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Border Crossing

The first international motor rally from Peking to Paris took place in the summer of 1907. Only five cars were involved, and the crews wrote their agreed code of conduct on the back of a menu the night before the start. Their only navigational aids were the sun and telegraph poles. Ninety years later the race was re-enacted when 110 vintage cars gathered in Peking. Their goal was the finishing line in Paris, 45 days and 16,000 kilometres away. In this book one of the competitors, the novelist Rosie Thomas, describes the excitement of the daily time challenge, the strange camaraderie, the test of sleeping outdoors or in flea-pit hotels in foreign lands - and her own internal journey, including a near-death experience high in the Himalayas.
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Promotional Information

* Feature on the Virago website

About the Author

Rosie Thomas was born and grew up in North Wales. She read English at Oxford and worked in publishing. Since the birth of her first child she has written ten novels. She lives in north London.


'A compelling narrative ... It is a measure of the success of this book that the reader is very nearly as reluctant to turn the last page' INDEPENDENT 'Impressive and pacy' MAIL ON SUNDAY 'A thrilling story' SCOTSMAN 'Inspirational and exciting ... brilliantly told' MARIE CLARE 'In December 1996 Rosie Thomas received a cryptic message. You know you want to do it. Just say yes. P. The note was from Phil Bowen, a mountaineer and photographer Thomas had met on a trek to the Everest base camp several months before. Bowen wanted her to drive half way round the world with him in an antique Volvo Amazon, in a recreation of the first ever international motor rally, the 1907 Peking to Paris Motor Challenge. Thomas, mother of two and best selling novelist pushing fifty, didn't exactly fit the young, male rally driver stereotype but decided to do it anyway. As a young woman she hadn't travelled: "Travel was dangerous, and demanded a sense of inner strength and adjustment that I didn't possess." Now she felt more confident. "I held all the threads of my life in my own hands now, and if I wasn't going to travel while I was at the peak of my abilities and still had some physical capacity left, then I probably never would." Border Crossing is packed with antique cars, millionaire drivers, and, of course, breakdowns--but at its core this is less a book about rallying than about personal challenges. When Thomas's health breaks down she gets little support from the mostly male crew and doctors. She craves emotional support that Phil can't always give. This travelogue takes a refreshingly frank look at the relations between women, men and cars.' - Kathleen Keefe, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW

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