Book Review: "The Tour" A Tour de France Novel
The Tour cycling novel. A Review of Dave Shields
Sequel to best selling novel The Race.
Publisher: Three Story Press
I met Dave Shields at Interbike in 2003, when he was
seeking a publisher for his first novel with a cycling theme, using le Tour de
France as the setting. Dave sent me a copy of the book to read pre-publication,
after reading the novel I sent Dave an e-mail and later quoted it in the book
"As usual after a great book, finishing it is like saying good bye to a good
friend, all the while wishing you could stay a little longer; and already
looking forward to your next visit.
As a writer the story was very "real" - I mean this as the highest
compliment. From the story line to the buildup of the characters, the scenery
and locations, it put me there. I think this is the greatest coup for a writer
to build a reality for the reader to carry the writer’s vision to the heart of
The novel is like cycling, a metaphor for life; the story is not just about
the race, it is about life and finding the key to overcome self doubt and
uncertainty. At every turn it entertained, enlightened and inspired."
The Race was a resounding success as a best seller, it quickly became
an Amazon.com featured book, and went on to win Shields the prestigious Ben
Franklin award for "Best New Voice in Fiction." More than that it won over new
fans to cycling becoming a cross over hit with a non cycling audience that gave
them an insight into the world of Pro cycling by an avid fan and cyclist.
The hardest task for Hollywood or a writer is to follow up
a successful movie or book with one as good or better. Shield's doesn't falter
at the task, The Tour picks up where the last novel left off, continuing
the story of young Ben Barnes. The new novel is as fast paced as his first; it
had me reading the book long into the night. I could only describe it as a "page
burner" to a fellow cyclist.
So once again I have to caution the reader, clear your calendar when you
start to read this book, because you won't want to put it down until you finish
The Tour reads like David's first cycling novel, it
is a well written commentary much like a real race, with real competitors,
with vivid descriptions of the characters, action and scenery of France; you are
transported by the words to a world that you can almost smell, taste and feel
If that were all it did, Shields would have hit his mark to
write as gripping and exciting a sequel as the original.
It isn't, Shields takes it a step beyond his first cycling novel confronting the
current curse of professional sports, performance enhancing drugs. His character, young Ben Barnes
introduced in the first novel, now at
his most vulnerable moment as a pro rider, in the midst of achieving his breakout
performance now faces the temptation to use drugs in his effort to attain his life long
goal of winning le Tour.
The novel explores this dark side of professional sports at
a dynamic level from a multitude of views, steeped in the reality of what
decisions and pressures a pro rider faces. It shows the depth of research
that was done in writing the tale, with off the record interviews of pro riders.
It is a look, albeit a fictional look based on fact, into the grim reality
riders face to produce results to continue their careers, and the choices and
pressures they face.
Here it again hits the mark, as the plot takes twists and
turns in a taut tale that reads like a thriller; our hero Ben Barnes, must face
numerous tests of his integrity as he struggles to toward his goal of winning
the tour. Will he abandon his moral underpinnings and sacrifice his integrity to
win? In this sense the book rises to the universal question each of us face in
our own lives; the message and story are timeless.
The novel will make you think, and draw you into the debate about
what must be done to clean up all sports from the influence of doping and
Like an excellent meal The Tour left me satisfied. Then much
like after a good meal, one desires a desert; shortly, I began to wonder if
Ben Barnes would be back to race the Giro d' Italia next year. I hope so, because I
can’t wait to read more of his adventures. I highly recommend getting your hands
on a copy. Just make sure to clear your calendar before it arrives.
The Book scores on my own scale as a "Must Read" if you love cycling and
enjoy a fast paced novel, you won't be disappointed.
importantly, the book is written in a style that will engage the interest and
acquaint a non-cycling fan introducing him and helping him understand bike
racing. It may be the inspiration for another young man or woman, like Ben
Barnes who will dream the dream many of us have had, to ride and race at the
highest levels. The Book is complete with accurate stage profiles of the
Through special arrangements with
the Publisher "The Tour" is available for delivery before its store release to
the readers of the Daily Peloton. Included is a special offer if you purchase
any three of Dave's novels you get a fourth book for free.
To purchase follow the link on the graphic below.
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