by Robert W Mackay

Book Cover: Soldier of the Horse
ISBN: 9781926741246

Winnipeg, 1914. Tom Macrae is working on his law degree and enjoying the company of his sweetheart, Ellen. When the call to arms comes, both Tom and Ellen are torn from their secure, settled lives in the prairie city. Tom finds himself hunched in the trenches, amid the mud and horror of the Great War, while Ellen faces an uncertain future in Toms absence.

His prospects bleak, Tom serves with the Canadian Cavalry Brigade, in the thick of the stalemated struggles on the Western Front. In addition to the soldiers comradeship, Tom discovers the strong bonds of trust between the soldiers and their horses. With his own horse as his closest companion, he dodges a hurricane of shells, machine guns and swords, and in the clamour, faces his finest hour.

Inspired by his own fathers story and letters about fighting in Picardy, France, Robert W. Mackay has written a novel that brings to life the great military history and traditions of the Canadian Cavalry.


Flowerdew put his horse to the upward slope at the end of the draw, and Tom spurred Toby, who lunged at the embankment. Tom leaned forward to transfer his weight, shifting his reins to the more familiar left hand. His left arm still hurt but he could handle it. He could hear the men behind him urging their horses on.

As the slope eased Tom could see the corner of the forest to the right, and a broad field flattening out in front of them with a narrow road angling across it. Flowerdew, two lengths ahead, suddenly turned in his saddle and past him, around the corner, Tom saw a mass of grey uniforms not three hundred yards away. Christ, we’re into it now! He turned, bellowing at the men following, “Sections right! Sections right!” He waved his right arm to try to get the men and horses spread out to the side so they’d be a more dispersed target. Toby tossed his head and veered. Tom reined him back on course, the pain in his arm forgotten.


Flowerdew ripped his sword from its scabbard and waved it overhead. “It’s a charge, boys, it’s a charge!”

Reviews:Vancouver Sun wrote:

“Robert W. Mackay’s first novel, Soldier of the Horse, is a lovingly crafted account of such a time—a tour de histoire, if you will—above all, a heartfelt requiem for an entire rank of the world’s youth, called upon to suffer a clash of titans in the First World War.”

Ian Weir, author of Daniel O’Thunder wrote:

“A galloping, gripping adventure, rooted in the tragedy and triumph of the Canadian cavalry in World War One. Robert Mackay has crafted a genuine page-turner that haunts and lingers in the mind. I loved it.”

About the Author

Robert W. Mackay attended UBC and spent ten years in the Canadian navy with service in destroyers and submarines. He subsequently taught school and practised law. His first published novel is the gold-medal-winning Soldier of the Horse, the story of his father’s time in the WW I Canadian Cavalry Brigade. Terror on the Alert, Robert’s second prize-winning novel, is set in a Canadian submarine during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was published in September 2014, in time for the 100th anniversary of submarines in Canada. He is a past president of Canadian Authors–Metro Vancouver and a member of the Canadian Authors Association national board of directors.