The fifth of the “Chronicles of Narnia” series by C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy, relates the story of a young man named Shasta and a talking horse named Bree as they escape a life of slavery in the land of Calormen. Joining them in their flight is Aravis, a member of the Calormene aristocracy who flees an arranged marriage. Narnia’s Queen Susan, King Edmund, and Queen Lucy take part in the proceedings, but they are only minor characters, since the whole tale is told from the point of view of the escaping Calormenes.
The protagonists of The Horse and His Boy, Shasta and Aravis, encounter many adventures en route to freedom: crossing deserts, fighting battles, and narrowly escaping a pursuing lion are just a few. When Aravis unwittingly discovers a Calormene plot to invade the peaceful country of Archenland, it becomes a race against time to warn the king of Archenland of the impending attack. In the end, a prophecy is fulfilled, Shasta discovers his true identity, and Bree finds a home with the other talking animals of Narnia.
The major theme of The Horse and His Boy concerns the folly of pride and the wisdom of humility. Several characters exhibit varying degrees of pride, which leads to all sorts of difficulties, but by the story’s end, the proud are abased and the humble are lifted up, in accordance with James 4:6. The Lord Jesus (in the form of Aslan) is presented as the All-powerful Sovereign who directs both the fate of nations and the hearts of individuals with equal precision. Other themes apparent in The Horse and His Boy include the refutation of “luck,” the incarnation of Christ, God’s love for all people, and prevenient grace.