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Novels



To the Hilt

"Some are born weird, some achieve it, others have weirdness thrust upon them."

Date of Publication: 1996 (HD)

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons (HD)

Foreign Titles: Verrechnet German

Setting: England: London, Reading, Lambourn; Scotland: Monadhliath Mtns. (between Loch Ness and Aviemore)

Synopsis:
Alexander Kinloch is a true eccentric. The twenty-nine-year-old son of the (dead) fourth son of an earl, he lives in a broken-down house on a weatherbeaten Scottish mountainside, far from the affairs of the world and the noble relations who think him weird. The isolated solitude of a painter is the life he's chosen, and he emerges from his remote and quietly profitable artistic life only every two weeks, to secure provisions and pick up his mail.

Then one day Alexander receives a postcard from his mother, summoning him to London to the bedside of his dying step-father. The news takes Alexander by surprise, but ensuing events unleash even greater shocks as threats and physical danger follow him to his very doorstep. The realization that his step-father is unintentionally about to take Alexander with him to his grave is the shock of reality that draws the solitary painter out of the untamed wilderness and into the fearful--and much more dangerous--company of polite society.

In To the Hilt, Dick Francis executes the portrait of a hero caught by surprise, an unassuming man thrust into territory where the landscape is painted with blood. And there Alexander faces a dilemma: Just how far should one go in the defense of honor--to the hilt?

Main Characters:
Alexander Robert Kinloch
Vivienne Westering, his mother
Ivan George Westering, Bart.
Robert Kinloch, Earl, 65 years old
Jed Parlane, Al's uncles' factor
Dr. Keith Robbiston
Wilfred, nurse
Patsy Benchmark, 34 years old daughter to Ivan
Oliver Grantchester, Ivan's lawyer
Tobias Tollright
Emily Jane Cox, Al's estranged wife
Mrs. Margaret Morden, insolvency practitioner
Desmond Finch
Surtees Benchmark
Chris Young
Dr. Zoe Lang, lecturer

Professions:
Alexander Kinloch is an artist.
Emily Jane Cox is a trainer.
Tobias Tollright is an auditor.


Comes after: Come to Grief / Comes before: 10 Lb. Penalty

Villain and Motives: Spoilers! Click here to reveal the villain!

Quotes:
I don't think my stepfather much minded dying. That he almost took me with him wasn't really his fault.

They were demons in a dream.

Solitary people are never alone.

" ... you can't keep mountain mist in a cage."

"You're so sharp you'll cut yourself."

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

1. What does Alexander think his attackers are at first?
hikers

2. For the requisite Francis-can torture scene, what is Alexander tortured with?
he gets roasted on a grill like St. Lawrence

To Get the Book:


Reviews:
'To The Hilt is one of the best, with a great depth of characterisation plus, as ever, non-stop action. Francis keeps us turning the pages because he knows how to make us root for the good guy - and we are waiting, desperately waiting, for justice to triumph at the finishing post.' Daily Express

'To The Hilt is excellent on the bitter rivalries within a family and, more remarkably, on the breathless exhilaration of creating a great painting.' Sunday Telegraph

'Dick Francis seems never to lose any of his capacity to thrill his readership. His mastery of pace, his command of narrative and his frightening control of complex plots make him a real power in the land.' Yorkshire Post

Related Links:
Putnam's To the Hilt
Highlander Web Magazine To the Hilt article
King Alfred the Great
My King has landed at Moidart


Other Covers:


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