I do like the way Mr Cleave writes and the characters he is able to create. I found this novel to be relevant to the times where we so value sports perhaps a bit more than we should. It follows in particular, the lives of three people who are Olympic competitors in cycling and the effects this sport has had on their lives. They are all coached by the same man, Tom, who himself has not had a stellar past in relationship to his family.
For some involved in competition at this level, sports are their life. There is very little room for much else including those personal relationships that one has and needs during their life. Zoe, one of the racers, leads a life of wantoness brought on of course by an awful childhood. She finds herself in the sports arena where she is an no holds bared competitor who leaves all in her wake with a hatred of her. She especially hates herself and the author does provide us with her motives and what I thought to be justification for her behavior. The other two characters Kate and Jack, married competitors provide the anthisis to Zoe's character flaws. They are nice people and although tough talented competitors, they provide the humanness factor especially in their relationship to their very ill child, Sophie. How the three relate to one another is the crux of this novel and although at times, it does push the believability button, it did ring true for the power of friendship, competition, and love.
There is a twist in the story and eventually Mr Cleve is able to show how though each of us is a different entity, we in the end do need one another and long for the ability to find peace no matter which road we travel on.