The Scorpio Races Summary
About nine years ago, little Sean Kendrick watched as a horse ate his dad. Mr. Ed must have been really hungry that day, and they were all out of peanut butter.
Flash forward to the present. The island of Thisby is bustling with activity as the bloodthirsty water horses, known as capaill uisce, emerge from the seas dripping wet and hungry for human flesh. It's like the Galloping Dead, except these horses aren't zombies.
Puck Connolly, née Kate, has decided to enter the Scorpio Races—an annual event in which all the people who manage to catch and tame a water horse race them. Many people die. The Kentucky Derby this ain't. Puck decides to ride her own horse, Dove, in the race, half because she can't afford to purchase a water horse, half because no one will sell her one, and half because she's scared of them. Okay, that equals 150%, but you get the point.
The journey to the races is difficult, and not because Puck is fighting to keep her fingers from being bitten off. She has to face a lot of prejudice as a result of being the first female to ever try entering the races. She's the Sally Ride of water horse racing. To make matters worse, her brother Gabe has decided to leave Thisby, and if Puck doesn't win, the family will lose their house.
Meanwhile, Sean Kendrick—now all grown up—is a studly sea-horse whisperer, training his horse, Corr, for the races as he does every year. Tensions between Sean and the stable owner's son, Mutt, have reached a new high. Jealous of Sean's success, Mutt tries to sabotage Sean every step of the way—attempting to get him killed, trying to injure his horse, peeing in his boots, etc. The peeing in the boots part is just gross.
Eventually, Sean and Puck team up to train together for the races. Along the way, Puck tries to understand why Gabe is leaving, and she grows closer to her other brother, Finn, who sells his car so they can afford food for Dove (Puck's real horse who she'll be racing). No one would sell her a water horse, and she thinks that having a real horse gives her an advantage.
Sean has money problems of his own. He wants to buy Corr, but Mr. Malvern won't sell him. An American stable owner, George Holly, tries to hire Sean, but he won't leave without Corr. Finally Sean convinces Malvern to sell him Corr if he wins the races one more year.
On race day, Mutt Malvern makes his last move. Knowing Sean has the hots for Puck (they've been smooching ever since Sean went to Puck's for dinner), he gets his scary horse, Skata, to attack Dove. Sean intervenes, driving Malvern into the sea, never to be seen again. Puck wins the Scorpio Races and all the money that comes with it. Hooray!
She wants to help Sean, but she doesn't have enough money to pay off their house and buy Corr. Luckily, nice brother Finn ended up betting on Puck to win. She was a long shot, so he's rolling in dough, and he lends Puck the cash to buy Corr.
Sean buys Corr and decides to set him free, believing he'll be happiest at sea. Corr has other plans, though. He refuses to go to sea and returns to Sean. They all live together happily ever after.
Nine Years Earlier—Sean
- It's November, and ten-year-old Sean Kendrick is on the beach with his dad.
- This isn't a vacation with a good-SPF sunscreen and a fluffy romance book to read; it's the Scorpio Races, and somebody's gonna die.
- Even though Sean is only ten, he helps his dad get his capall uisce—his water horse—ready for the race.
- Because his dad seems afraid, Sean has one wish for the red horse: "Do not eat my father" (Prologue.24).
- Sean's wish is granted, although not in the way he expects: it's a gray horse that eats his dad. "Nothing is as red as the sea that day" (Prologue.32).
- Young Sean vows to never be afraid again.
- Puck Connolly is taking care of her horse, Dove, who is an actual horse and Puck's best friend.
- Dove's pretty fast, even able to keep up in a race with Puck's brother Finn, who is in a car.
- They arrive at their finish line near the beach, when one of the bloodthirsty water horses emerges from the water.
- Finn and Puck freeze because "water horses like a moving target," just like a T-Rex.
- The water horse passes them by, and they're glad they didn't end up like their parents: dead.
- Sean Kendrick, who now works on Mr. Malvern's farm, is buying meat from the Gratton's butcher shop when he hears that the capaill uisce have surfaced for the year.
- This means the Scorpio Races are getting closer, and Sean is ready to ride this year, like he does every year.
