The heat-bloomed air

I’m re-reading The Mark of the Horse Lord at the moment and marveling at Rosemary Sutcliff’s prose. Like this:

But long before that last echo had died into the wild crying of curlew and sandpiper, the chariot line of the Dalriadain was away at full flying gallop to meet the onrushing hosts of the Cailleach. Phaedrus heard himself raise the war cry: “Cruachan! Cruachan!”, heard it taken up and hurled back by the long-drawn battle yell of the enemy. He flung his first spear as they came into javelin range, and one of the leading charioteers went down, his plunging team bringing confusion on those behind him, and almost in the same instant the two chariot hordes rolled full tilt together, with a great shouting of men and a screaming chaos of horses, a ringing crash that seemed as though it must shake the very roots of the mountains.

I’m getting towards the end now and not wanting to reach it, because it’ll be the end, and because it’s one of those perfect and moving endings. If you haven’t read this one, definitely do. It’s one of my favorite Sutcliffs.



Filed under bookish posts, quotes, reviews

5 responses to “The heat-bloomed air

  1. Oh, that ending. It cuts me to the quick every time….

    • Maureen E

      Oh, yes.

      Have I mentioned that I’m fairly terrified this will end up being the route that MWT goes? As much as I like the Sutcliff references in the books, they also make me nervous. Especially Costis’ two-inches-in-the-right-place bit. I don’t know that MWT actually will go there–she seems to like to end her books with a lot of hope–but then she certainly isn’t afraid of doing bad things to her characters.

  2. I’ve never read this Sutcliff, but I love some of her other books. Her prose is always, always stunning.

    Thanks for adding another book to my reading list. 🙂

  3. Pingback: March book list, part two | By Singing Light

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