The Horse and His Boy
By C. S. Lewis
An Unabridged Audio Recording on CD
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - January 21, 2010
This is the third of the seven Narnia books. The adventure occurs at the same time as book two.
Shasta grew up in a land to the south of Narnia and was treated badly by a man who claimed to be his father. One day a warrior came to his "father's" house and offered to buy Shasta. Shasta's "father" told the warrior that Shasta was washed ashore in a boat, and he took him home and raised him.
This was news to Shasta, who always felt that he did not belong. While the two adults were bargaining, Shasta went out and mulled over his situation while he stoked the warrior's horse. He said aloud that he wondered if the warrior would treat him well.
He was surprised when the horse began to speak. The horse told Shasta that he was kidnapped from Narnia where many horses speak. He also told him that the warrior was a harsh man. And, so, the two decide to escape to Narnia.
On the way they meet a girl, born in the south, Aravis. Her stepmother persuaded her father to give her in marriage to an old disfigured man. She escaped on her horse from Narnia, which could also talk. She had told her father that she wanted to go a three day distance from their city to offer sacrifices to God.
(The story of Shasta's arrival at his adopted father's house is an allusion to Moses and the three day journey is reminiscent of the strategy that Moses used with Pharaoh.)
The two humans and two talking horses have many adventures. They arrive in a town when a procession of human officials from Narnia was in the street. The officials grab Shasta, mistaking him for a runaway from Narnia named Corin.
Shasta meets a faun and the one of the two kings and one of the two queens that we met in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, as well as dwarfs, people and animals he had never seen or thought of before. They looked at him closely and were sure that he was Corin.
Shasta hears that the people of this land will not let the Narnia delegation leave unless the smaller nation of Narnia marries Queen Susan to their prince. He also hears that Susan does not want the match.
Can Susan and her delegation escape? How will they do it? Who is Corin? Why didn't the Narnians see that he was not Corin? What adventures did Corin have? Where were Aravis and the two talking horses? Will Aravis' father find her and force her to marry? Will Shasta be saved? Will he find his real parents? Would they like him? Would he like them? What part will the two kings and two queens play in all of this?
The rest of the tale answers these questions and many more in an exciting and frequently humorous fashion.
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Rabbi Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.gefenpublishing.com. The Orthodox Union (OU) publishes daily samples of the Targum books on www.ouradio.org.