The Conquistador's Horse
The Conquistador's Horse by Barry Cole
One boy, one horse, one destiny.
The Conquistador’s Horse is set in North America during the period 1540-1550 and it is Barry Cole’s third novel. “I first wrote The Conquistador’s H orse as a screenplay, which came third in an American Screenwriting competition. On the strength of this I was approached by two independent film producers but sadly neither could raise the necessary funding. It was then that I decided to write it as a historical fiction book for children.”
When Tall Bull and the Cheyenne hunting party crossed the Arkansas river, and entered their enemies hunting ground in search of buffalo, little did they know that others were also crossing the same river. Fierce looking men armed with bows, spears, and war-clubs, their upper bodies and faces daubed with paint. They were a Pawnee war- party returning to their village after a raid against their sworn enemies the Sioux.
Last to cross the river were men on horseback. Pale skinned men armed with swords, and muskets. They were Spanish Conquistadors, and they had come in search of Quivira, the city of gold. Soon the paths of all three would cross, and when they did, Tall Bull would discover a creature that he had never seen before, an animal which would haunt his dreams, and one day change the lives of his people forever.
Whether describing the relationships between the tribes, or the trials of Tall Bull and the Cheyenne, the magical prose of this heart-felt adventure novel reveal the introduction of horses into America by the Spanish Conquistador's in a way that will appeal to children aged 10-14 years.
Native American interest. Horses. Conquistador's. Adventure. Quest. Cultural diversity. Courage. Boy hero.
‘A fascinating story. Children will love this!’
A ‘Wishing Shelf’ Book Review
I very much enjoyed this historical children’s novel by Barry Cole. It ticks every box for a ‘good children’s book’: a strong hero, a thoroughly exciting adventure and a light, accessible writing style. There’s plenty happening and, most importantly, it is happening to lots of interesting characters. I suspect any 10 – 14 year olds, boys and girls, would find this story thoroughly absorbing.
All in all, the writing style is perfect for a children’s adventure novel. It has plenty of speech, short paragraphs and short chapters and, the author knows when to ‘get things moving’. He is also particularly good at describing setting and character. Whether he’s describing a herd of buffalo or the young hero, Tall Bull, he cleverly sticks to telling the reader what is interesting and, as a result, the setting is vivid, the characters almost jumping off the page.
There is also a bonus story at the back entitled The Birth of the Wolf Clan. A magical story full of evil spirits and shape-shifting.
To sum up, this is a gripping story set in the American west. There’s an adventure, yes, but it’s not full of war and blood. It’s a story where the author seems determined that the readers get to know the characters and want to like them and maybe even be like them. The best character for me was Tall Bull. I liked his strong will and his loyalty to his tribe. I’d happily be him.
The ending is ‘BIG!’, the way children like endings to be, and the twisting plot will keep the readers guessing.
Barry began writing after leaving the army and for many years he contributed stories and article to the monthly magazines of two Native American charities. Barry then studied for two years at the London Screenwriters Workshop. Since then he has completed four feature length scripts and one short. Barry has now turned his attention to fiction writing and he has recently published a novel entitled Shingas and a children's book called The Time Bandit also available on the CPID website. He lives on a narrowboat on the Grand Union canal in Northamptonshire.
Check out Barry's other title also on CPID!