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Digital Released: November 2014
ISBN: 9781311469359
Kindle US, Kindle UK
Apple, Kobo, Nook

Print Release: 2015
ISBN: 9781910234167
Amazon US, Amazon UK

Author: E.H. Ward
Length: Novel
Genre: Thriller
Digital Price: $4.99
Print Price: $9.99

Amazon US - Amazon UK - Goodreads

When the Turkish Jockey Club President is killed in Istanbul and the first Lady Chairman of the British Horseracing Authority is murdered at Newmarket races, the two deaths appear random. But amateur jockey-turned-stud farm manager and bloodstock agent, Andrew Dixon, discovers the awful truth.

Andrew realises the relentless commercial pressure in modern racing and breeding is distorting the sport he loves into something more sinister, something his boss – an aristocrat who attended Eton and served in the SAS – is delighted to exploit.

With Europe still reeling from the financial crisis and the overproduction of racehorses, British racing’s coffers are all but empty. Harnessing the might of the Chinese Dragon is a sure bet for survival. But when billions are at stake, intimidation, blackmail, and murder are just means to an end.

Meanwhile, in Beijing, a quiet politician edges closer to China’s highest office.

On the eve of a major trade agreement between Britain and China, Andrew faces the terrible reality that ruthless forces, with high-level connections, have hidden agendas and shocking methods of persuasion to make the Chinese agree to a lucrative gambling deal.

As the stakes are raised, it becomes impossible to know who is manipulating whom.

His life on the line and his credibility in ruins, Andrew must team up with an old friend in the Met and defy the odds in a race against time to stop a brutal, public atrocity, which will send shockwaves far beyond horseracing – through Downing Street, Buckingham Palace, and around the world.

Istanbul. October 2009. 9pm

The restaurant bustled around him as Okan Yildiz forgot his troubles and smiled warmly at his daughter, who was cutting up kofte meatballs for her five-year-old son.

She glanced at him. Returned the grin. “That’s better, Father. I haven’t seen you look happy in months.”

Okan’s eyes flickered. “Jockey Club politics, my dear Sinem. It has got under my skin.”

“Then step down, Father. Please don’t get so stressed. It’s bad for your health. You should be enjoying life, family, and your horses.” Sinem put down her fork and gripped his meaty hand. “It’s what Mother would’ve wanted.”

With his other hand, Okan ruffled his grandson’s hair. Winked. Made the boy giggle.

“I know, my dear,” he said. “But I still have so much to do for racing in this country. If only they would let me.”

Sinem arched her brow. “Then just tell them what to do.”

Okan raised his palms. “Please. I am not a dictator, but I wish I could make people see the big picture. They only think about short-term gain.”

He sighed and pushed his plate of lamb away. Wiping his mouth and thin, greying moustache, he stared out the window at the Marmara Sea with the faint lights of Prince’s Island in the distance.

When he was elected President of the Turkish Jockey Club, he had vowed he would do better than his predecessor and invest wisely in the future of Turkish racing. But he knew, then and now, that the jealous in-fighting of the Club might undo him.

In the current dilemma, it was tempting to take the easy option, but he had never done that – even as a child in the harsh winters of Eastern Anatolia. No, he would have to do the right thing. By the Club and by Turkish owners and breeders.

A chiming in his pocket made him scowl. He pulled out the device and checked the name on the screen. Letting out a sharp breath, he silenced the call and tossed the device on the table. He stared at it. After a few minutes, he stood. His daughter looked surprised.

“I’m sorry, my dear, but I’ll have to cut our dinner short. I cannot eat until I settle the matter at hand.” He winked at his grandson again. “Grandpa has some work to do, my boy. We have to go.”

The boy nodded.

“But, Father!” Sinem protested.

He raised his palms again, a stern look bristling his moustache. “Finish your food, my dear. I’ll tell them to bring the car round.” He peeled several banknotes from the wad in his pocket, placed them on the table and made for the door, thanking the manager on his way. Outside, he gave the valet his ticket and paced beside the road, punching the numbers on his phone.

The Friday night traffic bustled by on the coast road. An endless river of cars: honking, screeching, roaring. Okan turned his back on them and put a hand over his free ear.

“It’s me,” he growled into the receiver. “I’m done thinking about it and there’s nothing you can do to change my mind… I’ll be telling the Board tomorrow… No, not a chance.”

He pocketed the device and lit a cigarette. Spinning on his heel, he saw his daughter coming out of the restaurant, hand-in-hand with her son. Okan’s face softened with pride, and he relaxed slightly. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a car approaching. He turned, expecting to see his own black Mercedes pulling up. Instead, the car mounted the footpath and slammed into him, tossing him over its roof like a rag-doll. He was dead before he hit the tarmac and two other helpless drivers rolled over him.

Sinem’s screams cut into the night air.

Inside the restaurant, heads turned. People rubbernecked.

The security camera outside the popular restaurant revealed the car to be a black Renault, reported stolen hours earlier. The police found its smouldering chassis in a Western suburb the following morning.

Two days later, the investigating officer told a distraught Sinem that it was becoming standard practice for joy-riders to destroy all DNA evidence in stolen vehicles. A simple hit-and-run accident by unknown perpetrators. Sinem refused to believe it.

The cop rolled his eyes at her hysterics. He told her there was no evidence to suggest a conspiracy and declared the case closed, sparing himself months of tedious interviews, investigations and paperwork.

Top Reviews
Intrigue, blackmail, deceit, and espionage abound a plenty in this thriller by E.H. Ward. There is always a black underbelly when gambling is involved and this time it is black as midnight. Three British men in high places try to take over the world of horseracing in mainland China through blackmail. Andrew discovers the plot and passes the intel on to Detective Sergeant Jessica Flint, who keeps telling him to get more proof. Both Andrew and Jess get the proof they need, but at what a price! This novel is exciting til the very last page is turned. ~ Belinda Wilson, Amazon

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Fast paced read
A good pacy read, once again the horse racing/breeding background is very realistically portrayed by the author who obviously knows his subject well. I think the authors style has moved on from his first novel A Sure Thing and I look forward to reading more of his books. A fast paced book that keeps you turning the pages to the end after a dramatic start. ~ SD Newmarket, Amazon

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Another great read by E.H. Ward.
The Mandarin stakes is fast paced and powerfully written. The plots are woven together seamlessly as you're taken on a journey from East to West. E.H. Ward is obviously traveled and extremely knowledgeable on the subject matter. Can't wait for his next book(s)!! ~ Reader, Amazon

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This story takes readers on a high energy, high stakes journey around the world. Ward's expert storytelling ability and author voice captivate from page one. His protagonist, Andrew Dixon, is well-developed and one we want to follow through the story as he weaves his way through political dealings, both on the track and off. This is a fast paced story, with readers quickly turning pages on the way to a satisfying finish line. Another blue ribbon winner for Mr Ward! ~ Heart of Fiction



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