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Silks [Hardcover]

Dick Francis , Felix Francis
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Sep 2008

“Julian Trent, you have been found guilty by this court of perpetrating a violent and unprovoked attack on an innocent family including a charge of attempted murder. You have shown little or no remorse for your actions and I consider you a danger to society.”

When defence barrister Geoffrey Mason hears the judge’s verdict, he quietly hopes that a long and arduous custodial sentence will be handed down to his arrogant young client. That Julian Trent only receives eight years seems all too lenient. Little does Mason expect that he’ll be looking Trent in the eyes again much sooner than he’d ever imagined.

Setting aside his barrister’s wig, Mason heads to Sandown to don his racing silks. An amateur jockey, his true passion is to be found in the saddle on a Thoroughbred, pounding the turf in the heat of a steeplechase. But when a fellow rider is brutally murdered – a pitchfork driven through his chest – Mason’s racing life soon becomes all too close to his working life. The prime suspect is one of their brethren, champion jockey Steve Mitchell; the evidence is overwhelming.

Mason is reluctant to heed Mitchell’s pleas for legal advice – but soon he finds himself at the centre of a sinister web of threat and intimidation. Mason is left fighting a battle of right and wrong, and more immediately, a battle of life and death… his own.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph; First Edition, 1st Printing edition (4 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718154576
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718154578
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 326,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dick Francis has written forty-two novels, a volume of short stories (Field of 13), his autobiography (The Sport of Queens) and the biography of Lester Piggott. He is rightly acclaimed as one of the greatest thriller writers in the world.

Product Description

Amazon Review

There are few thriller writers who have had such long and distinguished careers as Dick Francis, and his lengthy series of books (with their zesty recreations of the racing world) are among many readers' favourite novels in the genre. Recently, ill-health seemed to threaten the author's reliable productivity, and the death of his wife (who had long been a behind-the-scenes collaborator on his books) made it appear that the golden days of the Dick Francis racing thriller were firmly in the past. However, here is Silks, the result of a collaboration between Dick Francis and his son Felix -- and it will be a welcome arrival for the legions of Francis admirers.

Julian Trent is found guilty of a violent unprovoked attack on an innocent family and a charge of attempted murder. He is accused by the judge of showing no remorse for his actions, but receives a remarkably light sentence. Surprisingly, this news is not welcome to his defence barrister, Geoffrey Mason, who was secretly hoping for a more severe judgement against his client, whom he does not like. Mason is a part-time jockey (this is a novel with Dick Francis's name on the jacket, after all), and when Mason dons his racing silks and travels to Sandown to follow his real passion -- riding a thoroughbred in a heated steeplechase -- he finds that he cannot leave the violence that is often the bread and butter of his profession behind him A fellow rider is savagely killed by a pitchfork driven through the chest, and there is a persuasive amount of evidence against champion jockey Steve Mitchell as the killer, but Mason becomes involved -- and finds all the various aspects of his life coalescing in a lethal fashion.

Dick Francis has 41 novels under his belt, and remains the consummate thriller practitioner. Felix, his son, had helped with the research on his father's novels over the last 40 years (notably Twice Shy, Shattered and Under Orders). Silks is their second full collaboration after Dead Heat, and should provides Francis aficionados with all the elements they've grown accustomed to. --Barry Forshaw


The master of suspense and intrigue (Country Life )

A triumphant return to Francis family form (The Daily Mail )

A tremendous read (Woman's Own )

Still the master (Racing Post )

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking and lacklustre 8 Dec 2008
I've been a Dick Francis fan for 25 years and have read and re-read everything he's written with glee and delight: even when the basic plots and what happened to the hero seem formulaic, the background research and the sparkling dialogue, and the quick way in which the author taught you about the new area of knowledge the book was dealing with always shone out against much less accomplished writers.

Sadly, the recent efforts lack that polish and clarity and Silks is even more longwinded than Dead Heat was. Perhaps some of the fault lies in the main character, a rather staid and straight-laced barrister who takes most of the book to be jolted out of his rather complacent life, but the dialogue seemed stilted, whole pages were devoted to complex backstory that previous books would have dashed off in a few succinct paragraphs, and overall I felt what was needed most was a good editor.

Once the story got going I did enjoy it, but getting to that point was a chore, no devouring page after page with gusto as in previous works.

Its great that Dick Francis is still writing, and I'm glad his son Felix is able to work with him but I suspect what we're really lacking here is the fine and sure touch of his wife Mary; it must be hard to change a writing team that had honed its skills to perfection. This is readable, and somewhat fun, but I hope the next book sees Dick and Felix getting into their stride.