- Puck's oldest brother, Gabe, comes home as Puck and Finn are eating apple cake for dinner. Um, invite us over next time, Puck.
- Gabe has big news, and it isn't good: He's leaving the island… and he's not taking Puck and Finn with him.
- In order to get him to stay, Puck—whose real name is Kate—tells Gabe that she's decided to ride in the races.
- "Sounds like we'll need the money if I win" (3.54) she says.
- Gabe decides to stay until after the races, but that's it.
- Relieved, Puck goes to her room, and cries quietly into her pillow.
- Sean is dreaming of the sea. He gets up, not because he has to pee, but because some of the other stable boys have woken him.
- Matthew Malvern, known as Mutt, has gotten himself into a horseload of trouble trying to trap a capall uisce on the beach.
- Down on the beach, the horse is going wild and injuring people.
- Sean manages to calm the horse, but not enough to keep him. "Don't you dare let that horse go," (4.44) Mutt sneers.
- That's exactly what Sean does. See ya, horsey.
- Puck is trying to decide what to wear to the beach. We have a feeling that bloodthirsty meat-eating horse season isn't synonymous with bikini season.
- Finn has prepared Puck a cup of hot cocoa with salt. The salt makes it sweeter, he says. She doesn't believe him because she has tragically never had a Ghiradelli Intense Dark Sea Salt bar.
- When Finn asks to accompany Puck to the beach for moral support she agrees, but only for the first day. Then he has to stay home.
- A man named Gorry has dragged a piebald mare out of the sea, and he wants Sean to convince Malvern to buy her.
- He rides her, but she's resistant to his touch. Her magic is strong, and Sean worries she'll kill someone.
- "They've all killed someone," (6.25) Gorry says. Yes, and it was probably pretty gory, Gorry.
- Sean advises Gorry to throw the piebald mare back, but he knows he won't.
- Puck and Finn watch as a bunch of men train their horses on the beach. Puck is especially captivated by a sleek red one "so beautiful that [her] eyes prickle" (7.4).
- It may be a pretty sight, but it makes Puck wonder how she'll get one of her own.
- None of the horse mongers will sell Puck a horse, not even if she promises to give them four-fifths of her winnings.
- She ends up finding the man with the piebald mare. He wants to see if she can handle it.
- The monger leads Puck to the piebald mare, but Puck ends up chickening out and not getting on.
- Good thing too, because the piebald mare finds a juicy little morsel—a nearby dog—and snatches it up in one quick bite.
- Finn sees the mare make Beggin' Strips out of the dog, and he begs Puck to not ride any of the capaill. Puck decides she'll ride Dove instead.
- Sean brings his capall, Corr, to the beach after everyone has left or been maimed for the day.
- He trains Corr for a bit, using his iron, which Corr is sensitive to, sparingly.
- On his way back to the cliffs he sees that Mutt Malvern has peed in his boots. So that's where Mutt gets his name…
- In the town of Skarmouth, Puck goes to Gratton's butcher shop to sign up for the races.
- It's boiling over with people—jockeys signing up for the races, people placing bets.
- Peg—Mrs. Gratton if you're nasty—tries to talk Puck out of it, but Puck isn't having it.
- She signs her name and even puts her horse down as Dove. "There's nothing to say that [she] can't enter Dove" (10.47), who isn't a water horse.
- Outside in the fresh air (we imagine anything smells fresh after being in the middle of a bunch of sweaty dudes in a butcher shop) Puck watches Sean Kendrick and Mutt Malvern having a quarrel.
- Mutt threatens to tell his dad on Sean, and have Sean fired for letting that horse go.
- Sean retorts that Mutt's dad is waiting for Sean to choose a horse for Mutt. He won't get fired; he's pretty much responsible for keeping Mutt alive. "You'll ride what I tell him you'll ride" (10.73).
- Puck wakes from a dream about her dead Mum when she hears a sound at her door.
- It's her brother Gabe, who still isn't talking to her. She wants him to come in, but he doesn't. Oh well, back to sleep.
