Helmand Province, Afghanistan October, 2009
Captain Thomas Forsyth joined the army when he was seventeen. Ability and talent got him to Sandhurst; leadership in the field got him to a war. An IED got him listed as an amputee.
“Simply being discharged from National Health Service care had been my overwhelming aim for weeks, without any thought or reason as to what was to come next. I was like a man released from prison who stands outside the gates gulping down great breaths of fresh, free air without a care for the future. Freedom was what mattered, not the nature of it”.
After four months of pain and infections that could have cost him his life, Tom Forsyth is discharged from the hospital with his state-of-the-art prosthesis and told to go home and recuperate and rest. Problem is Tom doesn’t have a home. He has never gotten along with his mother or her string of husbands (including his father). It was his relationship with her that drove him to the army and he never considered the prospects of civilian life. Like it or not, he doesn’t have any choice but to return to his mother’s home and to the stables that have made her one of the most successful horse trainers in England.
Josephine Kauri is no happier to see her son than he is to see her and, with little grace on either side, Tom moves back into the bedroom that he left fifteen years before. It is not long before Tom realizes that there is something very wrong going on at Kauri House Stables. His mother is being blackmailed. Not only must she pay an exhorbitant amount of money each week but she is being ordered to make sure that her horses, the favorites, lose in big races.
Tom makes it his mission to discover the identity of the blackmailer and to turn around the fortunes of Kauri House Stables. He is determined to ensure that his mother regains her reputation as one of the foremost winning trainers in the racing world. After fifteen years in the army, Tom has the skills to do it.
Dick Francis, with the assistance of his wife, Mary, and later with his son Felix, is the author of forty-four thrillers all of which have ties to horse racing. They are not about horses; they are about people who are involved in horse racing or who have even the most tangential relationship with the sport. Francis died in February, 2010 at the age of 89. It is to be hoped that Felix will continue his father’s legacy.