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"Once I started to read "A Famine of Horses", my own life came to a screeching halt while I plunged wholeheartedly into Robert Carey's..."

Sharon Kay Penman


Sir Robert Carey, the new Deputy Warden, arrives in Carlisle on the wild Anglo-Scottish frontier in the summer of 1592. He immediately plunges into the (possibly linked) questions of who killed the young cattle-rustler, Sweetmilk Graham, and why are horses disappearing from all over the Border?


In 1592 Sir Robert Carey comes to Carlisle to take up his new post as Deputy Warden of the West March. He has wangled his appointment to be nearer his true love (a married woman) and further from his creditors. Being away from  the disapproving eye of his father — the Queen’s cousin and possibly her half-brother — is also a plus point. And of course, he can use the money.

Sir Robert won’t see a profit from his perks if he fails to keep the peace. Alas, he is quickly challenged by the murder of a lad from the Graham crime family and betrayal by his rival for the deputyship. Then there is the rage of his true love’s husband… And there’s the question of the hundreds of horses being stolen from all over the Border. It’s hard to say whether there is more danger outside the city walls amidst the scheming Scots or within them amidst the unruly English garrison.

Sir Robert has a plan to find out what’s going on – but will he survive it?