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A discarded painting in a roadside clean-up, forgotten bones in a research archive, and Lexington, the greatest racehorse in US history. From these strands of fact, Geraldine Brooks weaves a sweeping story of spirit, obsession and injustice across American history.
Kentucky, 1850. An enslaved groom named Jarret and a bay foal forge a bond of understanding that will carry the horse to record-setting victories across the South, even as the nation reels towards war. An itinerant young artist who makes his name from paintings of the horse takes up arms for the Union and reconnects with the stallion and his groom on a perilous night far from the glamour of any racetrack.
New York City, 1954. Martha Jackson, a gallery owner celebrated for taking risks on edgy contemporary painters, becomes obsessed with a nineteenth-century equestrian oil painting of mysterious provenance.
Washington, DC, 2019. Jess, a Smithsonian scientist from Australia, and Theo, a Nigerian-American art historian, find themselves unexpectedly connected through their shared interest in the horse – one studying the stallion’s bones for clues to his power and endurance, the other uncovering the lost history of the unsung Black horsemen who were critical to his racing success.
With the moral complexity of March and a multi-stranded narrative reminiscent of People of the Book, this enthralling novel is a gripping reckoning with the legacy of enslavement and racism in America. Horse is the latest masterpiece from a writer with a prodigious talent for bringing the past to life.
Three Sheets to the Wind
When Campbell and Clark, Scottish merchants based in India, dispatched an Indian ship hurriedly renamed the <i>Sydney Cove</i> to the colony of NSW in 1797, they were hoping to make their fortune.
The ship’s “speculative” cargo included all kinds of products to entice the new colony’s inhabitants, including 7,000 gallons of rum intended to be sold to the Rum Corp, which ruled the fledgling colony with an iron grip, despite the arrival of Governor John Hunter.
But when the ship went down north of Van Diemen’s Land, cargo master William Campbell and 16 other crew members decided to walk the 600 miles to Sydney Town to get help and rescue crew and cargo.
Clark and just two others made it, having been assisted by at least six Aboriginal Nations and seeing far more of the country than Joseph Banks ever did.
Clark’s reports to Hunter led to Bass and Flinders’ “discovery” of Bass Strait and the beginnings of a sealing industry.
And the rum? Some of it was saved, and returned to Sydney and into the hands of the Rum Corp.
By the bestselling author of The Ship That Never Was and The Ghost and the Bounty Hunter, Three Sheets to the Wind is a rollicking account of a little-known event that changed the course of Australian history.