The Black Stallion battles flesh-eating mares in this strange, off-putting addition to the late Walter Farley's series, written by his son.
Alec Ramsey and his Black Stallion are playing the parts of Alexander the Great and his horse Bucephalus in a movie filmed in the mountains of Greece near a mysterious, heavily guarded "resort." When the Black pursues a strange albino mare across a stream, Alex and the 13-year-old daughter of one of the stunt riders (who seems to have no purpose in the story other than to keep it from being entirely populated by adults) follow. They fall into a mysterious underground river and thence into a strange world where people stay young by drinking magical water and offering human sacrifices to flesh-eating mares. It's meant to parallel the legend of Diomedes; unfortunately, none of it makes any sense. A graphic scene of horses consuming an elderly couple will unsettle many readers. Farley's writing, simultaneously flat and full of hyperbole, would be right at home in a B-movie Western, as would his characters, who come straight out of central casting, bad foreign dialects and all. Even the Black has become a stereotype.Readers are better off sticking to the originals. (Fiction. 9-12)