The only thing that keeps the small Duchy of Oc safe from invasion are their winged horses. And the only ones who can ride them are the Horsemistresses, for no winged horse can stand men. As such they are zealously guarded, and their breeding closely monitored.
So how has an unwinged mare, found in the Uplands, given birth to a winged colt? By the time Horsemistress Philippa Winter arrives to investigate, the colt Tup is irreversibly bonded to young farm girl Larkyn. And nothing will part them now, not even the sinister Lord William, the brutal, bitter son of the Duke of Oc.
This is a book for horse lovers, and no mistake. The details that Bishop puts into the winged horses and the training at the academy are a real labour of love, and make this a very easy world to get involved in. Add to that the twists and turns of political intrigue - at school level, right the way up to the duke - and this story swiftly draws the reader in.
Lark is a likeable farm girl, Tup is a sweet, unusual horse, Philippa provides the strict mentor role, Hester is the supportive friend, while Sweet and William provide tension on two separate levels. It's good ol' fantasy stuff, with an enjoyable world and magnificent beasts. It'll be interesting to see where Bishop takes them all next.