Not one I'll be re-reading, sad to say and three stars mainly because even a poor Dick Francis is still a Dick Francis
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars His worst book 13 July 2009
By R. Webb
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'd had this book for a week before I had time to read it and was looking forward to it very much. I have all of his other books and have read them several times. It took a very long time for me to get into the book, Far to much legal waffle for me. The thing that upset me most was half way through a photo was found to be missing showing a dead girl with a foal. I recently read John Francome's Cover Up and I read on with dread that this book was going to follow the same story line, and it did. Surely someone involved with the production ot this book should have noticed the similarity, Cover Up was only published in 2005. I do hope He does better next time.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By D. Mace
Silks was one of those books I didn't want to put down! Dick Francis has the knack of describing the writer's feelings of fear and love together with excitement around the storyline. It was detailed regarding court procedures without being boring and taking one through a horse race as if on the back of the horse. His description of the injuries sustained in a fall, made one feel them personally! The life of a jockey is opened up for all to experience and literally feel!

The story kept me guessing about the outcome to the last page and cleverley involved a genuine fear for the main character's father.
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2.0 out of 5 stars As a fan I found this very disappointing 12 Feb 2014
perhaps had I not been such a huge Dick Francis fan this would have rated 3 stars instead of 2, or maybe I would have given it 1 star if the great Dick Francis name were not on it. I think disappointment made me give the lower rating. I have read every Dick Francis book and thoroughly enjoyed them all, (10lb penalty less than the others), and bought this with great expectations. they were not met. This is long winded, boring and difficult to get through. Although it says "Dick Francis with Felix Francis' I can't help feeling it is the other way round; Felix Francis with a bit of his father's help - and very little at that. I wonder if a famous author for a father isn't the only reason Felix got to publish this? The main character was not developed and became just an entity with little appeal. The story would not have been too bad had it been fuller and better researched, but the way it is I could wait to finish and throw the book away.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a devout Francis fan.I am also a great fan of "legal-judicial"plots.I also like good detective stories.
So why was I slightly dissapointed by a book that tries to combine all three ?
Two reasons.
First,the plot is lacking and the mixture is in imbalance.
Second,and more important,because there is very liitle about racing and the "hero"is not even involved in it.
Dick Frnacis' best books remain those where the hero is a jockey himself.Active or retired."Enquiry"and "Reflex" are perfect examples.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mainly concerning legal story 25 Dec 2013
By jazz
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Enjoyable book but less horse racing interest than the usual Dick Francis story.
Good holiday reading. Light but gripping book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Silks is another smooth read 17 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have always loved Dick Francis books and have read the majority of them, with the odd exception; this being one of them. He writes a good story, always with a racing connection, and whilst there is always a love interest, he doesn't spoil the book with torrid details. As he said, the Queen Mother read his books and he did not want to upset her! I would recommend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Had me on edge 13 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Always been a Dick Francis fan when young, recently started to read a lot more and went back to a novel I purchased years ago but never read. A fantastic who done it that keeps you on tenderhooks all the way through until the big whodunnit at the end
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars easy to listern to
made the time fly on a long journey and very easy listerning.
look forward to my next journey and my next CD's
Published 5 months ago by miss v holmes
4.0 out of 5 stars double trouble?
I have been an avid Dick Francis reader since the beginning - I enjoyed this but not quite as much as I expected! Is it a case of 1 author too many? Read more
Published 6 months ago by bunglebonce
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant author!
Love to read all Francis books, can't put them down once started, they're great, love the 'twist' to the story.
Published 7 months ago by Mrs. C. Hill
4.0 out of 5 stars The Bar hasn't been raised but a good thriller nevertheless
One of Mr Francis' efforts together with son Felix I believe. It's a bit formulaic but a cracking good read as ever with some procedural level stuff on Chambers & being a barrister... Read more
Published 8 months ago by DrEvil
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book
Brilliant book I am a great fan of Dick Francis, sorry there will be no more maybe his son will continue.
Published 8 months ago by Sydney
5.0 out of 5 stars Love
Loved it could not put it down xx xx xx xx xx xx xx xx xx xx xx xxx xx xx
Published 13 months ago by Mrs. Ha Warmerdam
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
A clever book with a twist at the end. I really enjoyed it and would recommend together with all of Dick Francis' books.
Published 14 months ago by Seb
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Silks
As always a a work of art that keeps you guessing until the end. Another masterpiece by the Mr Francis's. Inspired, well written and thoroughly enjoyable.
Published 14 months ago by Darkhorse
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