Hachette, $39.99 hb, 401 pp
Horse? Could that title sound familiar because it was a Richard Harris movie of the 1960s? Well, Geraldine Brooks, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for March (2005) and author of novels about everything from the characters in Little Women to the life of King David, is not one to be deterred by daunting precedents. She is a senior journalist who has gone on to use her capacity to master information and then spin it to spectacular effect in order to tell a story in which historical data and its artful arrangement yield an effect that is epical because of the way a many-voiced choir animates the chorales that underline the Passion that is dramatised.