In the service of two kings, I fight bravely in two wars, I swing my…
1. Blood/Money (Summary)
Blood Money is a story about an Irish girl from a wealthy horse breeding, training, and racing family. She has two older brothers and is considered down the pecking order in the eyes of her father and brothers in business terms, despite the fact that she is very capable and an excellent horsewoman.
There is a stallion that needs to travel to Saudi Arabia as the father has an agreement that he will go there to serve mares for the winter season in Ireland. The plan was that the middle brother would accompany the stallion along with a groom who has been with the horse since he was a yearling. This is because the older brother is actually not very capable, and the father knows this. All the older brother does is play with toys on the farm, drinks and runs around after girls which his young pretty wife knows but can do nothing to stop because she actually loves the money he provides her, not him directly. And she always seems to be pregnant.
At the end of Act I we see that an accident prevents the middle bother from accompanying the stallion to Saudi Arabia and as a result, he will have to go.
There is a moby-dickesque dedication in this story to conversations regarding horse breeding and horse racing.
The father is a staunch Irishman but feels like an imposter in ‘the king’s sport; he has a chip on his shoulder. He is modeled after Mohammad Al-Fayed, a man who beat the institution but was never accepted by it.
There is a huge contrast between the setting in Ireland, on this old stud which was once a manor house before the revolution. Old, grand, cold and damp, but regal. This is set against the world she encounters in Saudi Arabia which is hot and dry, opulent, ornate, new and shiny.
There is also a contrast in the substance of the people, their philosophy to life, religious practices, social graces etc. Like an ancient world that has been smashed up against extreme modernity.
There is a similarity, however, in that the nepotism that is a hallmark of her home life and her father’s business style is also echoed in the approach to business and trustworthiness of Saudi Arabia’s.
It is said that the Irish father had won the stud he now owns in a game of cards. He is also known for rather ruthless sales practices in which they sell stallion services to owners of mares and then ruthlessly demand payment once a live foal has been born which makes him a rather loathed figure, however, he is also highly respected in the horse racing circles despite this.
Upon her arrival in Saudi Arabia, the groom stays with the stallion, and she is collected at the airport by a man whom she does not realize is an important man in the family. Ashraf. He acts as her driver, and she initially thinks nothing more of him, simply getting in the car and thanking him but largely ignoring him. It is not until later, when they are at the house, that the family members all ceremoniously greet her as the representative, and she realizes that this brother is the youngest in the family, as she is. Her equal. Of course, he is tall, dark and handsome and speaks English with a thick acccent. Again, the motif that he is an outsider in that institution as well, despite being above it in reality.
The oldest brother we rarely see; he is a presence there but is usually in Riyadh on business or undertaking some fun activity with other men, like falconing or something.
The middle brother is a snake and the antagonist in the story.