It came suddenly. An inhuman wail born from such loud and ferocious panic that it rattled the ice in Lucas’ glass...
Dan greeted her with a gentle nicker and a soft nuzzle.
Anna stroked his chest and whispered in his ear, "I love you, Dan."
The room, the cabin, the ground it sat upon and Mrs. Thomas
was typical of the hardscrabble life of Eastern Kentucky.
Kirkus Review of The Mythical
In this novel, a country sheriff, his eclectic family, and a boisterous deputy find themselves cast as the protectors of a centaur who appears in Kentucky’s horse country.
The wail of a dying panther in the woods behind their property is a dark portent for the Tolls. Sheriff Marshall Toll; his photographer son, Lucas; and their dopey but lovable 94-pound dog, Wayne Newton, investigate, but find only questions about whether it was a human or beast who managed to fell the vicious creature.
In a stall among their horses, an unexpected answer surfaces in the form of an injured centaur, her equine features joined with a haunting human beauty that reminds Marshall of his dead wife. To further complicate matters, the centaur is pregnant and being pursued by a perverse and murderous member of her own kind.
Nicknamed “Sugar” by the family’s Southern matriarch, Grandma Eve, the centaur pulls her new caregivers close around her, aided by Lucas’ childhood friend, the beautiful yet rowdy Claire Lewis, a sheriff’s deputy. But Claire’s help brings complications: her washout ex-fiance, Lyle Gorris, who wants to expose Sugar to the world at the Kentucky Derby for fame and riches.
Oravec’s entry into the low fantasy genre uses the timeless, distinctive atmosphere of the rural South and Kentucky horse country—a world of TV reruns, aging farms, and Derby culture—to seamlessly integrate a Greek myth in a way that feels wondrous but not anachronistic.
The centaur’s caretakers are the best kind of heroes—oddballs—Marshall’s country manliness a stark contrast to his son’s artistic sensitivity, with the men at the whim of the somehow both lively and lethargic Grandma Eve, who at one point bakes the centaur a pie. The attraction between Lucas and Claire adds humor and romance, their teasing laced with numerous pop culture references. The novel occasionally leans a little too hard on stereotypes, such as uninteresting characterizations of foreigners or Claire’s self-doubts tied to her failure to have children. That said, the book is superb at ramping up the suspense, and consistent in its insightful central theme, expressed early on by Claire, that those “who don’t belong generally don’t stray too far.”
An ardently Southern fantasy thriller, perfect for those looking for different kinds of heroes.
The 100th Time Around
Limited Edition Print — This powerful artwork, created in 1974 for the 100th Kentucky Derby, is a tribute to the black jockeys who were the original riders of the Derby. Available for the first time, the original ink drawing (22" x 28") depicts four of the major black jockeys of horse racing: Oliver Lewis, Isaac Murphy, Jimmy Winkfield and James “Soup” Perkins. Available in two sizes: 22" x 28" / 32" x 41"Purchase
Stephen Hall, author of The Horse Whisperer, is also the creator of our limited edition print, “The 100th Time Around.” This powerful artwork, created in 1974 for the 100th Kentucky Derby, is a tribute to the black jockeys who were the original riders of the Derby. Available for the first time, the original ink drawing (22" x 28") depicts four of the major black jockeys of horse racing: Oliver Lewis, Isaac Murphy, Jimmy Winkfield and James “Soup” Perkins. Click "View Art" or scroll down to see print.
The Florentine Year