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Soldier of the Horse [Paperback]

Robert W. Mackay
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 19.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

March 15 2011 1926741242 978-1926741246

Winner of the Gold Medal for Military/Wartime Fiction at the 2012 Independent Publisher (IPPY) Book Awards

Winnipeg, 1914. Tom Macrae is working on his law degree and enjoying the company of his sweetheart, Ellen. When the call to arms comes, both Tom and Ellen are torn from their secure, settled lives in the prairie city. Tom finds himself hunched in the trenches, amid the mud and horror of the Great War, while Ellen faces an uncertain future in Tom’s absence.

His prospects bleak, Tom serves with the Canadian Cavalry Brigade, in the thick of the stalemated struggles on the Western Front. In addition to the soldiers’ comradeship, Tom discovers the strong bonds of trust between the soldiers and their horses. With his own horse as his closest companion, he dodges a hurricane of shells, machine guns and swords, and in the clamour, faces his finest hour.

Inspired by his own father’s story and letters about fighting in Picardy, France, Robert W. Mackay has written a novel that brings to life the great military history and traditions of the Canadian Cavalry.

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[This] novel took me into the depth of those terrible battles and into the hearts of Sergeant Tom Macrae and the men and women of his day. Soldier of the Horse should be read in every Canadian History classroom. —Ben Nuttall-Smith, Member, B.C. Retired Teachers' Association.


A galloping, gripping adventure, rooted in the tragedy and triumph of the Canadian cavalry in World War One. Robert Mackay has crafted a genuine page-turner that haunts and lingers in the mind. I loved it. —Ian Weir, author of Daniel O'Thunder.


I enjoyed [Soldier of the Horse] a great deal. I found it credible, interesting, well-researched and exciting. It's a good read and a good story! —Keith Maxwell, Retired Air Force Colonel, Former Infantryman


[A] graceful first novel...Mackay uses his novel not only to commemorate this father’s service, but to delve into the lives of Canadian soldiers in a war that marked the coming of age of the nation of Canada. —Len Shurtleff, past President of WFA-USA and Honorary Vice President of WFA-UK


Weaving emotions generated by wind, rain and memories of scars (physical and emotional) left with his father and those who survived, Mackay ably translates his impressions into a period tale which returns the reader to a by-gone era. —Cloverdale Reporter


Robert W. Mackay's first novel, Soldier of the Horse, is a lovingly crafted account of such a time—a tour de histoire, if you will—above all, a heartfelt requiem for an entire rank of the world's youth, called upon to suffer a clash of titans in the First World War. —Vancouver Sun


This book has clearly been well-researched and is well-written. . . . the characters feel realistic and the plot accurate. —David Tattersfield, The Western Front Association (2011-11-20)

Soldier of the Horse has been longlisted for the 2012 ReLit Awards.


The tale of passion, war, camaraderie, bravery and history takes readers from love and legal wranglings in Manitoba to a young soldier's Great War survival in France with the famous WWI Canadian cavalry regiment, Lord Strathcona's Horse. . . . Weaving emotions generated by wind, rain and memories of scars (physical and emotional) left with his father and those who survived, Mackay ably translates his impressions into a period tale which returns the reader to a by-gone era. —


