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Gambling with the Enemy: an equestrian thriller Paperback – August 1, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

Review

Just finished Gambling with the Enemy...I could not put it down!....just galloped through the story with Jess and Faith. I really felt the story unfolding in what astrologers call a "conspiracy of energy" as Jess had her mettle tested on every plane imaginable. Friendships faltering, business failing, beliefs shattered, and the total isolation Jess felt. --Blue Ribbon Books, Robbee Huseth

...This is a contemporary, suspenseful post 9/11 American story. It's set in the world of horses and is told in third-person...Jessica Rayder and her partner Faith teach kids how to ride, grooming them for competition. Leland's writing gets better with each book [and] Gambling with the Enemy explores a subject that raises the neck hairs of every American...a credible, memorable, instructive, mysterious, suspenseful, all-around-electrifying read. --Midwest Book Review, Christina Francine Whitcher

This book had me holding my breath from start to finish! A very exciting plot, with a character that I loved to hate and yet pulled for her all the way through the book. A real page burner!! I couldn't put it down, read it in one sitting (which kept me up til 2am and had my husband take over the book the following night). I wasn't sure if he'd be able to get through the stereotype of the the "romance" and "horse novel" and female characters, but he enjoyed it as much as I did - and finished it in record time. We can't wait for Toni Leland's next novel!! --Amazon Reader

--Amazon Reader

...This is a contemporary, suspenseful post 9/11 American story. It's set in the world of horses and is told in third-person...Jessica Rayder and her partner Faith teach kids how to ride, grooming them for competition. Leland's writing gets better with each book [and] Gambling with the Enemy explores a subject that raises the neck hairs of every American...a credible, memorable, instructive, mysterious, suspenseful, all-around-electrifying read. --Midwest Book Review, Christina Francine Whitcher

This book had me holding my breath from start to finish! A very exciting plot, with a character that I loved to hate and yet pulled for her all the way through the book. A real page burner!! I couldn't put it down, read it in one sitting (which kept me up til 2am and had my husband take over the book the following night). I wasn't sure if he'd be able to get through the stereotype of the the "romance" and "horse novel" and female characters, but he enjoyed it as much as I did - and finished it in record time. We can't wait for Toni Leland's next novel!! --Amazon Reader

...This is a contemporary, suspenseful post 9/11 American story. It's set in the world of horses and is told in third-person...Jessica Rayder and her partner Faith teach kids how to ride, grooming them for competition. Leland's writing gets better with each book [and] Gambling with the Enemy explores a subject that raises the neck hairs of every American...a credible, memorable, instructive, mysterious, suspenseful, all-around-electrifying read. --Midwest Book Review, Christina Francine Whitcher

This book had me holding my breath from start to finish! A very exciting plot, with a character that I loved to hate and yet pulled for her all the way through the book. A real page burner!! I couldn't put it down, read it in one sitting (which kept me up til 2am and had my husband take over the book the following night). I wasn't sure if he'd be able to get through the stereotype of the the "romance" and "horse novel" and female characters, but he enjoyed it as much as I did - and finished it in record time. We can't wait for Toni Leland's next novel!! --Amazon Reader

...This is a contemporary, suspenseful post 9/11 American story. It's set in the world of horses and is told in third-person...Jessica Rayder and her partner Faith teach kids how to ride, grooming them for competition. Leland's writing gets better with each book [and] Gambling with the Enemy explores a subject that raises the neck hairs of every American...a credible, memorable, instructive, mysterious, suspenseful, all-around-electrifying read. --Midwest Book Review, Christina Francine Whitcher

This book had me holding my breath from start to finish! A very exciting plot, with a character that I loved to hate and yet pulled for her all the way through the book. A real page burner!! I couldn't put it down, read it in one sitting (which kept me up til 2am and had my husband take over the book the following night). I wasn't sure if he'd be able to get through the stereotype of the the "romance" and "horse novel" and female characters, but he enjoyed it as much as I did - and finished it in record time. We can't wait for Toni Leland's next novel!! --Amazon Reader

About the Author

Toni Leland's career with horses-both professionally and personally-has spanned over fifty years. Her personal love affair with these creatures has been an ongoing affliction since she was a young girl, and, in the early eighties, she owned and showed some of the horses described in her books.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Equine Graphics Publishing (August 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1887932402
  • ISBN-13: 978-1887932400
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,485,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Horses, music, and big dreams shaped Toni Leland's pre-writing life, but those same things all found their way into her novels. The subconscious mind is a great thing.

A long period of time passed between Toni's childhood daydreams of galloping across an Oregon field of daisies astride a beautiful stallion, to the wonderful year when an aging retired show horse named Sonny made his way into her life. No matter that he was the ugliest horse alive, he was the dream come true. Those emotions of a horse-crazy little girl never go away, and Leland's story characters reflect that.

Music played a large role in Leland's early years. Classical piano study for ten years, church organist during junior high and high school, participation in the A Cappella choir, and accompanist for several smaller school choral groups paved the way for Toni's tenure as director of The Julie Singers in Holy Loch, Scotland in the early 1980s. Ten years later, she was a proud voice with The Kent Singers in Connecticut.

Big dreams? Leland's aspiration to become either a horse veterinarian or an archaeologist never came to fruition. Marriage and children set those dreams on hold, but in 1984 she had the opportunity to live in Cairo, Egypt and was ultimately able to see and experience the wonders of that ancient land. Of course, Egypt has many Arabian horses and Toni instantly resumed her horse-crazy activities.

