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The extraordinary story of Lara Prior-Palmer’s unlikely victory in the world’s toughest horse race, the Mongol Derby, retracing the footsteps of Genghis Khan’s route across Mongolia as she undertakes a remarkable journey of self-discovery.

'[Prior-Palmer's] gorgeous, sensual depiction of this race is a literary marvel; it feels like you are riding alongside her across the desolate steppes; her verbal acuity makes vivid the most elusive of landscapes; her triumph becomes ours' NYLON

The Mongol Derby is the world’s toughest horse race. A feat of endurance across the vast Mongolian plains once traversed by the people of Genghis Khan, competitors ride 25 horses across a distance of 1000km. Many riders don’t make it to the finish line.

In 2013 Lara Prior-Palmer – nineteen, underprepared but seeking the great unknown – decided to enter the race. Driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness, and a lifelong love of horses, she raced for seven days through extreme heat and terrifying storms, catching a few hours of sleep where she could at the homes of nomadic families. Battling bouts of illness and dehydration, exhaustion and bruising falls, she found she had nothing to lose, and tore through the field with her motley crew of horses. In one of the Derby’s most unexpected results, she became the youngest-ever champion and the first woman to win the race.

A tale of adventure, fortitude and poetry, Rough Magic is the extraordinary story of one young woman’s encounter with oblivion, and herself.

Reviews

Think the next Educated or Wild. Palmer’s memoir of beating the odds to become a horse champion is an inspiring saga of perseverance — and a classic underdog tale.

Entertainment Weekly

Prior-Palmer's style is a fascinating mix of pep and poignancy. A really terrific story by a spirited new voice.

Sara Baume

[Prior-Palmer's] gorgeous, sensual depiction of this race is a literary marvel; it feels like you are riding alongside her across the desolate steppes; her verbal acuity makes vivid the most elusive of landscapes; her triumph becomes ours.

NYLON

Absolutely riveting.

Buzzfeed

Filled with soulful self-reflection and race detail, this fast-paced page-turner is a thrill ride from start to finish.

Publishers Weekly

Feisty and exhilarating . . . Horse lovers will adore this inspiring and spirited memoir.

Kirkus Reviews

In this sensual, spiritual memoir, Prior-Palmer recounts her grueling journey through immense physical hardship, and her surprising transformation from underdog to champion

Esquire

Prior-Palmer may be a gifted equestrian, but also she’s a born writer. . . . The journey, told through Prior Palmer’s voice, would’ve been interesting even without the satisfaction of victory

Refinery 29

Prior-Palmer writes with a dash and boldness few writers possess. . . Her narrative alchemy is remarkable

NPR

An astonishing and hair-raising memoir that you, too, will race to finish.

Newsweek

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Formats & editions

  • Hardback

    9781785038853

    May 16, 2019

    Ebury Press

    320 pages

    RRP $39.99

    Online retailers

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    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781473558380

    June 6, 2019

    Ebury Digital

    320 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
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    • eBooks