- Meanwhile, at the stables, we switch to Sean's point of view.
- He's been awake all night and doesn't plan on going to sleep any time soon. He has some hardcore brooding to do.
- He's daydreaming (at night) of the day when he can leave the Malvern farm for good.
- Puck decides to take Dove to the beach, not because she has a death wish, but because it's in the rules. "All entries must train within 150 yards of the shoreline" (12.8).
- Before she can leave, Father Mooneyham and Peg Gratton roll up in the good Father's automobile.
- Peg has realized that Puck isn't riding a capall uisce, and she tries to talk her out of it.
- It works about as well as it did last time. Puck still plans on riding.
- Sean meets a new buyer at the Malvern Farm: George Holly. He's an American.
- After a brief grammar and pronunciation lesson on capaill uisce and capall uisce, George Holly gushes about how famous Sean Kendrick is. "You're the man to beat. A national treasure" (13.19). Does that make him Nicolas Cage?
- George Holly isn't just interested in buying a water horse, which Malvern isn't selling, but he's also interested in Sean. He wants him to take care of his horses for him back in the states.
- Sean shows George how to care for a water horse, and thankfully, Corr doesn't eat anyone. Wow, that was a surprisingly blood-free chapter.
- Picking up where Puck last left off, Peg Gratton putters away, and Puck and Finn head down to Skarmouth with a cart full of teapots.
- They're going to Dory Maud's shop. Dory Maud and her sisters sell seashells by the seashore. Okay, we're not sure if they sell shells, but they sell everything else, including the teapots Puck makes. Better than stuff made in China.
- Finn hangs out with the Carroll brothers, Brian and Jonathan, while Puck goes to talk to Dory Maud—this woman is always referred to as Dory Maude, never just Dory. Dory is a fish from Finding Nemo.
- Anyway, Puck is excited for the potential to earn extra money because Dory Maud has a catalog now, which means her teapots will be sold to people on the mainland too.
- Despite having this little bit of good news, Puck is still worried. She doesn't look like a jockey, and little Dove doesn't look like a racehorse.
- Sean watches Puck train Dove on the beach, and isn't exactly impressed with either.
- Creepy Gorry and his angry mare sidle up next to Sean while he's watching Puck.
- Farther down the beach, a man named Jimmy Blackwell isn't just thrown from his horse, but has his fingers chomped clean off.
- Man fingers weren't a filling enough meal for his horse, though. It wants ladyfingers, too. Puck's ladyfingers.
- The horse charges Dove and flings Puck into the water.
- Before it can sink its teeth into her though, Sean races into the water and shoves a fistful of holly berries into the horse's snout.
- Those berries aren't holly-jolly… they're poisonous, and the capall uisce dies.
- Not wanting to repeat this, Sean tells Puck to "keep [her] pony off this beach" (15.40).
- After getting back home, Puck's still a little freaked about the attack on the beach.
- Not because she almost died, but because Dove, her horse, almost died. Good priorities.
- Puck scarfs down an orange and mopes because she had to be rescued on the very first day.
- Her pity party is interrupted when Benjamin Malvern, Mutt's dad, shows up at the door.
- He has Puck serve him a cup of tea, and then he drops a huge bomb on her: Her house hasn't been paid for, and he's going to evict her and her family.
- She thought Gabe had been paying for it, but sadly, she thought wrong.
- Puck convinces Malvern to wait three weeks. She can pay for the house after she wins the races.
- "I'll be back to collect it when you're dead," (16.70) he says. Cold, bro, real cold. Guess he won't be betting on Puck to win.
- Sean is training a capall named Fundamental in the cove. The water horse swims behind Sean, who is in a little boat. Sean sees Mutt Malvern on the shore, watching them but saying nothing.
- Suddenly, the person on the beach who was supposed to be keeping watch starts shouting Sean's name.
- A huge shadow approaches the little boat, and you practically hear the Jaws theme music.
- Fundamental goes under, and Sean dives in after him.
- The water is full of Fundamental's blood.
- Sean, armed with holly berries yet again, is ready to kill the capall uisce that has Fundamental in its jaws of death.
