Black Horses for the King

by Anne McCaffrey
179 pages, Fantasy
Reviewed by Jenny

An enjoyable fiction about Arthur’s cavalry.


Fatherless and disinterested in his uncle’s shipping business, young Galwyn Varianus jumps at the opportunity to do what he loves most: deal with horses. When Lord Artos and his band come along bound for Gaul to buy horses for British cavalry, Galwyn is delighted to join them. Consequently he is swept up in the struggle between the Romans of Britain and the invading Saxons, and training the black horses, the wings of the army.


The morality is pretty good. Christianity itself does not really play a part in the story, but for the most part the characters act nobly, particularly Galwyn himself, and the evil-doers are generally punished.

Spiritual Content



There are battles, not described graphically. The most graphic moments are the brutal murder of a horse and the vengeful death of the murderer: the horse is stabbed through the forehead and the avenger does not close the murderer’s eyes in death.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Wine is consumed.

Sexual Content


Crude or Profane Language or Content

God’s name is evoked.


This book is very different from McCaffrey’s other works, but is nonetheless enjoyable. She paints a very realistic picture of the Arthur of legend, making the fantastical characters very real and life-like, using as her vantage point a young boy whose duty is to see to the horses that made Lord Artos’ army so swift and fierce.

However, the story is dragged down a little with the technicalities in speech. A reader may find that McCaffrey’s use of the Latin is a little difficult. This can be tolerated, though annoying.

Fun Score: 4.5
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 13+

Review Rating:

Average rating: 5 stars
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