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The Fourth Horseman

Kate Thompson
Bodley Head
0370328906
Jun 2006
“Maybe it was churlish, but I said it anyway. ‘Well done. The scientific colossus, bestriding the world.’ It gives me the creeps now, thinking about that. I had no idea what I was saying.’”

Recently given the distinction of being the only writer to win the Bisto award four times, it’s high time that Kate Thompson’s superbly pithy novels received the recognition they deserve. The publication of “The New Policeman” in 2005 finally saw this happen.

Open the pages of Kate’s latest novel, “The Fourth Horseman” and readers will find themselves gripped and fully immersed in an intense thriller in which questions and intrigue abound. Opening dramatically as Laurie is arrested for setting fire to her father’s research lab, it fast becomes apparent that she is no pyromaniac, a question mark arises as to her motives…

Combining multiple narrative strands that interlink to provide an impressive outlook over genetic manipulation and gene warfare, terrorism and more genial cricket matches, “The Fourth Horseman” provides a sobering account of the ways trust and knowledge are able to be appropriated.

A pioneering scientist, Laurie’s father has been commissioned to genetically develop a virus that will wipe out grey squirrels allowing red squirrels greater opportunities to survive and thrive. Hardly a naturalist, Laurie’s father employs his daughter to look after and to tame the baby squirrels he uses as his test-pieces. Whilst engaged upon this new occupation, an apparition of a horseman appears. Forming an alliance with her brother Alex and his best-friend Javed, the three set about exploring the true nature of the horseman in so doing uncovering a sinister stratagem for the use of the learning Laurie’s father has completed.

At once a chilling glimpse at a possible cause of the apocalypse and a passionately urgent plea for reconciliation and peace rather than revenge. “The Fourth Horseman” shows awareness of the pivotal role young people play towards such aims and the key importance of ensuring they do not inherit past generation’s conflicts…



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