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Novels


Bonecrack

"Any appearance he might have given of being even slightly tamed was suddenly as reliable as sunlight on quicksand."

Date of Publication: 1971

Publisher: Harper and Row

Foreign Titles: Knochenbruch (or Tod am Turf) German

Setting: A racing stable in Newmarket

Synopsis:
Neil Griffon returns to his father's home after his father suffers an accident. He plans to turn the responsibilities of running the successful stables to a temporary trainer until he is kidnapped by Enso Rivera's thugs. It turns out Rivera's son has decided he wants to be a jockey and ride the favorite horse, Archangel, in the upcoming Derby. Neil is to take on Alessandro, who has no experience, and then let him ride Archangel in the Derby. If Neil refuses, Rivera will destroy Neil's father's business.Neil agrees, as a means of buying time. In the weeks in which Neil struggles to run his father's stables, he plays a strange game in which Alessandro becomes the pawn. Alessandro shows talent and determination, but having only seen his father's ruthless methods of business does not have much of a conscience. However, working with Neil opens his eyes somewhat and he feels pulled apart by his father who keeps insisting Alessandro will ride in the Derby and Neil who puts up roadblocks. Neil's ultimate goal is to pursuade Alessandro to drop his insistance on riding Archangel. Alessandro does drop his request, but his father is obsessed, and attempts to kill the stable's number one jockey to secure Alessandro's chance.

Main Characters:
Neil Griffon, temporarily managing his father's successful stables
Enso Rivera, mobster
Alessandro Rivera, his 18 year old son
Gillie, Neil's gal

Professions:
Neil Griffon is a business consultant and currently trainer.
Alessandro Rivera is a jockey.

Comes after: Rat Race

Villain and Motives:
The villain, Enso Rivera is revealed in the first pages. He is completely obsessed with his son Alessandro. It is a point of pride that he will go to any unscrupulous or unethical length to give his son what he wants. His plan backfires,however. As he spends time with Neil Griffon, Alessandro starts to see that his life is not normal, that being given everything is not fulfilling and that Neil Griffon is a strong man, but a good man. As Enso Rivera see this change in his son, he becomes maddened and further obsesses in regaining control of his son's life.

Quotes:
It's usually quite easy to see what's wrong. But there's often a stone-wall resistance on both sides to putting it right. Always dozens of reasons why change is impossible.

"He gave me everything," Alessandro had said of his father. I would have said of mine that he gave me not very much. And I felt for him something Alessandro had never through love or hate felt for his. I felt... apathy.

Quiz:
highlight the area beneath the question to discover the answer

1. What disease does Neil speculate Enso has?
syphilis

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