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Caitlin Brennan/Judith Tarr

Judith Tarr (1955 - ), who also writes under the pseudonyms Caitlin Brennan and Kathleen Bryan, writes historical novels and fantasy as well as a genre new to me, historical fantasy. In this, historical events are blended with the fantastic, and so in Devil’s Bargain, Richard the Lionheart is leading the Crusades against Saladin, but his mother Eleanor has struck a bargain with a sorcerer in which Richard will survive, but at the cost of losing his soul. Richard’s illegitimate sister, Sioned, has to battle with the jinn and the forces of darkness to save his soul, an idea which is certainly intriguing.


Judith Tarr’s academic background has served her well in her writing. She was educated at Mount Holyoke College and Cambridge, where she studied for an MA in Classics. She said:


“"As a writer of fantasy, I have found my academic training to be truly invaluable. Fantasy is more than an illogical escape, or a conglomeration of elements from Tolkien, C S Lewis, and the Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual. Good fantasy requires a knowledge of history, a feeling for language—one's own and, preferably, a number of others (I have classical and medieval Latin, classical Greek, Old and Middle English, medieval and modern French, some German, and some Provençal)—and an affinity for plain old hard work. The training and techniques required to earn a PhD adapt themselves very well indeed to the exigencies of creating and populating a world. If nothing else, I have learned where to look for what I need, what to look for, and what to do with it when I have it—not to mention the ability to produce work of consistent and, I can hope, high quality, on command and against a deadline.”


Judith Tarr breeds Lipizzaners at Dancing Horse Farm, and they have influenced her Mountain’s Call series, written as Caitlin Brennan, in which the gods take the form of dancing white horses. A new novel is due in this series in November 2010, House of the Star.


Links and sources
Judith Tarr’s website

Caitlin Brennan’s website, which includes excerpts from the books

Judith Tarr’s blog

Macmillan on Judith Tarr

More on Judith Tarr


Epona Series

Lady of Horses

White Mare’s Daughter

Daughter of Lir


Mountain’s Call
Series

The Mountain’s Call

Song of Unmaking

Shattered Dance

House of the Star

A Wind in Cairo

Bantam USA, pb,1989

Bantam UK, 1990, pb

Reprinted by Lulu.com, 2009, with original text plus a new introduction and bonus short story


Hasan is a spoiled emir’s son, who makes the mistake of offending the kingdom’s most powerful
Magus. He turns Hasan into a stallion with human intelligence.

Bibliography - horse books only

The Mountain’s Call (as Caitlin Brennan)

Luna, New York,2004, 459 pp

Luna, New York, 2006, 536 pp


The gods, in the form of white horses, live in the mountains. Only boys have been called to ride
the Stallions in The Dance, but then the girl Valeria hears the call. Disguised as a boy, Valeria
battles through the tests to become a Rider, but at the end her secret is discovered and she loses
everything she has won. Now the Aurelian Empire threatens, and Valeria’s fury might allow them
a way in.

White Mare’s Daughter

Forge, New York, 1998, 494 pp

Forge Books, 2001


Set in prehistoric Europe, Sarama is the servant of the White Mare, incarnation of the Horse Goddess
Epona. The goddess wants Sarama to find a land where men have never ruled. When Sarama finds
this land, which has never known horses, war, or men as rulers, she realises she will have to teach them
to resist the tribes advancing on them.


Lady of Horses

Forge, New York, 2000, 415 pp

Forge, New York, 2002, pb


Although written after White Mare’s Daughter, this book precedes it, and deals with with a time three
generations before the first horse was ridden. A girl is the first to make the step, but the priests decree

that only men should ride, and attribute her achievement to her brother. This displeases Epona.



Daughter of Lir

Tom Doherty Associates, New York, 2001, 415 pp

Forge Books, New York, 2003, pb


The nomadic tribes have now harnessed the horse to the war chariot. The king has lost his soul to
a witch, and the tribe is about to embark on conquest.





Song of Unmaking (as Caitlin Brennan)

Luna, New York, 2005, 488 pp



Valeria is trying to save the Aurelian Empire, but she has tried too hard, and a darkness has
taken root in her. She turns to Kerrec, her mentor, but he has a darkness even worse than hers,
and he is sent from the Mountain in a quest for healing. Valeria shadows him, and it is on these
two that the fate of all they believe in rests.

Shattered Dance (as Caitlin Brennan)

Luna, New York, 2006, 442 pp



The Aurelian Empire is threatened again, and Valeria has to risk her life to save it.

House of the Star (as Caitlin Brennan)

Starscape, New York, 2010