- But he doesn't kill the attacking horse because Fundamental, who Sean raised from birth, is already dead. Sean leaves him behind.
- Puck and Finn brainstorm ways to raise money—not to save their house, but to feed their horse.
- Dove needs better food to be a champion racehorse.
- Puck suggests Finn sell his car, but he doesn't want to. She tells him that they can buy two cars with the winnings.
- They spend the rest of dinner wondering if their brother Gabe will ever come home. Finn says, "It's like he's already gone" (19.23). Tear.
- Back at the stables, Sean is furious that Mutt Malvern had let the predatory capall make horsemeat out of Fundamental.
- Sean knows that Mutt would sacrifice anything, even a good horse, to get Sean killed.
- He considers leaving the stables for good, but he can't leave without his own horse, Corr.
- Puck decides to start training bright and early at low tide.
- The plan works without a hitch. They have a nice gallop and return home before the other riders even arrive.
- Sean is dinging at the tearoom, and the waitress asks him what he'd like.
- If this doesn't seem like Sean's normal lunch place, you're right. He's there to meet Mr. Malvern.
- Malvern arrives, tells Sean a bit of his history (get the scoop on his page in our "Characters" section), and then tells him that his son, Mutt, said that Sean killed one of his horses.
- Of course, we know that's not how it happens, but it's Sean's word against Mutt's.
- Surprisingly, Malvern takes Sean's word over his son's. Then he gets Sean's recommendation on which horse Mutt should ride. Wow, which boy is his son again?
- Puck considers taking the family's savings to buy Dove some better food, but she can't bring herself to do it.
- She decides to ask Dory Maud for an advance on her teapots, so she hops on her bike to Hastaway.
- Turns out that Thomas Gratton is headed that way, so he picks up Puck.
- On the way, they see another person headed that direction: Sean Kendrick.
- Puck practically acts like he's a stinky hitchhiker. She glares at him, still angry that he told her to stay off the beach.
- It's so chilly in that car, Thomas Gratton doesn't need to turn on the air condition.
- But the chill lifts as they get close to town, and Sean Kendrick offers a capall to Puck.
- At Dory Maud's shop, Finn and Puck talk about the parade of riders, and how Puck might be riding a capall.
- Finn thinks that riding one of the water horses—you know, the kind of horse that killed their parents—would compromise Puck's principles.
- She's pretty much like "principles shminciples" because "principles won't pay the bills" (24.40).
- Sean shows off some feisty fillies to the buyers at Malvern's, including George Holly.
- Mutt and Sean race their horses to show them off. Sean, being the good stable boy he is, knows that he should let Mutt win…
- But he lets Mutt eat his dust.
- George Holly is impressed with Sean, but Sean plays it modest. "Just a horse love," (25.35) he tells the American.
- Puck and Sean meet at the cliffs. When Puck gets there, Sean is already there riding Corr.
- She observes, "Sean rides bareback, the most dangerous way of all. Skin to skin, pulse to pulse" (26.5). It sounds fun kids, but don't ride bareback—safety first.
- The point of view switches to Sean's mid-chapter. He addresses Puck as Kate, but she tells him that some people call her Puck.
- He finds her pretty feisty, and he agrees when she pushes to race her while she rides Dove.
- Sean races the mare he was going to give Puck. It doesn't go well—the mare craves the sea and jumps off a cliff to get there.
- Kate wins by default, and she tells Sean, "Call me Puck" (27.76).
- Sean tells George Holly that his horse jumped off a cliff.
- When Holly asks if that's normal, Sean responds "nothing about this month is turning out to be normal" (27.11).
- It's time for the Scorpio Festival. Sorry, Sagittarius, you'll have to wait until next month.
- Puck and Finn go to the festival in Finn's car, picking up Jonathan and Brian Carroll along the way.
- They talk about whom to bet on in the race. Sean Kendrick seems to be a good bet. Puck… not so much.
- Brian Carroll helps Puck look for her older brother, Gabe.
- They find him in da pub… bottle full of bub… (okay, pint of ale, but close enough).
- Whatever Gabe's drinking, Puck flips out because Dad didn't want him to drink.
