The Sport of Kings

C. E. Morgan

Hellsmouth, a willful thoroughbred filly with the blood of Triple Crown winners flowing through her veins, has the legacy of the Forges riding on her. One of the oldest and proudest families in Kentucky, the Forge family is as mythic as the history of the South itself. Descended from one of the first settlers to brave the Gap, Henry Forge, through an act of naked ambition, is attempting to blaze a new path, breeding horses on the family’s crop farm. His daughter, Henrietta, becomes his partner in the endeavour, although she has desires of her own. Their conflict escalates when Allmon Shaughnessy, a black man fresh from prison, comes to work in the stables, and the ugliness of the farm’s past and the exigencies of appetite become evident. Together, the three stubbornly try to create a new future through sheer will – one that isn’t written in their very fabric – while they mold Hellsmouth into a champion.

The Sport of Kings has the grace of a parable and the force of an epic. A majestic story of speed and hunger, racism and justice, this novel is an astonishment from start to finish.

Reviews of The Sport of Kings

  • Praise for All the Living:

    ‘A distinctive and wonderful book, which lingers and deepens in your mind’ Hilary Mantel

    ‘Steeped in dust, sweat, tension and desire, All the Living feels like a classic – the finest first novel I’ve read in years’ Tash Aw

    ‘An elegant debut novel…reminiscent of Flannery O’Connor and Carson McCullers’ TLS

    ‘A lyrical tale of grief and gruelling love on a tobacco farm … Morgan’s pacing is shrewd. By the time the harvest is done, two lonely people are fused, if not consoled’ New Yorker