Book Review: THE SHADOWY HORSES by Susanna Kearsley

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Released: October 2, 2012
Source: Review copy from NetGalley

The invincible Ninth Roman Legion marches from York to fight the northern tribes, and then vanishes from the pages of history.

Archaeologist Verity Grey has been drawn to the dark legends of the Scottish Borderlands in search of the truth buried in a rocky field by the sea.

Her eccentric boss has spent his whole life searching for the resting place of the lost Ninth Roman Legion and is convinced he’s finally found it—not because of any scientific evidence, but because a local boy has “seen” a Roman soldier walking in the fields, a ghostly sentinel who guards the bodies of his long-dead comrades.

Here on the windswept shores, Verity may find the answer to one of the great unsolved mysteries of our time. Or she may uncover secrets someone buried for a reason.


This is the first book by Susanna Kearsley I’ve read, and it exceeded my expectations. I loved everything about this story. The author created the perfect Gothic atmosphere that pulled me in.

Verity Grey is an archaeologist hired for a dig in Eyemouth, a village on the east coast of Scotland. Her new boss has spent his life searching for clues about the fate of the Ninth Spanish Legion, a Roman legion who disappeared possibly in Britain during the early 2nd century. He’s believes the answers to the mystery are buried in a field on Rosehill Estate.

Verity is excited to be offered a job on the project, until she finds out the only proof comes from a young boy said to have second sight. Little Robbie has seen the ghost of a Roman Sentinel roaming the field, which of course, Verity is skeptical about at first. But it’s not long before she can sense his presence too.

The mysterious ghost isn’t the only man keeping her at Rosehill. She’s also rather taken by a handsome Scottish archaeologist and professor named David Fortune. Honestly, I’m not sure which one I fancied more, David or the ghost! They both gave me goosebumps.

THE SHADOWY HORSES was a captivating blend of ghost story, mystery and romance. The pacing was steady, not fast or slow, but I stayed hooked up to the last word. I enjoyed the entire cast of characters, each one with a distinct personality and something important to contribute to the plot. I also enjoyed the archaeological tidbits on how digs are organized and carried out.

THE SHADOWY HORSES is going on my favorites list for this year, and I’m so pleased to have discovered Susanna Kearsley’s amazing writing talent.

(I picture the ghostly Sentinel looking a bit like THIS. What do you think? *g*)

Rating: 5 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.