- She drags him aside, demanding to know where he's been the last few nights.
- He pretty much tells her it's none of her business. He's been working, and he doesn't care that they're going to lose their house because he's going to the mainland and maybe, someday, Puck and Finn can join him.
- Puck is furious, so she stomps out of the pub and runs into Finn, arms laden down with gooey treats.
- How'd he get enough money for those? He sold his car. Aww…
- Sean is in the crowd, listening to the thumping of the Scorpio drums as the mare goddess glides by.
- She smears Sean's face with blood, and tells him to make a wish.
- Sean spends the rest of the night trying to figure out who the woman in the horse-head costume could be, thinking it's Peg Gratton.
- He goes to the butcher shop, which is also a restaurant/betting parlor, and sees that the odds for Kate (a.k.a. Puck) Connolly winning are 45-1. Them's bad odds.
- To make matters worse, Mutt Malvern has signed up with a different horse: Skata, the piebald mare.
- Sean finds Mutt at the bonfire and tells him that Skata will kill him.
- Mutt says "You know she's faster than him" (31.10), implying that the only reason Sean doesn't want Mutt on Skata is because Skata is faster than Corr.
- The real reason is that it's Sean's job to keep Mutt's stupid butt alive, but this marks the moment where Sean gives up. He knows he can't do anything for Mutt anymore.
- Elizabeth—Dory Maud's sister—drags Puck to the bonfire where a riders' ritual is taking place: All the men who ride in the Race are splattering their own blood on a rock by the sea.
- The mare goddess cuts their hands, and they smear their blood, but when she gets to Puck a man named Eaton objects, saying "No woman's ridden in the races since they began," (32. 73). Yeah, because most women have more sense than Puck does… oh, we did we say that out loud?
- He says it's an unwritten rule that woman aren't aloud, but Puck doesn't give a puck about unwritten rules. She protests repeatedly, but the men aren't having it.
- Sean finally speaks up and says to let her ride. And, just like that, problem solved. Good thing there's a man there to take care of business for her.
- The next morning Sean and George Holly talk about church, and how Sean doesn't go.
- The capaill are more important than religion to Sean, and an incoming storm will drive them inland in droves.
- Sean invites Holly to stick around while he tries to capture a new carnivorous seahorse or two.
- While Sean baits the beach, he notices Puck up on the cliffs, and he marvels at how similar the two of them are.
- Now we get to see Puck's perspective as she goes to the cliffs after church.
- She's there with a pencil and paper, recording the times of the horses racing on the beach to see what kind of competition she has to beat. How she's going to compile this data without a computer spreadsheet, we have no idea.
- Sean scales the cliff to join her, and says he's watching the horses too.
- Both Sean and Puck agree that the vicious piebald mare is one to watch out for.
- They also both wonder why the other stays instead of going to the mainland. Sean stays because he loves "the sky and the sand and the sea and Corr" (34.36) (and the word and) and Puck stays because on the island, "it's less about wanting, and more about being" (34.38).
- Back at Malvern Yard, Sean runs into George Holly and Mr. Malvern.
- Sean makes his move and offers to buy Corr from Mr. Malvern.
- Malvern will sell any horse other than Corr, but Corr's the one that Sean wants.
- He's not giving up without a fight, either. He tells Mr. Malvern that if he sells him Corr, he'll race for one more year and keep training the horses. If not, he's outta there.
- Mr. Malvern calls his bluff, and tells Sean to have his things out by the end of the week. That bet did not pay off at all.
- Riding Dove on the cliffs isn't going too well because the rough weather up there scares the horse.
- To make matters worse, a group of men show up to taunt Puck.
- They ride their horses next to her, and one of their capaill takes a little nibble of Dove's ear. Maybe he thought she was a Dove chocolate?
- Puck screams at them to get away from her, and they leave. She's humiliated, afraid that they'll never let her on the beach now.
- Finn and Puck have a picnic and worry about what's going to happen to them after Gabe leaves and they lose the house.
- As if that weren't scary enough, they hear the sound of hooves outside. It's not the headless horseman… it's a bloodthirsty capall.
