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Under Orders Hardcover – 26 Sep 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Publishing Group; First Printing edition (26 Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399154000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399154003
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.6 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,185,725 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.

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Review

'A book you won't want to put down until you reach the last
satisfying page.' -- The Press --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Dick Francis has written thirty-eight international bestsellers novels and is widely acclaimed as one of the world's finest thriller writers, having first been a champion National Hunt jockey. His awards include the Crime Writers Association's Gold Dagger for the best novel, and he has been given three Edgar Allen Poe awards for the best novel of the year. In 2000, he was awarded the CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Ben Ripley on 31 July 2006
Format: Hardcover
'Under Orders' is vintage Dick Francis. It is almost as though the last six years hadn't happened, but it reminded me how much I had missed him while he was away.

All the classic elements of a Dick Francis novel are there. The hero (in this case, the fourth outing for the jockey turned private investigator Sid Halley who has previously been seen in 'Odds Against', 'Whip Hand' and 'Come to Grief') with his humble yet wise nature and his knack for self-deprecating humour; the racetrack and the horses, without which it wouldn't truly feel right; the arrogant press; the beautiful girl... It all sounds rather cliched, yet the elements have succeeded for 39 previous novels with little variation and still remains a success.

As ever, Dick shows he has a superb ability to keep the action at a steady pace with our hero overcoming various hurdles and speeding up at breakneck speed to the finishing line. Never one to shy away from a showdown with the villain of the piece, Dick always manages to get the reader on the edge of their seat and the finale to 'Under Orders' is no exception.

Like all good crime novels and 'whodunits', 'Under Orders' has its fair share of suspects and various motives and sub plots. Within this story, we have internet gambling, race-fixing and family feuds. I was genuinely surprised by the final revelation.

For all those pessimistic nay-sayers who claimed his wife actually wrote all the books, here is the proof that Mr Francis is a talent to be reckoned with, unless the late Mrs Francis has been using a planchette.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 11 Nov. 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read everything Dick Francis ever wrote and I have to say this book was a disappointment. While there is nothing outstandingly bad about it and it is quite well written, compared with his previous books it is certainly lacking both in suspence and in interesting characters. That special atmosphere of the racing world that always captivated my imagination is gone and the information given about it seem forced.

Also, this book is the fourth which features ex-jockey Sid Halley, so an irritatingly large potrion of it was spent explaining his history and his relationship to the other characters, things that are already known to readers who have read the prequels. However, more annoying was the fact that it does not coply with the other books in many ways; e.g. Sid's ex-father-in-law has very different personality, his ex-wife is still inexplicably angry at him, although they made peace in the last book, and Rachel, a little girl dying of cancer whom Sid had come to love as a daughter, is not even mentioned. Lastly, the number of people who had died of or had cancer in this book defies all laws of probability!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Sr Harrup on 3 Mar. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The reviews of this book are mixed, and rightly so, I have put off reading this since I bought it when it first came out. Well, I'm reading it now and at the moment have reached page 120 with mixed feelings. I have read all his previous books and really enjoyed them, sometimes staying up into the small hours to finish a tale.

I have also enjoyed the previous 'Halley' stories. Now, this is the point of my review - I have only got one arm, I've been like that since birth, so I am not sensative about it. I have set of alarms going through security, had my food cut for me in restaurants etc, etc. In this novel, I finally tired of the continued references to the artificial limb and the problems arising from his disability. I thought it cheap page fillers.

With reference to the author, I believe he should have remained retired and left us with great memories of a great thriller writer, this is a book too far. He passed away recently and I was sad at his passing. I will remember him for pleasure he gave with his previous gripping, brilliant novels and try to forget this one.

RIP Dick Francis.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 23 Oct. 2006
Format: Hardcover
Former steeplechase jockey, now investigator, Sid Halley, has his one real and one artificial hand's full. While attending a steeplechase race, Lord Enstone asks that Sid investigate whether his horses' trainer is deliberately influencing how they run. The trainers' jockey, who had been trying to reach Sid, is found dead after having been shot three times. When, days later, the trainer is found dead, everyone is ready to write it off as suicide over guilt of being caught out--everyone bud Sid.

This is classic and masterful Dick Francis with his excellent opening hooks. Now, ten years after the previous Halley book, Francis has allowed his recurring characters to age and mature in a realistic way; Sid has a stable relationship, his ex-wife is less bitter and his former father-in-law is getting older. You are given enough of Sid's background to understand his vulnerabilities and what motivates him, and Francis has given him a girl friend of his equal. However, Francis doesn't assume you've read the previous books and so provides enough background so this book could be read as a standalone. The new characters are also fully developed.

I always learn things when I read Francis' books. In this case, about prosthetics, on-line gambling, British police procedure, DNA, and other things, but never in a preachy way or one that takes me out of the story.

Because Francis' plots are so interesting, one almost loses how well he creates sense of place and dialogue. At one point, when I feared he was falling into a clichéd style, he character stated he wasn't going to do the clichéd action. Even when he had a clue that, I thought, was fairly obvious, he added a nice twist to it that I hadn't expected.
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