Best 1954 Adventures (6)
September 10, 2019
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1954 adventure novels.
C.S. Lewis’s Narnia fantasy adventure The Horse and His Boy.
During the reign of the four Pevensie children as kings and queens of Narnia, two Narnian talking horses, Bree and Hwin, both of whom were stolen by the Calormenes as foals, escape from Calormen — a Middle Eastern-esque country to the southeast of Narnia, and separated from it by the country of Archenland and a large desert — and head home. Riding Bree is an orphan named Shasta, who wants to avoid being sold into slavery; riding Hwin is Aravis, a young Calormene aristocrat, who is running away to avoid being forced to marry Calormen’s vizier. The group passes through Calormen’s capital city, Tashbaan, where they learn of the ruler’s plan to invade Archenland and raid Narnia; they also encounter Narnian visitors who mistake Shasta for an Archenland prince to whom he bears a striking resemblance. They flee into the desert, heading for “Narnia and the North!” Along the way, they encounter vicissitudes which turn out to have been blessings in disguise orchestrated by Aslan; this is Lewis’s religious message. Will they warn Archenland of the invasion in time? And will Shasta discover his true identity?
Fun facts: Of the seven novels that comprise The Chronicles of Narnia (1950–1956), The Horse and His Boy was the fourth to be written and the fifth to be published; according to the series’ internal chronology, however, it is the third book. It’s the only series installment to take place entirely within Narnia.
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.