7 December, 2022

Litstack Recs | The UnAmericans & All the Horses of Iceland

All the Horses of Iceland, by Sarah Tolmie

Not legend, not myth, not history, nor fantasy – but a bit of all of them. At its barest, this slim novella is the recounting from an ancient manuscript of how horses came to Iceland. At its heart, it is an epic tale of a journey through strange lands in the guise of an Icelandic saga.

But it presents itself as a beautifully sparse and poetic tale of Eyvind of Eyri, a trader who journeys through Rus and Khazaria to the grassy steppes of Mongolia with the intention of bringing wild horses to Iceland – hardy stock who could perhaps withstand the harshness of his native land. He joins in with a group of Khazars (after leaving his original merchant party after refusing to renounce his paganism and convert to Christianity) on a perilous journey through a warring land.

Sarah Tolmie

Along the way he finds himself enmeshed in tribal politics, seeking understanding of other cultures and religions and experiencing the semi-mystical, including inheriting the ghost of a magician’s daughter which manifests through the presence of a beautiful white horse at times only seen by Eyvind, a horse known merely as the Mare with No Name. His journey is harrowing and quite perilous, but still lilting and full of a stoic mysticism.

Amal El-Mohtar, writer of speculative fiction including the superlative collaboration This is How You Lose the Time War, wrote of All the Horses of Iceland, “(Author) Tolmie — both a medievalist and professed horse person — brings a scholarly precision to her fantasy that makes magic mundane and the mundane utterly sublime.” This is quite true. Slow-moving yet powerful in its simplicity and lack of posturing, All the Horses of Iceland feels pure, unburdened. History it may not be, nor myth or legend, but after reading it, you feel like you have learned something deep in your bones, that transcends a mere origin story.

—Sharon Browning

Author

  • TS Tate

    Tee received a Master of Arts in English in 2008 from Southeastern Louisiana University. She has studied under Edgar nominee Tim Gautreaux, Booksense Pick novelist Bev Marshall and Clarion West graduate and World Fantasy nominee, Cat Rambo. She has more than ten years of documentation and editing experience and is currently the Editor-in-Chief at LitStack.com.   She has spent the past nine years in the corporate environment as a Technical Editor and has previously edited for Christine Rose, Phoebe North, Heather McCorkle, Laura Pauling, Anne Riley, Christine Fonseca and UF writer Carolyn Crane. With Heather McCorkle, Tee co-founded the #WritersRoad chat on Twitter.  In addition, she is working on several creative projects, including her second novel and various short stories. Her flash fiction, "Street Noises," was included in the Pill Hill Press anthology "Daily Frights 2012: 366 Days of Dark Flash Fiction (Leap Year Edition)" and her short "Til Hunt Be Done," was included in the Winter Wonders anthology from Compass Press.  A diehard New Orleans Saints fan, Tee lives with her family in Southeast Louisiana.