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Rough Magic

Riding the World's Loneliest Horse Race
Narrated by: Henrietta Meire
Length: 7 hrs and 37 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (60 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

At the age of 19, Lara Prior-Palmer discovered a website devoted to "the world's longest, toughest horse race" - an annual competition of endurance and skill that involves dozens of riders racing a series of 25 wild ponies across 1,000 kilometers of Mongolian grassland. On a whim, she decided to enter the race. As she boarded a plane to East Asia, she was utterly unprepared for what awaited her.

Riders often spend years preparing to compete in the Mongol Derby, a course that recreates the horse messenger system developed by Genghis Khan, and many fail to finish. Prior-Palmer had no formal training. She was driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness, and a lifelong love of horses. She raced for 10 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 decided she had nothing to lose. Each dawn she rode out again on a fresh horse, scrambling up mountains, swimming through rivers, crossing woodlands and wetlands, arid dunes and open steppe.

Told with terrific suspense and style, Rough Magic captures the extraordinary story of one young woman who forged ahead, against all odds, to become the first female winner of this breathtaking race.

©2019 Lara Prior-Palmer (P)2019 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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  • RJ
  • GIG HARBOR, WA, United States
  • 05-27-19

Beautiful, Funny & Ever So Entertaining

I've heard lots of interviews of participants in the Mongol Derby, watched a documentary, and read other accounts of this grueling race. Generally, the theme of everything I've heard/read before focused on the difficulty and misery of this extreme adventure. Lara Prior-Palmer, who, at 19, entered the race on a whim, has a very different description of her experience. She seems an incredibly happy soul, delighted to be 'in the situation' enjoying the challenge of the Mongolian ponies, the food, finding her way and the steppes. She is not put off when others remark on her lack of preparedness, she just enjoys the ponies, who are a challenge for the best of riders, and the scenery. Her dry sense of humor and anthropomorphizing of various inanimate objects (a GPS that shows a rare bit of enthusiasm when she is lost; a bungy cord who finally attains the fame she's been longing for when she uses it to tie herself to her pony one night) had me laughing out loud. She's a wonderful writer! I recommend this book, even if you aren't a horse person, or into extreme adventures. To really get the most of her accomplishment and her description of the race, watch All The Wild Horses before you read the book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Cure for insomnia. Don't waste your time.

Took what should have been a compelling tale of an exotic horse race and made it read like a tax return. The narrator matched the author's voice but not in a positive way.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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great book!

loved it! great story with exciting turns! I would recommend to horse lovers & non horse lovers alike!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Interesting Story - Self Absorbed Author

This horse race across Mongolia sounds like a fascinating subject. I wish we could could have heard more about the details of the race, and less about the author's teenage angst. Things may have been made a bit worse by a slightly melodramatic reading.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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So easy to not listen to

A race across Mongolia! Horses! Steppes! Local people, local color, intercultural confusions and meetings! Two hours into this 7 hour book and I haven't found any humor, beauty, or excitement. I have gotten a lot of other thinking done while the narrator drones on. What should have been vivid and fascinating just isn't there. Maybe it comes later, but why would I keep going?

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  • Phyllis
  • Naples, FL, United States
  • 06-03-19

Quite the captivating tale

Henritta Meire’s narrative voice perfectly matches the author’s attitude start to finish. Lara’s story describes each day’s events, her thoughts, her personal interactions with the Mongolian people, race participants, staff and organizers, her openness and acceptance of foibles and rhythms as they occur throughout. Captivating