Politicians, thugs, and the gentry tangle in the beautiful horse-country of the Old Dominion. Good bloodlines prove their worth in a civilized and literate thriller by the author of Looker, Blood of the Czars, and Dance on a Sinking Ship. Captain David Showers USAR, is perhaps the best amateur steeplechase rider in the Virginia hunt country. He is, in addition, the near-penniless owner of a horseless family farm; a self-effacing State Department functionary; and, to the exasperation of his lavishly loose ex-wife and his many horse- loving friends, unshakably honorable. Captain Showers's honor is put to the test when he is given a horse by an exceptionally pretty actress as a reward for conspicuous gallantry on the racecourse. The horse is one David wants very much, a descendant of his family's own line of champions. Or is it? The beast is strangely short in the tooth for its age, and it's wearing one stocking too many. When he digs into the matter, David learns that he has a rival for the horse's affections. There is a Baltimore billionaire who would pay anything to get his hands on it. The billionaire is the backer and best friend of the actress's estranged father, an up-the-hard-way politician who is now the President's chief of staff. When David won't sell, the billionaire starts to call in his political chits, and bullets start flying around the serene countryside. It's not enough that David is proving difficult about the mysterious animal, he's also become awkwardly involved with the highest levels of diplomacy. Smooth, intelligent, and genteelly exciting. Upstairs, Downstairs in the saddle.