Born in the hold of a Spanish galleon destined for the New World, the young filly Estrella knows nothing of the feel of the earth under her hooves or the joy of the pasture, but her mother’s soft murmurings hint at a greater destiny for the young horse and her friends.
Determined to lighten their load and save their quest for gold, the sailors dump the horses overboard. Perlina, Estrella’s dam, exhorts them to swim for the nearby island, but a hungry shark has other plans for her filly. Perlina sacrifices herself for the herd, but her life is not her only gift. Before dying, she gives Estrella a vision of freedom. It falls to Estrella, the youngest of the surviving horses, to inspire the others to journey toward the promise of a life without masters where the sweet grass grows. As in works such as her Guardians of Ga’hoole series, Lasky uses animals to touch on very human issues. The herd must face the cost of freedom and the adversity that comes with the pursuit of one’s dreams. Complex and distinctive characters offer a fresh view of familiar historical events.
A promising start to a new series. (author’s note, map) (Historical fantasy. 8-12)