Told from the point of view of a succession of teen-age boys, this is the fictional story of the four famous horses that stand over the doorway of the Basilica of San Marco in Venice, from the year 296 B.C. when they were made in Greece to the present day. Winners of the Chariot race in Olympiad 121, the horses were cast in bronze and set up in Olympia where they stayed until A.D. 68, when Nero carried them off to Rome; some 300 years later Constantine took them to his new city of Constantinople. Here they remained until 1205, when Doge Dandolo of Venice, fighting in the Fourth Crusade, captured them for his own city; in 1797 the arch-looter Napoleon kidnapped them and took them to Paris, but in 1815 they were again captured, this time by the Austrians, and returned to Venice where they stand today, although in World Wars I and II they went into temporary exile to avoid possible destruction. The story, exciting and instructive without extra adornment, is marred by a pedestrian and humorless style and by lengthy and non-essential details of the lives of the various fictional characters.