Introduced by the author
Illustrated by Alan Marks
Star of both stage and screen, War Horse is now published in a Folio edition with a striking binding and a series of powerful illustrations by Alan Marks.
Joey, a beautiful bay-red horse with a distinctive white cross on his nose, works on a farm in the Devonshire countryside, alongside his devoted master Albert. But when war breaks out in 1914, Joey is sold to the army and sent to the battlefields of France on the Western Front. Here he witnesses the worst of humanity: the chaos and raw fear of battle, the thunder of machine-gun fire across the trenches, and the senseless slaughter of soldiers and horses alike. Yet in the midst of these vast horrors, quiet acts of kindness remind Joey that friendship and love can survive even in the most terrible of times.
‘Michael Morpurgo writes brilliantly about war and animals, conveying the big emotions without preaching’
Adapted for the stage in 2007, War Horse was first performed at the National Theatre in London to critical acclaim before touring theatres worldwide. In 2012, Stephen Spielberg brought the story to the big screen. Although intended for a young audience, Michael Morpurgo’s moving novel doesn’t shy away from the cruel reality of conflict. The brutal landscape of the First World War is described in elegant, affecting prose, but tempering this are moments of compassion and humanity – by far the most powerful scenes in this poignant story.
In his introduction, written exclusively for this edition, Morpurgo, a former Children’s Laureate, discusses the timeless value of illustrated books, as well as the special relationship between author and artist. He describes the beloved illustrated books of his own childhood, stating that, even now, he believes that words and images together are ‘how stories are best made and most powerfully told’.
Alan Marks’s dramatic and sensitive images won the commission to illustrate War Horse in the 2016 Book Illustration Competition. Morpurgo, who sat on the judging panel, describes in his introduction how the images ‘shone a new light’ on the story, ultimately enriching it. The striking binding and die-cut bookmark also feature designs by the artist.
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