Rupert is consumed by one obsession: that Love Rat, his adored grey horse, be proclaimed champion stallion. He longs to trounce Roberto’s Revenge, the stallion owned by his detested rival Cosmo Rannaldini, which means abandoning his racing empire at Penscombe and his darling wife Taggie, and chasing winners in the richest races worldwide, from Dubai to Los Angeles to Melbourne.
Luckily, the fort at home is held by Rupert’s assistant Gav, a genius with horses, fancied by every stable lass, but damaged by alcoholism and a vile wife. When Gala, a grieving but ravishing Zimbabwean widow moves to Penscombe as carer for Rupert’s wayward father, it is not just Gav who is attracted to her: a returning Rupert finds himself dangerously tempted.
Gala adores horses, and when she switches to working in the yard, her carer’s job is taken by a devastatingly handsome South African man who claims to be gay but seems far keener on caring for the angelic Taggie. And as increasingly sinister acts of sabotage strike at Penscombe, the game of musical loose boxes gathers apace . . .
Mount! by Jilly Cooper was published by Bantam Press / Transworld in hardback on 8 September 2016.
Thirty years ago, readers were introduced to Rupert Campbell-Black in Riders, Jilly Cooper's first novel in the Rutshire Chronicles. Mount! is number ten in the series, and he's back!
Older, but still handsome and lusty, Rupert is consumed with the desire that his horse Love Rat will be the Leading Sire, or champion sire, that will mean that Rupert himself will be the champion trainer of the year. Rupert is determined, and it seems that nothing will stop him. He's desperate to ensure that his long-time rival Cosmo Rannaldini will not beat him. He will travel the world, he will get involved in dodgy dealings and sabotage, he'll do anything at all to make sure that he is the best.
Mount! opens with a prologue that dates back to the 18th Century and details the the history of the feud that has continued through the years. The modern-day story involves well-known and well-loved characters from the previous novels in the series and also introduces a host of new faces for the reader to love, and to hate.
What can I say? This is a romp, it's pure Jilly Cooper and it's highly entertaining. The author, her characters and her readers are older and this is reflected in some of the issue that are raised in the story. There are nursing-home scenes that made me gag (along with the characters, I expect), and I'm not sure that they were needed. But Jilly Cooper has never been afraid to shock, we shouldn't really be surprised.
As always, the horses are fully part of the cast of characters and have their own separate section in the (very long) list of characters at the front of the book. Sometimes I got a little muddled by them all, I have to admit.
Mount! is a fun fun read. It's full of bad men and lots of good sex. Glamour, wealth, underworld dealings, eccentrics and new blood. A treat for fans of Jilly Cooper.
My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy of Mount! for review.
Her novels have sold over 12 million copies, many of them reaching Number One in the bestseller lists.
She lives in Gloucestershire with her rescue greyhound Bluebell.
Appointed an OBE in 2004 for Services to Literature, in 2009 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Gloucestershire for her contribution to literature and service to the County.
For more information about Jilly Cooper and her books visit www.jillycooper.co.uk
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