- They hide under a blanket of hay, while Dove stands still. Maybe the capall will mistake her for a statue.
- A screeching sound outside the tent draws the water horse away. It's Puffin, the beloved cat whom we've never heard of until chapter 37.
- Finn is upset that Puffin is about to become Meow Mix, but before he has time to do anything about it, Gabe shows up.
- They pile into Tommy Falk's car and ride away, leading Dove by the reins through the passenger-side window.
- Tommy Falk drives them to the Grattons's house.
- Finn starts washing his hands over and over and over again, a nervous tic brought on by losing Puffin. At least he doesn't read comic books.
- Peg makes everyone feel at home, and Puck realizes that Gabe has been staying there those nights he doesn't come home.
- In the dark, Gabe finally admits to Puck that he just can't bear staying on the island. Everything that Puck loves about living there—the house, the horses, the sea—he hates.
- Puck doesn't quite understand it, but she's glad he told her.
- Ah, nothing like the sound of horses screaming in the morning. That's what Sean wakes up to.
- Malvern's horses (Sean hasn't left yet) have gone buckwild, and Sean is the only one who can calm them down.
- Sean convinces Corr to start keening, and that scares the wild capall uisce away.
- Malvern himself waves Sean over and asks him if he's changed his mind yet. Sean: Nope. Malvern: Me neither. Well that accomplished nothing.
- Peg Gratton tells Puck to beware the other men. She's worried one of them might attempt to sabotage Puck to keep her out of the race.
- She says, "You're asking them to treat you like a man. And I'm not sure either of you want that" (40.18).
- Sean heads out for a dip in the water.
- Not for a nice morning swim, but to make wishes to the sea. He wishes for Corr to be meek and good, but he also wishes for him to be "despicable" (41.5) so Malvern will beg him to come back.
- Vendors have set up booths galore to prepare for the races.
- At Dory Maud's booth, Puck hears that Sean quit working for Malvern. She marches down to where Malvern has set up a tent to find Sean.
- She finds Corr, who is being tormented by Mutt and pals, but no Sean.
- He's further away, sulking. While Puck is talking to him, Mutt takes a break from being a jerk to a horse to be a jerk to Sean and Puck.
- While Mutt is taunting them, his friend Prince asks Mutt if he'll be riding Corr out on the beach.
- Corr expresses his disapproval for this idea by chomping down into Prince's neck.
- Puck rushes to Prince's side, panicked because this is how her parents died, while Sean calms Corr.
- Sean needs Puck to hold Corr while he cuts the ribbons and bells from him, so she lets go of Prince to do so.
- When she returns, Prince is dead.
- Sean rides away, and Puck tells him that she'll wash his bloody jacket for him. Bloody Horse Jacket sounds like a good name for a metal band.
- Sean is supposed to meet Mr. Malvern at a grand hotel, but he runs into George Holly.
- Holly asks Sean a bit about the island's lore, which Sean tells him about.
- But then Holly beats feet because he and Malvern had a squabble and he doesn't want to run into him.
- Sean sits down with Malvern, and he finally agrees to sell Corr… for three hundred. Three hundred what, we don't know.
- To talk Malvern down, Sean clues him in that George Holly offered him a job. This gets Malvern down to two hundred, but that still means Sean has to win the races.
- Puck feels guilty and responsible for Prince's death, and she confesses it to Father Mooneyham.
- She thinks she's done all sorts of terrible things—being angry with her brother, riding in the races—and she's not satisfied until the good Father gives her a penance, which he finally does, if only to get her out of the confessional.
- Puck heads to Malvern Yard to return Sean's freshly laundered jacket.
- When she arrives, Sean teaches her how to wrap a horse's leg with seaweed, like a sushi roll.
- He shows her a few more things about dealing with water horses, and gives her strategies for what to watch out for during the race.
- Then, as a cherry atop this sundae of favors, he offers to ride with her while she practices.
- Flashback time. Sean tells us about the time when he was eight and his father took him down to the beach and captured Corr.
- He instantly fell in love. Now, back in the present, he wants Puck to love Corr as well.
