Synopses & Reviews
As the shadows lengthen over the June grass, all England is heading for Epsom Down—high life and low life, society beauties and White chapel street girls, bookmakers and gypsies, hawkers and thieves. Hopes are high, nerves are taut, hats are tossed in the air—this is Derby Day.
For months people have been waiting and plotting for this day. Everyone’s eyes are on champion horse Tiberius, on whose performance half a dozen destinies depend. In this rich and exuberant novel, rife with the idioms of Victorian England, the mysteries pile high, propelling us toward the day of the great race, and we wait with bated breath as the story gallops to a finish that no one expects.
"An ardent passion for horse racing in Victorian society shines through in the intricate new novel by British novelist and award-winning Orwell biographer Taylor, where the ambitions of a motley bunch of stakeholders in the season's largest race collide at London's Epsom Downs. The foppish George Happerton, a 'sporting gentleman,' marries Rebecca Gresham, the spoiled daughter of a lawyer, and purchases proven champion Tiberius. Happerton then schemes with the grubby Captain Raff to use Tiberius to throw the race in their betting favor. They enlist the services of a master thief in the process, attracting the attention of the bloodhound policeman who is investigating a brazen jewelry store burglary. The surprisingly sordid plot builds to the climatic Derby Day's festivities and includes double-crosses, suicides, and infidelity. Taylor's rich atmospheric details of British society, confident narrative voice, and brisk pacing create an entertaining Dickensian novel. Agent: Melanie Jackson, the Melanie Jackson Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A "Best Book of the Year" for 2012 by Jonathan Yardley of The Washington Post"Derby Day is a triumphant success. In this unputdownable Victorian romp Taylor enjoyable proves himself to be one of the finest of our 21st-century novelists." Financial Times
"Taylor has written an exceptionally clever 19th-century novel with a richness of character that almost matches his models of Dickens and Thackeray." Sunday Times, London
"Derby Day will be hard to put down. As ever with Taylor, literary complexities lurk under the smooth surface of a stylish page-turner." Condé Nast Traveler
Nominated for the Man Booker Prize, an exquisite tale of romance and rivalry, gambling and greed, from one of England’s finest writers.
About the Author
D. J. Taylor is a novelist, critic ,and biographer whose Orwell won the Whitbread Prize for Biography. His most recent books are Kept; Bright Young People: The Rise and Fall of a Generation; Ask Alice; and Derby Day, which was nominated for the Booker Prize and was selected as a Washington Post Best Book of the Year.