Cover image for Derby Day
Derby Day
Taylor, D. J. (David John), 1960-
First Pegasus Books cloth edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Pegasus Books, 2012.

Physical Description:
405 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


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FICTION Adult Fiction Central Library
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf

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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.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Lovers of high Victorian fiction will feel right at home in the pages of this Man Booker nominee, set in the mid-nineteenth century. Mr. Happerton, a sporting gentleman of dubious pedigree, acquires a wife, Rebecca, the ambitious daughter of a wealthy lawyer. He also acquires a horse, Tiberius, from a country squire who has fallen on hard times. Tiberius is the favorite in the upcoming Derby at Epsom Downs, but Happerton's scheme for getting rich involves much more than owning a winning horse. Also peopling the pages are Happerton's partner in crime, the raffish Captain Raff; an elusive safecracker; a detective; a governess; a pair of bookmakers; an aging jockey; and an assortment of others, high and low. Taylor channels Dickens, Thackeray, and Trollope in narrative technique, social sweep, and tone, even borrowing from them for some of his characters' names. Frustratingly, the novel has no center; in filling it with colorful ancillary characters, Taylor seems to have forgotten to add the main protagonists. Still, it's a convincing simulacrum of the masters' works, and great fun.--Quinn, Mary Ellen Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.