The Dark Horse of this novel is an English-bred racehorse, sold cheaply after a disappointing first season, to race in Calcutta in the early thirties. Almost all his connections; his new millionaire owner; his trainer, an ex-cavalry officer with a beautiful but socially inacceptable Euarasian wife; their children known as the Bandar Log after Kipling's monkey tribe, are, like himself, 'outsiders' in one way or another - above all his dotting middle-aged stable lad who brings him out from England. They also range from a charming young playboy Maharajah to, suprisingly, the Sisters of Poverty whose Convent overlooks the racecourse and who work night and day to give help and food to the city's poorest of poor. The rich glamour of the Indian racing world is unforgettably contrasted with this every day misery of Calcutta's teeming slums. Tension mounts as the dark horse becomes favourite for India's most famous race, the Viceroy's Cup, but three days before the race a puzzling and perhaps providential accident occurs which leads to a mystery that only someone with an eye for a horse - and for a miracle - could possibly solve. With its remarkable cast of characters, its vivid evocation of India and its simple but powerful story, The Dark Horse must rank as a great short novel - and not just a novel because the story is true; it happened in Calcutta some fifty years ago.
Original title: The Dark Horse
Genre: Fiction→ General Fiction