[Reading] ➰ A Famine of Horses ➸ P.F. Chisholm – Motyourdrive.co.uk



10 thoughts on “A Famine of Horses

  1. says:

    5 Can ye ride, sir Dodd asked solicitously Carey lowered himself down in the saddle like a maiden sitting for the first time on her wedding morning, took a deep breath, held it and nodded Dodd was sorry to see that the bounce seemed to have quite gone out of him Trust me, the bounce would have gone out of you if you d been as battered and bruised as Robert Carey had been, but I m getting ahead of myself This is the beginning of what looks like becoming a favourite historical series I don t think you have to have Scottish blood to appreciate the raw history of the border wars that went on between England and Scotland not to mention the Debateable Lands for centuries I get thoroughly absorbed in good historical fiction if it s entertaining and well researched I can vouch for the first part, and everything I ve checked about the research seems to stand up The author wrote an excellent forward that says what attracted her to this project She writes other works under her real name, Patricia Finney, and another series for Young Adults as Grace Cavendish, Grace being the young girl who narrates that series This was irresistible to me In anachronistic terms, here was this fancy dressing, fancy talking Court dude turning up in England s Wild West The Anglo Scottish Border at that time made Dodge City look like a health farm It was the most chaotic part of the kingdom and was full of cattle rustlers, murderers, arsonists, horse thieves, kidnappers and general all purpose outlaws This was where they invented the word gang or the men ye gang oot wi and also the word blackmail which then simply meant protection money I learned something right there I did not know that s where the word gang comes from, and I ve found no reason to doubt her I know gehen in German, meaning to go , so it s an easy jump to the men you go out with And I must say, my experience is that the Scottish accent, or burr, seems to stick like a burr, yes longer than other accents Most people seem to modify it enough that other English speakers can mostly understand them, but back in the company of their own, goodness help you, as Sir Robert s servant discovered Barnabus Cooke had been too much of a fool to grab the offer and stay in London where he could understand what men said But Barnabus followed because he was responsible for his young nephew Simon, who is going with him to the border country, where Carey has accepted an appointment as Deputy Warden, second to the Warden, his brother in law His sister, Philadelphia, is an absolutely delightful, slightly scatterbrained, girly sort of girl, who just adores her brother Her husband Not so adorable.When Carey arrives, we are inundated with Scottish terms and names, but mostly I can figure them out, although Google is certainly a help I d appreciate some footnotes, but I ll add a few at the end for anyone who might like them Carey is the instant enemy of Lowther, who expected to be promoted to Deputy, but Queen Elizabeth the First, yes Good Queen Bess, the Maiden Queen, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, quite fancied handsome Sir Robert and enjoyed having him around Fortunately for him, she fancied Essex , so he wasn t expected to grovel quite as much but could still count on support, and she needs support up on the borders Carey s father was the son of Anne Boleyn s older sister, Mary, The Other Boleyn Girl Not only that, Mary had been King Henry s mistress, and Carey s father was widely believed to be their son, not her husband s The plot thickens He s at least a cousin to the Queen, possibly a half brother, living in wild and woolly times I like what the author said in her opening remarks As I say in most of the historical talks I give, we like to think we re terribly violent and dangerous people but really we re a bunch of wusses The murder rate has dropped to a tenth of what it was in the Middle Ages and they didn t have automatic pistols It took real work to kill somebody Of course, farming, hunting, and cooking meant knowing how to raise, kill, and skin animals And many people died young of disease and injury, so perhaps life was a bit cheap then, as my mother used to say Whatever, they were a blood thirsty lot, and many s the arrow that s stuck in a limb, but we re not overwhelmed with thriller type gore.There s plenty of derring do, secrets, double dealing, a murder to solve, some clever ruses, and a couple of hair raising adventures, one of which reminds me of the film of the Shawshank Redemption which came out the same year this was published, so just a coincidence, I imagine Eugh I quite liked Carey s explanation of why the rule of law is needed If a crime is committed, and a family takes it into their own hands to avenge it, that leads to an ongoing feud, much like our gang wars today, where it s an eye for an eye, even if it s not the right eye And on it goes However, if the accused is brought to trial, the burden of revenge is on the Queen or the State who is to ensure justice is done If it s a death sentence, a family can t seek revenge against the Queen because that would be treason I found it just right for my tastes, and I m really looking forward to the rest There is enough of a romantic touch here and there, which is always fun And there are characters I look forward to meeting in the next episode instalment book The names certainly take getting used to Geordie Graham, known as Sweetmilk, youngest son of Jock of the Peartree Cuthbert Graham, known as Bangtail Red Sandy Dodd The list goes on, but it s not too hard to keep track.Still, I d have liked a cast of characters, relationships EVERYBODY is related to each other in some way or other, even some mortal enemies , and a glossary, because I m basically lazy Here are a few words or phrases, with thanks to Wikipedia for some definitions book a bosom man one of the many ruined churches of Carlisle this one had a churchman in it, a book a bosom man who spent most of his time travelling about the country catching up with the weddings and christenings Of course, that s how the priest would stand, with the prayer book held open up to his chest so he could read from it Great descriptive phrase clyster an enema that the surgeon offers to put in to guard against infection after bloodletting and cleaning up a wound The offer was declined coney, coney catcher a con man, trickster and someone who might call them out the Debateable Lands an area between Scotland and England where neither side s rules seemed to apply jack a kind of sleeveless doublet into which plates of steel were stitched marches these were areas around the border, and Carey was Deputy Warden of the West March peel tower a defensive structure on great houses in the border country of England for warning and defence against the marauding Scots Apparently, there was an English law that these must have an iron basket on top and whatever was needed for a smoke signal reiver raider, rustler, and a reived horse or cow is a stolen one riding surname roughly equivalent to a clan name shielings huts in pastures where were the men stayed sometimesThis is also available in the Omnibus collection of the first three books, Guns in the North.A few photos below of the area Sorry they may not show up on Goodreads apps.Carey is made Deputy Warden of the West March aqua Carlisle Castle, Carey s baseSmailholm Tower Courtesy of Dave souza Own work, CC BY SA 2.5, A leather jack, worn by all the men when they expected to see action or were travelling


