"Separated by war. Tested by battle. Bound by friendship."
The above is the tagline for a story by Michael Morpurgo titled "War Horse".
The story is told through the eyes of Joey, a horse owned by the son of an English farmer who, at the beginning of WWI, was sold to the army to be a cavalry horse. The story follows Joey's harrowing and heart touching journey through the war and the people he meets along the way, both kind and cruel, both human and fellow horse.
From his kind farm boy, Albert, to the courageous Captain James Nicholls, to sure footed Topthorn, to sweet Emilie and beyond, Joey's encounters reveal the nature of people and animals during a time when the world seemed to be descending into chaos. Joey's journey reveals that even enemies share common ground when it comes to their love and respect of the courageous horses fighting to survive along side them.
It is not often that a story brings tears to my eyes. But several times while reading this story I found myself wiping tears away. This story reached out and touched my heart in a way that, when I was younger, "Black Beauty" once had. Reading of Joey's life, his survival, and how hard Albert fought to be reunited with his beloved friend, I couldn't help but be moved. The love and bond between boy and horse is beyond words.
Even though "War Horse" is listed as a children's novel I would highly recommend this story to anyone, be they an animal lover or not, because it is such a moving story. It has a way of reaching out and grabbing hold of you. Of bringing you into Joey's world and showing how, no matter what happens, friendship can keep you alive. It gives you a strength you may not have known you had.