- For the first time, Puck gets to ride Corr.
- She bounds around and enjoys the "mysterious, terrifying power of the capaill uisce" (47.29). It's like upgrading from a Kia to a giant pickup truck, and Puck loves the whole experience.
- Afterward, Sean takes her wrist and she's "pinned by his touch, a sort of fearful magic" (47.35). Which one is the horse here again?
- Anyway, Sean tells her he'll see her on the cliffs tomorrow.
- When Puck gets home, the house is spotless. Finn has been a nervous cleaning wreck. Maybe Merry Maids has a job opening?
- He is relieved, however, that the cat we've only heard of once, and will never hear from again, came back alive. Whew.
- All the uncertainty—Will they lose the house? Will Puck die in the races?—has finally gotten to the poor kid, and he drags his mattress into Puck's room to sleep for the night.
- It's the morning of the Malvern youngstock auction. Come on down and buy yourself a nice young buck to take home to the missus. (Sorry, Sean Kendrick isn't for sale.)
- Malvern's young stock has brought all the boys to the yard. The place is buzzing with activity, including George Holly.
- Holly and Malvern have a conversation with Sean and Mutt in earshot. The gist of it is this: Sean is more of an asset to Malvern than Mutt ever will be. Ouch.
- After the chat, Holly warns Sean to lock his door—Mutt just may try something to even the score.
- Puck and Finn head down to Dory Maud's shop, where the sisters are trying to hook George Holly up with their blind sister, Annie.
- They send Puck off to take George Holly to breakfast, giving him time to get to know her. See, Sean Kendrick has told him a lot about Puck.
- It seems there's a rumor that she might actually have a shot at winning this race, if her horse can run in a straight line while all the others pull toward the sea.
- Plus, Holly tries to do a little matchmaking of his own, saying "I hope you won't wait for Sean Kendrick to realize that he's lonely" (50.83). In other words, horse blankets alone won't keep a boy warm.
- Sean and Puck train on the cliffs, but Puck realizes that they can't both win… one of them has to lose.
- The race is tomorrow, so it's time to get practical.
- Puck asks Sean if winning second or third would be enough for him to buy Corr. Sounds like she's confident she's going to win.
- Despite being sure she'll beat Sean's butt, she invites him to dinner.
- This chapter begins "Gabe brings home a chicken and Tommy Falk for dinner" (52.1). Guess the water horses aren't the only ones on the island who like human meat.
- Oh, Tommy Falk is a guest for dinner. Got it.
- Gabe and Tommy are going to the mainland together, and Gabe promises to send money back to his homeless siblings after he leaves. How sweet.
- Sean shows up with some bread, and they dine and talk strategy.
- His plan is to ride next to Puck to protect her from the angry capaill and their petty male riders.
- For the rest of dinner, they make goo-goo eyes at each other.
- Sean wakes up to the sound of a horse crying, so he heads to the stalls.
- The night before, he put Edana in Corr's stall and someone, thinking she was Corr, cut her leg open.
- Sean's pretty sure it was Mutt, and he hears a commotion.
- Fearing that Mutt has gotten to Corr, he runs toward the noise.
- Sure enough, there Mutt is, and he's backed Corr into a corner. A Corr-ner, if you will.
- Sean pulls out his knife and threatens to cut out Mutt's heart if he hurts Corr.
- Reasoning with his competitive side, Sean tells Mutt that if he really wants to prove his jerk self to his jerk of a father, he'll win the races.
- This is enough to get Mutt to back off.
- He may have won that battle, but there's still a casualty: Mr. Malvern tells Sean to put Edana out of her misery.
- It's the last day to train, but Sean tells Puck to send Dove home. It's too dangerous for her to be there on the last day.
- Puck is looking for Tommy Falk for some reason, so they wander around asking after him for a few pages.
- When they finally find him, he's dead. Oh, Tommy, we hardly knew ye.
- Gabe speaks at Tommy Falk's funeral. And cries.
- As part of the ceremony, Sean releases Tommy's mare into the sea.
