Františka Vrbenská, Lucie Lukačovičová

The Burning Horse

Hořící kůň
Hořící kůň
Epocha, 2017, 440 pp
Language: Czech
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 9788075570772
Goodreads rating
73.4% (Rated by 12 users)

This classic historical fantasy contains everything you could wish for – beautiful women and beautiful horses, battle scenes, brawls, blood, sweat, adventure, ancient cities and, of course, a dreadful, terrifying sorcerer.

The novel The Burning Horse successfully draws on the atmosphere of Arabic Spain of the 11th century when Islam and Christianity clashed with Iberian culture while Viking raiders sailed down from the north… The country has been carved up into small kingdoms whose rulers are constantly vying for territory, influence and wealth.

This gripping story follows the love affair between the initially naïve Basque archer Iranzu (who renounces his military career to save his mortally wounded horse and sets out on a risky path as a horse thief) and an orphaned squire’s daughter, Brisca, an honourable servant who refuses to bend to the will of a demon to save the boy she loves from certain death… But there are also many other complex, interweaving subplots. Both of the main characters unwittingly become involved in the high politics of kings and sorcerers and find themselves never far from death in this turbulent land. The fates of all the characters are wickedly manipulated by the unpredictable demon Spin de Mul.

Naturally, there is no shortage of action in The Burning Horse, but the central theme is the romantic suffering of the two main characters, set against the background of the constant scheming and warring of mighty lords. The story, with its surprising denouement, is rounded off by a dictionary since the text is peppered with words from different languages, including Arabic, Aragonese and Basque.


The Burning Horse is a magical tale filled with love, reaching deep into the soul and the mind. It does not focus directly on the storyline, but on the characters’ feelings and the atmosphere. All of the imagination and details carefully embedded between the lines produce a simply wonderful effect.”


“The book is suffused with an intoxicating atmosphere and the almost tangible love of the two authors for the subject and the setting.”


About the authors

Františka Vrbenská is a librarian and author of academic articles on history, cultural anthropology and literature and has won a number of prizes for her literary and teaching work. She publishes short stories in magazines and anthologies and has written several novellas. Her essays and literary studies complement her short-story collections and novels. She contributes verse to poetry anthologies and created the poetry collection Instrukce k věčnosti (Instructions for Eternity, 2017) with Olga Nytrová. As an editor she was involved in the unique project Lehké fantazijno (A Light Fantasy) by the Czech studies scholar and writer Zuzana Hloušková – a four-volume anthology introducing female Czech and Slovak fantasy authors. She is a member of the Klub autorů literatury faktu (Club of Authors of Non-Fiction).

Lucie Lukačovičová (b. 1980) is an award-winning Czech author of historical fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk and science fiction. She studied cultural anthropology and librarianship at Charles University in Prague and enjoys travelling and collecting myths, legends, tales and ghost stories. Lukačovičová is the author of more than one hundred short stories in anthologies and magazines, and four novels. She has published works in English: the steampunk fantasy novella Spark of Thought (2016) and the loose sequel Spark of Eternity (2017). Her short stories have also been published in Romanian, German and Chinese.

Language: Czech
Title: Hořící kůň
Place: Prague, Czech Republic
Publisher: Epocha
Year: 2017
Pages: 440
Genre: Fantasy