cover image All the Horses of Iceland

All the Horses of Iceland

Sarah Tolmie. Tordotcom, $15.99 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-250-80793-9

Tolmie (The Fourth Island) sends an Icelandic trader thousands of miles searching for horses to bring home in this charming historical novella adorned with ghosts, magic, and tribal warfare. In the ninth century, Eyvind and fellow trader David hope to get rich through horse trading, a valuable commodity on the cold, rocky island of Iceland. This ambition takes them through Rus and Khazaria to the grassy steppes of Mongolia, where the men meet a chieftain willing to trade his horde of horses if Eyvind, whom the chieftain believes is a magician, will dispel the ghost of Bortë, one of his wives, who’s haunting his tribe and terrorizing his horses. With the help of Bortë’s mother, Eyvind calms the ghost, who then takes the form of a beautiful white mare that no one in the tribe can see. Rewarded with 25 horses, including this mystical mare, Eyvind and David make the dangerous trek back, along the way facing battlefields, bandits, and toll collectors. In the sparse but elegant style of ancient fables, Tolmie weaves a saga of whimsy and magic against a lavish historical backdrop. Historical fantasy fans are sure to root for this reluctant hero and his fabulous beasts. (Mar.)