- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Michael Joseph; 1st edition (4 Sept. 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0718154576
- ISBN-13: 978-0718154578
- Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.5 x 24.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 620,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Silks Hardcover – 4 Sep 2008
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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 )
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Top Customer Reviews
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
The story kept me guessing about the outcome to the last page and cleverley involved a genuine fear for the main character's father.
The familiar locales, racetracks, pubs, roundabouts, flowered countryside form a background for an informative under-story woven throughout this narrative: a history of the English system of courts & law. It is a satisfyingly palatable way to understand some of the differences between 'their ways' and ours in the USA. And how about staying the night in that fascinating Oxford hotel transformed from local prison? Reading contemporary mysteries, the reader is sometimes exposed to a sort of Wikipedia or 101 level course about industries, burial customs, you name it.
Should we care that racing is at a minimum in this second team effort? I prefer more racing thrills to getting pasted with the decidedly un-silky overdose of man's inhumanity. Geoffrey Mason is a barrister with dreams of rising to "Q.C." (or "silks"). He fulfills his boyhood dream of riding steeplechase, has amateur status and his own beautiful mount "Sandeman." It wasn't Mason's choice to be gathering evidence to prove the innocence of a fellow jockey accused of murder. But the barrister becomes the victim of frightful intimidation that follows him, and others, through the entire story. The book flap states that Mason "is left fighting a battle of right or wrong ... " Unfortunately "right" doesn't necessarily bring a satisfactory conclusion any more than war does.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As usual an excellent story but with the added extra of some detailed info on how the British Legal System works exciting and informative, keep them coming.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Super prompt delivery. Item exactly what I hoped for. Many Thanks.Published 10 months ago by Nicola Khan
Loved this book many years since I read Dick Francis but this books are still a great readPublished 11 months ago by Arlene