Diane Lee Wilson’s “To Ride The God’s Own Stallion” is the story of two boys, a horse and the destiny the three weave together within the Assyrian Empire.
Soulai is a poor boy sold into slavery to Prince Habasle, a palace brat who fights to prove himself to his father and people. Both boys are drawn to the “parti-colored” stallion whose falcon-shaped birth mark displays his connection to the god, Ninurta.
The horse’s destiny leads to war and Habasle is eager to ride him into battle, but he must do so with Soulai trying to protect the horse and the King’s mad physician trying to sacrifice the animal.
Wilson has done a fine job of sketching the historical texture of the period while keeping the novel’s place moving. The characters developed in a believable and enjoyable fashion. It was especially nice that I never felt like they were boys written by a woman writing how she thought boys should behave. I will say, there were no surprises.
I did read a few oddities I had to gloss over to continue reading. There are three sections to the book and each section is begun in the perspective of an animal. This confused me and I did not believe them necessary to understand or believe the story’s events, so I’m surprised the author used the technique.
However, once past those passages, the novel has a smooth read broken only by my occasional recognition that there are three main characters. You care for each of them and they each have identical, linked growth patterns and carry equal weight, though not perspective.
I still wonder if that wide-spread equality is why I never felt as drawn to any of the main characters as much as I did when reading Wilson’s “I Rode A Horse of Milk White Jade.” Nonetheless, there were times it was difficult to put down “To Ride God’s Own Stallion.” It is an enjoyable read, especially for boys or those who love a great horse story in an unusual setting.