  2. says:

    Tudor England of the 1590s Chisholm steeps her story in so much 16th century atmosphere and historical detail.The quality of the story is superb PF Chisholm has a fine grasp of the character s traits They are all so very human and compelling Sergeant Dodd for one is the epitome of the dour northern with a wry sense of humour and an intelligence rivaling Sir Robert Carey s Most of all it s a damned enjoyable romp for anyone who likes historical fiction.


  3. says:

    This was a promising start indeed to a new to me series I always enjoy a good historical mystery and this one was very good indeed The author writes beautifully and I immediately fell for the main character Sir Robert Carey The story is set in Elizabethan times and the main characters are based on real people from those times The descriptions of life at that time are gritty and realistic Think of fleas in your bed, lice in your hair and weevils in your bread Not good Sir Robert is charming, smart and honest that last characteristic being in short supply amongst his neighbours Definitely a five star book Many thanks to Carolyn for making me aware of it


  4. says:

    Patricia Finney is using the pen name P.F Chisholm for the Robert Carey novels In them, she may be channeling her inner Deadwood since 1592 on England s northern border is every bit as rough and ready as the American West s Dakota Territory in the latter stages of the 19th Century Robert Carey is a recognized figure at Court and something of a favorite of Queen Elizabeth The device for moving him from the world of manners and backstabbing to the world of deeds and front stabbing is unimportant When he arrives at the borderlands garrison Carlisle run by his brother in law, he is already at odds with the guy who thinks that he should get the job of Deputy Warden Finney s historical credentials from Oxford shine though, and for the most part don t overshadow the plot However, you will have to get used to the slang, contemporary sentence structure and nomenclature of the period I am sure she is historically correct, but we are presented with a host of nicknames for most of the characters that range from Little Robert and Willie s Simon to Jock of the Peartree and Red Sandy They also include Sweetmilk Grahams, Long George, Bangtail, Bessie s Andrew and Young Hutchin Hutchin the Bastard s boy Though the murder is discovered in the first pages, the pace is measured with much time devoted to fleshing out the elements of the garrison and the town There is a funeral planned and a larger than normal number of horses missing We follow Carey and his valet Barnabas through all of this Much is being set up for future novels, but the action is interesting and the resolution of the mystery, satisfactory Don t skip the introduction..it is essential reading.


