Author: Elyne Mitchell
Series: 1st in the Silver Brumby series
Genre: Australian Adventure, Children's Fiction
Plot: On a stormy night Bel Bel gave birth to a colt. Not an ordinary colt, but a colt with a silver coat, which would be hunted by both horse and man. The beautiful colt was named Thowra after the wild, swift wind which howled at his birth.
Growing up in the Cascade herd, Thowra knows that someday he must rule as king, just as his mighty father Yarraman has. However at a young age he learns that he will have many enemies, and in order to survive he must use all his speed and cunning, to outsmart man, and rule as king, because with a silver coat he cannot hide.
In a violent fight for leadership his sire Yarraman is killed, and the victorious Brolga rules the Cascade brumbies. At that stage Thowra is too young to fight, but everyday he grows in maturity and strength. So that one day he may rule.
Thowra has other problems, the man is constantly hunting him. So far Thowra has been able to out smart him, but how long can he keep his wits up when it is obvious that the man will not give up, is there anywhere he can run?
Notes: The description in the book, is the best I've ever read. The Silver Brumby has the amazing ability to really, really draw you into the story. Suddenly you can think, feel and understand like a horse. The story does justice to the wild beauty in brumbies and the wild beauty in the Australian bush. The joys and freedoms of the bush creatures become yours to enjoy.
The book does not 'humanise' horses as many do. True, you still can understand them and to a degree any animals in books must be 'humanised' (for example the dialogue between horses is more articulate then what real horses communicate) but you really feel that you are reading about a horse that neighs, nibbles on the necks of friends, rears and acts just as a real horse would.
It really upset me to finish the book, and taking a trip to the library to borrow the second one couldn't come soon enough. The book was an addiction.
However, if you're not a 'horsy' person, then I might not recommend this book (I know after reading my high praise, you must be shocked). If you don't adore horses, and love reading about how they act in the wild, you will probably find it boring. The subject of the Australian bush and horses has to already interest you to enjoy the book.
Themes: The most obvious theme is freedom. Even the word is in the book numerous times. Thowra wants freedom, he wants freedom from the Brolga and freedom from man. He wants to live in the free Snowy Mountains forever without the possibility of that being taken away. Other themes might be - the conquest for territory and the conservation of native animals and bushland.
'I will call you Thowra,' she said, waking him with her nose, 'because that means wind. In the wind you were born, and fleet as the wind you must be if you are to survive.' (quote by Bel Bel page 5)
'He didn't hear the man on the black horse swear and say 'That horse is getting too cunning." But it was from that day on that a legend began to grow up about the creamy brumby, cunning as a fox. Stockmen talked of him around their summer campfires, or sung songs about him as they rode around a restless mob of of cattle that night. The cattle went on to tell the brumbies, so that they too knew all about the silver brumby.' (page 75)
'Bel Bel moved towards the cave, making no sound, leaving no track, and feeling supremely happy. The winter snows would come now, to cover the bones of an old mare. She had seen Thowra as she had always known he would be - a king of the mountain horses' (page 149)
'There grew around the campfire stories of a great silver stallion seen galloping over wind-packed snow way up on Ramshed range; of a ghost horse that drank at the Crackenback River; of a horse that all men thought was dead appearing in a blizzard at Dead Horse hut and vanishing again; of a wild stallion cry that could only be Thowra's. But no man knew where the son of Bel Bel roamed.' (page 190)
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