Gold

The hype is already building. In a matter of days, the entire world’s attention will be on one, highly anticipated event, the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Only half of the appeal of the Olympic experience is the games themselves: the sportsmanship of the elite athletes, the years of training, dedication to their sport, the endurance, strength and determination and ultimately the competitions and rooting for your home country.

 
The other half of the experience of watching the all-consuming Olympic coverage is the back-stories, the two-to-three minute packages produced to punctuate interviews with the athletes before their races or heats. This is where the human condition enters the game, and like an athlete with a competitive edge, steals the show. We learn of the trials and tribulations, the personal sacrifice and triumph these elite athletes, and their families, have endured to get to the big dance. 
 
These two distinct points of view converge in Gold, Chris Cleave’s well-timed and latest fictional masterpiece (Simon & Schuster, July 2012) as we follow Zoe, Jack and Kate, each world-class cyclists, as they train for their last chance at an Olympic medal; all while Jack and Kate’s eight-year-old daughter, Sophie battles a recurrence of childhood leukemia. Rounding out the character mix is Tom, the woman’s coach, who has known them all since they were kids themselves and who has be coaching the trio through so much more than the sport of cycling.
 
“Gold is a story about just how much it can mean to win… and to lose… the race of your life.”
 
Echoing the adrenaline rush of a race around the Velodrome track, Gold is a profound and exhilarating examination of family, friendship, parenthood, sacrifice and glory. 
 
I will admit to not having read Little Bee, Cleave’s #1 New York Times Bestselling novel. I will also admit that I decided to read Gold only because I had the pleasure of meeting Chris at a bookseller’s conference in New Orleans earlier this year and received a signed advance readers copy of the book. Charmed by Cleave’s approachable demeanor and genuine, firm handshake (ok, it was the accent!), I immediately put Gold on the top of my to-read list. On the flight back to reality, I started the book and couldn’t put it down. Gold is a lightening-fast paced and relevant story that all readers are sure to relate to in their own personal lives of triumph, sacrifice and family. 
 
Chris Cleave goes for the Gold, and wins.