a brutal attack by followers of the current ruler, Queen Liadhan. As Midir, Phaedrus is charged with reestablishing his kingship and the tribe's rule in the land. In this world of superstition and ancient ritual, of fierce loyalties and intertribal rivalry, Phaedrus finds companionship and love, and something more - a purpose and a meaning for his life as he comes to fully understand the significance of the Mark of the Horse Lord.
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Rosemary Sutcliff's books have been published throughout the world. She has received a Hans Christian Andersen Highly Commended Author Award for her body of work and was named a Commander of the British Empire in the year of her death.Review:
“The total assurance of the writing indicates an author fully in command of her power.” —Times Literary Supplement
“All that has been so much admired in Miss Sutcliff's writing—her concern with the nature of courage, the marvellous ease with which she moves within an historical situation, the power and beauty of her style—flower together to produce a single astonishing experience. . . . Here is a story that unfolds perfectly, scene by marvellous scene, in a sort of controlled mounting storm of narration, great tenderness and great savagery (there are wonderful battles) twining together under the story’s superbly colored and sensitive surface.” —Guardian
“Miss Sutcliff has told one of her most powerful stories. Always her protagonists are strong, believable characters; but Phaedrus stands forth with exceptional brilliance, an unforgettable hero.” —Horn Book
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