Inner flap description from the first US edition:The Horsemen is an epic novel of man pitted against nature. The setting is Afghanistan--a country of rugged landscape and savage winds, at the crossroads of Asia, where people live today much as theyMoreInner flap description from the first US edition:The Horsemen is an epic novel of man pitted against nature.
The setting is Afghanistan--a country of rugged landscape and savage winds, at the crossroads of Asia, where people live today much as they did eight hundred years ago. A match of buzkashi (a savage tournament of horsemen) is to be held in the capital to celebrate the kings birthday. Uraz, son of the renowed Master-of-the-Horse, Tursen, is riding in the place of his father, who is now too old to participate in the contest. Although Tursen grudgingly promises his son Jahil, the fiercest of his stallions, he bitterly resents his sons replacing him and secretly hopes that he will lose.
Jahil is indeed the winning horse, but not with Uraz as his rider. The young man is thrown from the horse and taken to the kings hospital.Humiliated by his defeat and anticipating his fathers bitter scorn, Uraz decides to leave the capital and the modern world he doesnt understand.
In order to wash away his shame, Uraz intentionally chooses the most difficult route over the great steppes- he wants to make his journey a triump even greater than victory in the buzkashi would have been. During this odyssey, which lasts for months, and of his steadily worsening physical condition, Uraz stops at nothing to tempt fate and wreak vengeance on himself. Recklessly he crosses through the mountain gorges so narrow his horse can hardly pass- he traverses barren plateaus where only wild dogs roam. Motivated by emotions he can barely understand, he drives himself faster and faster back to the home of a father he both fears and derides, yet who alone can make him come to terms with himself.Everything in The Horsemen disorients the reader from the modern world: the awesomeness of nature, the savagery of the characters, their pride, contempt, rage, and their passion for horses.
Yet at the same time the reader is aware that The Horsemen is a story of today. The rigid and barbaric code by which these people live draws on basic human values that transcend time: physical courage, personal honor, and loyalty are emotions that are closer to the core of human existence than some moderns might suppose. If only for this reason, and not for its narrative brilliance, the author of The Old Man and the Sea would have admired The Horsemen.