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10 lb Penalty Mass Market Paperback – August 3, 2004
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"A winner in every sense of the word—A Pleasure to Read...A Treat."—Associated Press
"Few things are more convincing than Dick Francis at Full gallop."—Chicago Tribune
About the Author
Dick Francis (pictured with his son Felix Francis) was born in South Wales in 1920. He was a young rider of distinction winning awards and trophies at horse shows throughout the United Kingdom. At the outbreak of World War II he joined the Royal Air Force as a pilot, flying fighter and bomber aircraft including the Spitfire and Lancaster.
He became one of the most successful postwar steeplechase jockeys, winning more than 350 races and riding for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. After his retirement from the saddle in 1957, he published an autobiography, The Sport of Queens, before going on to write more than forty acclaimed books, including the New York Times bestsellers Even Money and Silks.
A three-time Edgar Award winner, he also received the prestigious Crime Writers’ Association’s Cartier Diamond Dagger, was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, and was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2000. He died in February 2010, at age eighty-nine, and remains among the greatest thriller writers of all time.
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George, who has made piles of money in the City, is going to stand for Parliament. Never having remarried, he needs Ben's smiling presence during his campaign to lend him the respectable aura of a family man. To achieve this, George has to lure Ben away from the dream of being a jockey. The fact is, Ben has limited ability and will never be one of the greats.
Dick Francis himself won over 350 races and served as jockey to HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, for four years. He did achieve greatness in the racing world - and went on to become a world-class mystery writer as well. So it's interesting to observe Francis' empathetic portrayal of a young person who must accept his limitations and discover his true strengths.
The plot revolves around Ben's adventures helping with the campaign and outsmarting his father's enemies. Ben combines a methodical cleverness with a brash willingness to throw himself into danger in defense of others. Both father and son are morally upright, which could be boring, but in fact they somehow make niceness seem multi-faceted and attractive.
So yes, I enjoyed the book very much and recommend it. I will soon have read every book available by Dick Francis, and I'll move on to the ones written in collaboration with his son Felix. There's another interesting father-son story!