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If ever a horse seemed fated to die young, it was Neville Bardos. Unwanted as a racehorse, he appeared a likely candidate for the glue factory. Through luck and hard work, he dodged that bad ending to become a surprise contender for the 2012 U.S. Olympic team in equestrian eventing. Then, on May 30, 2011, the barn he shared with ten other horses began to burn. Neville’s lungs were scorched black, and he faced the fight of his life just to survive. Future glory was surely nothing but an empty dream. Or was it?

"The Fire Horse" is the true story of a friendship between horse and rider so strong that it has carried them through their respective hard times to the brink of legend. Australian Boyd Martin saw a streak of potential no one else had seen in the stubborn and unpredictable horse. He bought him for $850 and named him, fittingly, after a notorious local gangster. And so began a relationship that had its share of ups and downs. Martin was something of a long shot himself, having once pretended to be an expert on breaking horses on the basis of a single book he read on the way to taking a job as a trainer. Over the years, he and Neville developed a hard-won appreciation for each other and appeared to be on the verge of success on the competitive equestrian circuit when the unthinkable happened. Now they’re in London as members of the U.S. Olympic team.

"The Fire Horse," by bestselling author Elizabeth Mitchell, is the deeply moving chronicle of a horse and his rider and their determined rise from the ashes.


Elizabeth Mitchell is the author of the nonfiction books "Three Strides Before the Wire: The Dark and Beautiful World of Horse Racing" and "W.: Revenge of the Bush Dynasty" (both from Hyperion). Her bestselling Byliner Original e-single "The Fearless Mrs. Goodwin" is a reported historical narrative. Mitchell was executive editor of "George" magazine and features editor at "Spin" magazine. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Elizabeth Mitchell has crafted far more than a tale about a gifted horse and rider in the world of eventing. This is the heartwarming story about an imperishable bond between a man and his horse—one that began when Boyd Martin acquired a failed racehorse off the track, turned him into an eventing star, and then saved the life of this game and gutsy charge when he was trapped in his burning stall during a terrible stable fire. Neville Bardos’s remarkable comeback under the devoted Martin, as a U.S. Olympic hopeful in the 2012 eventing competition, gives the tale an ending as warm and unlikely as any in equine literature." —William Nack, author of "Secretariat: The Making of a Champion"

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