The King's Jockey

The King's Jockey

3.75 (4 ratings by Goodreads)
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The Derby, June 1913. A suffragette dies for her cause; but what of the man who feels responsible for killing her? "The King's Jockey" was inspired by the life of royal jockey Herbert 'Bertie' Jones, his tragic collision with Emily Wilding Davison 100 years ago, and the dramatic events that followed. Until now Bertie Jones has been just a footnote in a history book, but his story is uplifting and life affirming despite the terrible outcome of the 'Suffragette Derby'. Author Lesley Gray, like many people, had heard of the sacrifice made by the suffragette who ran out in front of the King's horse, but knew next to nothing about the jockey. Who was he and how did this terrible event affect him? "There was little written about Bertie Jones, so I had to research most of my material. The more I found out, the more it made me wonder about where he had come from, how he had achieved his fame and how he coped after the suffragette incident. My story is fictional, but I have tried to create what might have been a similar world. I wanted to examine what may have driven Emily Wilding Davison to her dreadful fate and to lift Bertie up from a mere footnote in history."
The central character in "The King's Jockey" is Bertie himself. While the narrative is mainly from his point of view, the novel draws on a series of vividly drawn and compelling characters to create Bertie's world, a world of strong traditional values that will be forced to change through the wider and sometimes darker external forces at work. "The King's Jockey" explores the evolving roles of the individual, the family and society, considering the issues of responsibility, loyalty, sacrifice and belief. Timed for the 100th anniversary of the 'Suffragette Derby' on Sunday 1 June 2013. Press and public interest in the 100th anniversary of Emily Wilding Davison's death on 8 June 2013. Widespread public and media interest in the 'Golden Age', the year preceding the 100th anniversary of the First World War.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 254 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 14mm | 378g
  • Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1907947612
  • 9781907947612
  • 1,391,541

Table of contents

Prelude: The Derby Stakes, Epsom, June 1913 | PART I THE EARLY YEARS | 1 Epsom, June 1891 | 2 A new home, June 1892 | 3 Back to Epsom, October 1892 | 4 Flora, November 1893 | PART II THE YEAR OF THE DIAMOND | 5 Egerton, April 1900 | 6 2000 Guineas, Newmarket, 1900 | 7 Derby Day, Epsom, 1900 | 8 Newmarket, July 1900 | 9 St Leger, Doncaster, September 1900 | 10 Egerton, September 1900 | 11 Jockey Club Stakes, Newmarket, September 1900 | 12 End of the season, November 1900 | PART III CELEBRITY | 13 Paradise in the Strand, London, May 1902 | 14 Reg: Newmarket, 1906 | 15 Derby Stakes, Epsom, June 1909 | 16 A day out in London, November 1909 | 17 The end of an era, May 1910 | 18 Lily in Cambridge, November 1912 | 19 Morning of Derby Day, Epsom, 1913 | PART IV AFTER THE FALL | 20 Going home, June 1913 | 21 Royal Ascot, July 1913 | 22 Loss, July 1913 | 23 A dry spell, September 1913 | 24 Snowy's wedding, Newmarket, November 1913 | 25 Northumberland, November 1913 | 26 Christmas, December 1913 | 27 London, February 1914 | PART V RESURRECTION | 28 Report of a death, February 1914 | 29 The Derby, Epsom, June 1914 | Postscript | Author's note
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Review quote

The Sun (15 March 2013): "This wonderful tale is a fab read." **** | "[The King's Jockey is] a book which can be read on two levels. Firstly, it's a wonderful story. Lesley Gray has lightly fictionalised the life of Bertie Jones, remaining broadly true to the facts but occasionally adjusting events and timings to suit her story and conflating or inventing characters. At the heart of the story is fact. Jones comes brilliantly to life, as does the time - the years between the turn of the century and the start of the First World War when so much was changing." ****
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About Lesley Gray

"The King's Jockey" is Lesley Gray's first novel. Brought up in rural Oxfordshire, Lesley has worked in science publishing, IT and management consultancy. Lesley now lives in Kent with her husband. Here she combines her job in academic and educational publishing with writing and studying Comparative Literature at the University of Kent.
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Rating details

4 ratings
3.75 out of 5 stars
5 25% (1)
4 50% (2)
3 0% (0)
2 25% (1)
1 0% (0)
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