  5. says:

    Based on the real life character of Robert Carey, cousin of Elizabeth I and most likely grandson of Henry VIII his father was born to Mary Boleyn while she was Henry s mistress and set in the unstable borderlands between Scotland and England in 1592 Elizabeth I is nearing the end of her reign in England and James VI is on the throne in Scotland Robert Carey has left his place as a favourite in Elizabeth s court to flee his debtors and take up the position of Deputy Warden in Carlisle at the invitation of his brother in law, Lord Scrope, the Warden Charged with keeping the peace and dealing with criminals, he has plenty on his hands with the warring factions in England and Scotland When they re not raiding each others cattle and burning their towers they re busy plotting other ways of attacking each other Robert arrives in Carlisle just as the body of the son of one of the most powerful groups, the Grahams, is found shot in the back On top of something has been happening to all the horses, they are being spirited away over the border Robert suspects they are being amassed at the Graham stronghold and a major raid is being planned but what is the target This was a very enjoyable historical mystery Well written with a touch of humour and sufficient historical detail to fit the time and place but not overburden the story Robert Carey is a great character, swashbuckling and handsome with an eye for the ladies and some sharp practices he picked up in London but also given to fits of temper He has an arch enemy in the man he replaced as Deputy Warder, Sir Richard Lowther who will do all he can to see him dead or dishonoured His unattainable lady, Elizabeth Widdrington is clever and sharp but married and resisting his advances so it will be interesting to see where this relationship heads in future books Rogues aplenty abound on both sides of the border and Robert s servant Barnabus and his Sergent Dodds, both less than perfect but able to step up to the mark are also sure to develop further in future novels.


  6. says:

    Absolutely brilliant


  7. says:

    Really enjoyed this It s just a lightweight historical mystery, but it s well written and amusing, and has a great sense of time and place the late Tudor period, at the chaotic Anglo Scottish border The food and clothing and social distinctions felt right, and so did the dialog, without resorting to mayhaps or methinks.Robert Carey was a real person his grandmother was Anne Boleyn s sister Mary, so he was at least a cousin of Queen Elizabeth, and probably her nephew Despite his connections Carey was a penniless younger son, and in this novel he has accepted an offer of employment as Deputy Warden a sort of a combination sheriff and marshal in the English Marches, which was the Wild West of Tudor England.The author s forward claims that in this series about half of the characters really lived , and the stories are all based on actual incidents in the history of the Borders.The characterizations are very well done, and I especially enjoyed the women, who are capable and active participants in the story while sticking plausibly to their roles in Tudor society I also really liked the contrasting viewpoints from Carey and Sergeant Dodd.


  8. says:

    The first in a terrific series of novels based on Sir Robert Carey, an actual historical figure and a courtier in Queen Elizabeth I s court The first four books in the series are wonderful Carey was the second, impecunious son of the Baron Hunsdon, who was posted to the border reaches of northern England and southern Scotland, both as a means of advancing his career and removing him from the reach of his many creditors in London Terrific secondary characters, grand Elizabethan political plots, and a married love interest again true life make for great reading After the first four books, Chisholm went on to other writing projects, leaving Carey and legions of Carey fans in the lurch She recently completed the fifth book in the series and it s quite frankly not as good, as it tells a terrific story from a different character s viewpoint Good, but not nearly as good as the first four I m hoping Chisholm will take on a sixth Carey novel and get back to the good stuff Carey, the border wars of the late 16th century, the love story, and court intrigues, that make the first four such great reads.


  9. says:

    Read 3 20 05A Famine of Horses is a lively, fact paced story set along the English Scottish Borderlands circa 1592 Sir Robert Carey arrives, fresh from Elizabeth I scourt, to take over the deputy wardenship of theWest March Carey engagingly contends with horsethieves, murder, corruption and shifting loyalties.A charming and interesting book, I ll certainly continue on with this series.


  10. says:

    The protagonist of this book is the real life Sir Robert Carey, the grandson of King Henry VIII and his mistress, Mary Boleyn Anne s sister Set in 1592 on the Scots English Border, Sir Robert comes north to become Deputy Warden of the West March, a place and time that makes the American Wild West look tame The main and supporting characters are well drawn, some of them based on historical people The plot is complex but understandable, the period detail interesting but not ponderous.


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A Famine of Horses download A Famine of Horses, read online A Famine of Horses, kindle ebook A Famine of Horses, A Famine of Horses f5991822ad98 In The Year , Sir Robert Carey Comes North To Carlisle To Take Up His New Post He Has Wangled His Appointment To Be Nearer His True Love And Of Course, He Can Use The MoneyRich In Atmosphere And Packed With Vivid Real And Fictional Characters, Few Novels Are As Well Imagined Or As Much Fun As This Romp Through Roguish Courtiers, Rival Gangs, Rustling, Treason, And High Ambition