Joe Noone is a minor artist and photographer - and a degenerate and enthusiastic explorer of the gutter. Fire Horses views England over 25 years, from small town to the grimy metropolitan underbelly, through the eyes and lens of one deeply troubled individual and his complex relationships with his childhood friend and the women in his life. Laced with dark humour, poetic beauty and angry political asides, Fire Horses is an unflinching lesson in modern history. An epic love story about ordinary people, the novel is an examination of the pain-inducing traps we set for ourselves in life and how and whether we can escape them.
What they said about “Fire Horses”
“Reading Fire Horses is like riding pillion on a motorbike driven by a poet”
– Jonathan Trigell, author, “Boy A”
“As a debut novel it shines, both in the quality of the writing and the insights into mankind and modern history”
– Mike French, “View from Here”
“Passionate, powerful, poetic – a fine debut from an original talent”
– John King, author, “Football Factory”
“Piggott’s debut novel is a plausible evocation of seamy ‘80s life viewed through the prism of complicated male friendship. Piggott’s eye for social detail is acute, and his love for his characters shines through.”
– John O’Connell, “Time Out”
"Every serious or even semi serious reader deludes themselves with the notion that they “have a book in them”. We read the mundane, run of the mill fiction that populates many of the best seller lists convinced that we could do at least as well ourselves. Then, out of the blue, a book comes along that destroys this fantasy. A book that is so well conceived and crafted that it brings us back to earth with a resounding thud. Our delusions evaporate as they are exposed to true literary ability and talent. Fortunately our perception is not so befuddled that we can fail to recognise excellence when we are in its presence. Fire Horses is such a book and Mark Liam Piggott it seems is such an author."
- Glasgow book group.
Why "Fire Horses"..?
There are sixty years in the lunar cycle; the Chinese have twelve animals to represent their birth signs, and five basic elements. As recently as the Sixties those unfortunates due to be born under the sign of the “fire horse” were aborted in the Far East because when fire horse met fire horse, there was a chance the apocalypse was coming. If you were born, as were the principal characters of this book (and a million others in the UK alone) between 21st January 1966 and 8th February 1967, you’re a fire horse too. Good luck – you might need it…
I was mother’s little helper, born on a Waterloo sunset to a brown-eyed girl. There was something in the way she moved that made dad paranoid behind blue eyes, he went to telegram Sam to help her do the strand but she’d died - rock and roll suicide. This is their bohemian rhapsody; the boys are back in town after their holidays in the sun.
Teenage kicks hurt Eton rifles but love will tear us apart; wandering through our ghost town with an uncertain smile, hand in glove beneath the killing moon. All I’ve seen is a pair of brown eyes but this boy can wait; it’s a wonderful life, I’m having a fine time as she bangs the drums and now I’m ready to step on but I don’t need this unfinished sympathy.
Then two worlds collide; sometimes when I look deep in your eyes I swear I can see your soul but now I’m on cigarettes and alcohol, my misery the universal, I’m a street spirit, humming this bittersweet symphony, this is hardcore, I just keep moving, keep on moving and suddenly it’s a beautiful day and I just can’t get you out of my head, you’re just like the sound of the underground. Pass it on, take me out, ‘cos I predict a riot when the sun goes down and I’m burning burning burning like a firehorse...
(With love and thanks to these bands and so many more who kept me not too mad and not too sane through all those long dark years...)