The Silver Brumby by Eleyne Mitchell

‘Once there was a dark, stormy night in spring …’

On this night, Thowra, the silver brumby is born. His mother Bel Bel, herself a cream colour, knows that Thowra (named for the wind) will be sought by man because of his colour and trains him well.

‘Never go near Man, nor his huts, nor his yards where he fences in cattle and his own tame horse.’

In this, the first book of the Silver Brumby Series, we follow the life of Thowra from birth to legend. He grows from colt to a magnificent stallion, using the mountains to look after his herd and to escape from man.

I first read this book over fifty years ago and was transported to a magical world. I still think of the Snowy Mountains as silver brumby country and imagine the offspring of Thowra roaming freely through their domain. It’s risky to reread a book I loved as a child. Sometimes the magic has evaporated, leaving behind a less imaginative cold hard reality. And brumbies are not universally loved in the Snowy Mountains.

The magic had not evaporated for me with this novel: I could still imagine Thowra and his herd, I could still imagine Thowra eluding capture because of the lessons Bel Bel had taught him. I think that there are two reasons why I love this book. The first is that Ms Mitchell did such a wonderful job of describing the country and the creatures which inhabit it. The second is that the story ends in a way which enables me to imagine Thowra living on outside the pages of the novel.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith