I was an avid Walter Farley reader when I was in middle/school and high school. I have actually read the entire series and the beginning of his daughter’s series, The Phantom Stallion. I also remember this book in particular as it is my favorite of the series. It was exactly as I remembered it. It is a little too easy for me to read now, definitely meant for younger readers, but the vocabulary is great and the story moves well.
The plot follows Steve and his older mentor Pitch as they investigate an uninhabited island in the Caribbean. Pitch had moved to Antago to live with his brother Tom and work as his book keeper. Tom is the local horse wrangler for the wild horses that come off of Azul Island. The horses are nothing impressive, hardy little creatures full of spirit. Steve is mildly obsessed with horses. He goes to visit Pitch during summer vacation and agrees to spend two weeks on Azul Island with Pitch in exchange for any horse he wants on the island. While they are there, they see a magnificent stallion on the cliffs of the until then assumed uninhabited rock of the rest of the island. After an intensive search, Steve and Pitch discover a way into the interior of the island – a series of tunnels left by the conquistadores. The rest of the book is the discoveries they make and the growing connection between a boy and a stallion.
It is a fantastic book for young readers. The story revolves around loyalty, trust, compassion, and self-confidence. Also, the story moves well, with constant drama and action. I highly recommend this book to any reader in middle and high school, particularly ones who love horses. The series is also a great one. There is little to no swearing, all good clean reading that helps to inspire self-confidence and being true to ones’ self.