About the Author

Robert W. Mackay is the award-winning author of Soldier of the Horse, a historical novel set during the First World War, which won the Gold Medal for Military/Wartime Fiction at the 2012 Independent Publisher Book Awards. His interest in military history is deep in his roots. His father was in the Canadian Cavalry in the First World War, and his brother was a career naval officer. Robert is a former naval officer, submariner, teacher, and lawyer. He has lived above and below water on the west and east coasts of Canada, the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and the North and Mediterranean Seas. He lives in Surrey, BC. Terror on the Alert is his second novel. Please visit, or follow him on Twitter at @RobertWMackay.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soldier of the Horse April 4 2011
Squadrons of Canadian Cavalrymen, swords drawn, charging full speed ahead into German machine guns on a battlefield in France. In the telling of our father's story, my brother provides humorous and poignant glimpses into the practice of law, military training, and romance in Winnipeg 1914 to 1918. Soldier of the Horse is a good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Writing March 25 2011
Soldier of the Horse provides a full picture of the soldier -- not just his battle experiences, but his thoughts and feelings. There's a romance in the story as well as plenty of action. Mr. Mackay's writing is a pleasure to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WW1 comes to life in this fast paced read! May 16 2011
Robert Mackay does a superb job in giving life to his characters caught up in the maelstrom of World War One. He uses his writer's easel to add colour and realism to those grainy, jerky black and white films off WW1 soldiers we all carry around in our heads. Horse lovers will relish his descriptions of the close bonds forged between man and horse in the crucible of battle. A very enjoyable and fast paced read. There is an interesting subplot lending suspense and a warmly written romance to boot. Something for everyone in this well written book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Soldier of the Horse April 15 2015
Our book club recently read The Soldier of the Horse and then had the great honor of having author Robert Mackay present to us on his novel and the research he had done. The novel itself is based on the experience of the author’s father as a “Soldier of the Horse during WW1. The author offers a touching and personal perspective of the lives and the sacrifices of soldiers of this time. Although the novel is fiction, there were many well researched facts that added depth to this narrative. At times, I found the emotion of the battle scenes created great tension. This novel is a great contrbution to the genre of military stories and of the need to remember and cherish what others have fought so hard to attain. I look forward to more from this author and would also highly recommend him as a speaker. His presentation was fascinating and so informative
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5.0 out of 5 stars Held my attention! Jan. 10 2015
Wow! A great start to a new author's career. I read Mackay ' s second book first after meeting Robert on a recent flight to Vancouver. I could not put TERROR ON THE ALERT down once I got into it.
After I finished it in record time for me, I put SOLDIER OF THE HORSE on my Christmas list and received an electronic copy from my daughter. I was in the middle of another book and did not start SOLDIER until earlier this week.
Action and suspense grabbed my attention right from start. The love story fit in nicely and added to the suspense. Would she wait for him to come back? Would he end up with his nurse?
Robert MacKay was working on his third novel, sitting next to me on Westjet. I can hardly wait for his next winner.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A review of "Soldier of the Horse" March 23 2011
Haven't read a book I couldn't put down in years. It was 3:40 in the morning when I finished reading "Soldier of the Horse". Mr Mackay blended a suspenseful story of one soldier's experience in the last use of calvary in modern warfare, WW1, with a soul mate love that was put on hold while he was prepared for and sent to battle. It is obvious he has done a lot of research on 1915 Winnipeg, Lord Strathcona's Horse cavalry unit, and the Battle of Moreuil Wood, etc but the story does not bog down. It is, in fact, very readable. I look forward to Mr. Mackay's next novel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars WWI seen through the eyes of a young soldier Jan. 6 2012
This is a wonderful story about WW1 and the Canadian cavalry from the point of view of a young soldier. It is well written in an easy to read format with very real characters. It does not glorify war but rather portrays the feelings of the young men who fought, their relationships with each other and their horses. The descriptions of the battles are vivid but not overly graphic. Woven through is a love story that may or may not stand the test of time. I recommend this book whether you are a history buff or not.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A darn good read
This is more than a war story.It's about love and honor and survival. Not given to reading stories of war, I was drawn in by Robert's ability to tell a tale that encompasses the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Dragonlee
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I enjoyed it very much
Published 14 months ago by Helen Crowe
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
Soldier of the Horse is a gripping story of a young man's experiences in WW1. The aristocratic machinations of uppercrust people force him to go to war and plague him throughout. Read more
Published on Nov. 10 2013 by John McDonell
4.0 out of 5 stars Page turner for history buffs
A Canadian author writes a compelling story about a Canadian soldier involved one of the last cavalry charges of WWI. Read more
Published on July 20 2012 by Julie H. Ferguson
5.0 out of 5 stars Soldier of the horse
Great book! Even better when the book talks about Winnipeg and I know all the spots he went to.
Anyway Great book,had a hard time putting it down.
Published on Oct. 16 2011 by Glenn E. Olund
5.0 out of 5 stars Soldier of the Horse
One of those books you can't put down - start to finish. A really easy, as well as informative, read.
Published on April 19 2011 by Eileen Flink
5.0 out of 5 stars Soldier of the Horrse
Robert Mackay's description of a soldier's life, in and out of the trenches, is so realistic that readers will be transported to the front lines of the battlefields of WW1. Read more
Published on April 4 2011 by Phyllis Hinz
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