The Year Of The Horsetails - R. F. [Robert Frederick] TapsellHutchinson, 1967, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Good+ — in Good+ Dust Wrapper. A little rubbing to the edges of the dust wrapper which is a little tanned overall, heavier to the spine. Leans slightly. Text complete, clean and tight but a little age-tanned. A good copy, uncommon in the dust wrapper.
From the cover: “The period of The Year of the Horsetails is that of the great age of the nomads, which opened with the raids of Attila the Hun and culminated in the career of Genghis Khan : the setting, the vast Eurasian steppe-lands. The plains are ruled by a nomad horde, the Tugars, skilled soldiers and horsemen commanded by the Kagan, whose ruthless leadership has thrown into bondage many neighbouring tribes, including the Sakas. One of the Sakas, Bardiya, himself a hard-bitten campaigner well versed in the Kagan’s military skill, turns renegade. He kills one of the Kagan’s generals and is hunted by the Tugars over the plains and into the mountains. Escaping here, he finds himself among the Drevichi, inhabitants of a friendly fertile land. When the Tugars invade the Drevichi, Bardiya gradually takes charge of the resistance and finally defeats them with the military cunning he first learned in their ranks.
No summary could do justice to the scale and drama of this book. It has all the drawn-out tension of a struggle between a David and a Goliath: all the panoramic breadth of a film like The Fall of the Roman Empire . The strange, primitive civilization of the nomad Tugars is brought to life as though the author had lived among them. The breath-catching battles and sieges seem like the first-hand observations of a masterly war-correspondent. R. F. Tapsell is the sort of novelist who is unusual these days — a man bold enough to paint on the broadest of canvases: yet every inch of his picture is drawn with the precision of a craftsman’s hand.”