- Puck feels sad, but she knows tomorrow is the races. She's "so full of an unnamed wanting that [she] can't bear it" (55.31). We'll try to name it for her: Is it Sean? Winning the races? Donuts?
- After releasing Tommy's mare, Sean and Puck go off alone and talk about the race.
- Then they smooch. Because funerals and deadly races are turn-ons.
- What's the title of this book again? Oh right, The Scorpio Races. Well, it's the morning of the races. They're finally about to begin.
- Finn tries one last time to convince Puck to drop out of the race. Too late for that, bro.
- Gabe joins in, saying that he'll bring her to the mainland, but that's not what Puck wants.
- Before she leaves, Gabe tells her that she looks just like their Mum.
- This chapter opens with a line the same as the first line of the book: "It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die" (58.1).
- Like Puck in the previous chapter, Sean has someone trying to convince him not to race, too: George Holly, who's asking Sean to return to the states with him instead.
- Of course Sean refuses, saying that he will move into his father's house when he and Corr are free from Malvern's control.
- Puck is surrounded by a crowd, including a reporter who wants to know if Puck is inspired by the women's suffrage movement.
- Sean gives the reporter something worth inking her pen for when he sweeps up Puck in a romantic embrace and kiss, "For luck" (59.29).
- The race officials refuse to give Puck her colors.
- Gabe, showing support for his sister, says he'll go get them for her, but he fails, too.
- No more time. The race is about to start.
- Because he can't let sleeping dogs—or horses as the case may be—lie, Mutt continues taunting Sean right up until the start of the race. He says "I know what you care about, Sean Kendrick," (61.13) with his beady little eyes locked on Puck. Ruh-roh.
- We shift to Puck's perspective before the chapter closes, where we see Peg Gratton give Puck her colors. "Now you wear Thisby's colors," (61.21) she says.
- Puck has a hot second to feel included before the races begin.
- And they're off! It's like the Kentucky Derby, but with fewer goofy hats and more bloodshed.
- We switch back and forth between Sean's and Puck's points of view in this chapter. Sean sticks to the plan to ride beside Dove and not take any risky moves until the end of the race.
- But Dove has panicked because she's been bitten, and they've fallen behind a bit.
- Dove and Puck manage to catch up to Corr and Sean, but Mutt and Skata, the piebald mare, are there too.
- Skata takes a huge bite of Dove, but Puck fights back. She twists Skata's ear, getting her to release her chompers from Dove's shoulder.
- Sean arrives and pushes next to Skata, but Mutt has a last-ditch plan in mind: He cuts Skata's throat with a knife, slamming the horse into Sean and Corr.
- As Puck approaches the finish line, Corr, Sean, and Skata tumble into the sea.
- Puck and Dove win, and it's not even a photo finish. They kick everyone's tails.
- But Puck isn't happy for winning; she's worried about Sean.
- She sees Corr way back, standing in the surf, Sean's battered body in the shallow waves.
- Thankfully he's not dead. Mutt is though: Skata took him with her into the sea.
- Puck's pretty pleased that Sean is alive, but she notices that Corr was mauled pretty bad, hurting his shoulder so much that he'll never run again.
- Puck rides high on various victory celebrations, but she feels bad that Sean didn't place at all. Without any prize money, he can't buy Corr. Lame. (Oh, sorry, Corr.)
- She would give Sean money, but she can't afford to save the house if she buys Corr.
- But gambling pays off. It turns out Finn bet on Puck and, at 45-1 odds, he has more than enough money to pay for both.
- At Malvern Yard, Puck isn't there to see Sean: she's there to see Benjamin Malvern.
- She pays off her house, asks for a job, and convinces him to sell Corr to Sean.
- Money talks, and she succeeds on all fronts. You go, girl.
- Now the proud owner of Corr, Sean leads him to the sea to let him go.
- Wait, what? All that, and he's just going to let Corr go?
- Sean feels that Corr, with an injured leg, will do his best in the sea.
- He leads him out into the shallows and walks away. When he turns his back to look at Corr, Corr doesn't return to the sea… he returns to Sean.
- It's a warm and fuzzy note to end on.