Once the horse bug had revived, Leland decided that she would finally have that gorgeous stallion she'd dreamed about so long ago. In fact, she'd have as many horses as she wanted. On her return to the U.S., she began acquiring quality Arabian horses to breed and show. At some point, she became acquainted with Morgan horses, and had to have one of those too. Then a charming palomino Welsh pony mare named Jasmine. (There is no known cure for horse-crazy.)

Toni Leland started writing in earnest at about that same time, combining her graphic design talent with good copywriting, and working with horse owners and stables around the Northeast. Toni designed and produced several breed organization directories over the next few years, as well as a start-up magazine for the miniature horse breed. In 1988, Toni took over publication of the well-known Nutmeg Horse Bulletin, a yearly events calendar for Connecticut and surrounding areas.

Through those years and the ones that followed, Toni Leland has lovingly and carefully created stories involving horses and the people who adore them. Though she no longer owns horses, her insight into the animal, the human elements, and the issues that face the industry are all fodder for her novels. And to think it all started with an imaginary ride on a galloping stallion.

Customer Reviews

This is a page turner from start to finish.
Lady Winter
She demonstrates an insight at to what motivated those attacks, and applies that, in very concise literary form, to the equestrian world of show horses.
Robert Bennett
And for horse lovers, this novel provides a good dose of horse, at all levels.
Anne Honeywood

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Marilyn M. Fisher on August 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
In Toni Leland's third equestrian novel, Jessica Rayder is faced with many problems that threaten to overwhelm her, each one worse than the one before. She and her partner and friend Faith Angelo own Easton Ridge, an equestrian center in the beautiful Connecticut countryside. Due to a series of disasters it's failing, and Jess needs money desperately to keep it afloat. Jess considers using her talent in a field that has nothing to do with horses. A second problem is Faith's alcoholism, continually threatening her superb teaching skills and just as relentlessly pulling her down. And when Jess enrolls a new riding student, the young girl turns out to be the innocent catalyst for the worst disaster of Jess's life. The most stunning element of Leland's novel is its plot. The events in the story center on terrorism in the idyllic setting of the country, and unfold with ever-mounting tension until the shocking climax. Leland's skill at plotting is matched in her depiction of vivid characters. Jessica is smart, loyal to her friends, persistent, often obstinate, and painfully honest and fair about herself and others. The characters of Howard London, a lawyer with integrity, Mona Johnson, who lends a welcome pair of helping hands at a critical time, and the joyous young girls who delight in horse shows are all realistically drawn with detailed description. Middle Eastern characters--both innocent and guilty men and women--are fairly treated. The issue of trust with which many Americans struggle since the war on terrorism began is well illustrated in the novel. The varying reactions of Americans toward Middle Eastern people are portrayed powerfully. All in all, Gambling with the Enemy is a gripping, "can't put it down" novel, with unforgettable characters and one of the most terrifying scenarios a modern-day American could imagine.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Holly Azevedo on October 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
Jessica Rayder and Faith Angelo are fast friends. They've been through a lot over their long relationship, but nothing has prepared them for the trouble that has arrived at their Connecticut equestrian center. While Jessica struggles with the bleak financial picture of the business and concerns that Faith is slipping into old self-destructive habits, the nature of the real enemy is unfathomable to them. Toni Leland's new book brings the best of her previous "Hearts Over Fences" and "Winning Ways" with her detailed equestrian knowledge and a strong female lead character, but the thrilling action and suspense is totally different. Jessica and Faith are manipulated by forces over which they have no control, and their reactions to the scene unfolding around them reflect the uncertainty of today's American climate after 9/11. The women are alternately unbelieving that this is happening in their presumed-safe country life, then get jolted into the reality of the dangers that must be faced. The portrayal of the busy and positive activities of the riding center, where adults and children are in harmony with horses, provides the perfect backdrop and contrast to the enemy's schemes. "Gambling with the Enemy" is a true page-turner, with diverse and realistic characters that interact in ever-building suspense. We look forward to the next Toni Leland book!!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robert Bennett on September 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
Gambling with the Enemy is a modern thriller in every sense. Toni Leland demonstrates her knowledge of horses an the horse community, and then she couples that knowledge with the sense of doom that has hung over America since the fatal 9/11 attacks that crippled New York City. She demonstrates an insight at to what motivated those attacks, and applies that, in very concise literary form, to the equestrian world of show horses.

This is a novel with plot twists and deceitful characters that carries the reader right to the end, while exploring subtle human greed and exposing the darker side of mankind's soul. It does all of this before a backdrop of equestrian culture, which serves to give the story line a depth of history; these human motivations are older than America, going back beyond man's mastery over animals.

Gambling with the Enemy is a great read, captivating, and very informative as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ctyankey on August 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
This novel is Toni's best to date. Her characters are very believable and well developed. The heroine, Jessica, is a stronger and more believable character than in most novels of this genre. The plot twists and turns as it builds tension. The action centers on a young shy girl with Middle Eastern heritage who starts taking riding lessons at the stable owned by Jessica.

There is plenty of action, surprises, and an ultimate show down at a key horse showing event. Sub plots involve Jessica's struggle to stay afloat financially, which results in a meeting with a laid back big time lawyer with a western twang, who develops as the key relationship in the novel. All in all, it is fast paced and well-constructed novel, which young and old alike should enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nora Charles on September 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
In her third novel, Toni Leland keeps her reader's eyes glued to the page with a fast-paced plot, interesting and appealing characters, and a premise that is full of mystery and suspense.

Gambling With the Enemy is a very entertaining combination equestrian-suspense-romance novel. I look forward to reading more of this talented author's books.
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