Thursday 22 November 2012

Opal Dreaming: Book One – The Bronze Horses

Opal Dreaming: Book One – The Bronze Horses by Jennifer Crane (Morris Publishing Australia)
PB RRP $ 17.95 eBook $4.95
ISBN 978-0-9859147-4-5
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

At ten years old, Erin was given her great grandfather’s opal that he’d dug up at Lightning Ridge. Now at thirteen, she is drawn into a dream by the opal, and into the subject of her history assignment about the Eurasian Steppes in 3000BC and the Tarpan Horses.

She is now Fayina of the Saka tribes. All her longings become reality. Horses surround her and are an important part of her life. Fayina becomes separated from her father while on a scouting expedition. A storm forces her to seek shelter beneath an outcrop of rock which, unknown to her, is a sacred stone called the Travelling Rock, belonging to another tribe. She is found by Arima and his sister Mea, and taken to their hidden village.   

Protecting the secrecy of their village is the tribe’s main priority. The people there see Fayina as a threat. But Fayina has been brought up to be independent, to speak her mind; to ride and care for horses. All of these things are against what this hidden tribe believes in.

Mea shows Fayina kindness, friendship and trust. They learn about each other’s traditions, skills and practices. The leader demands that Fayina show her loyalty by teaching the men of the tribe how to bridle and ride a horse.  And she does so willingly.

But Fayina must return to look for her father. Will the tribe allow her return to the Travelling Rock? How will Fayina guarantee their secrecy?

This is an exciting adventure story told exceptionally well by Jennifer Crane whose life has been surrounded by horses. She is an experienced rider and competitor. Her knowledge expands across the history of horses and their evolution. The Opal Dreaming series will incorporate this subject in the story as well as addressing the ever-changing relationship between man and horse. The Bronze Horses is told in an absorbing, informative, and well-written narrative. Book Two - The Marble Horses, will be available early next year.

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