Joy and heartbreak combine in this bittersweet tale of a champion greyhound's journey through life - and from owner to owner...
"The sack wasn't just drifting gently along like everything else, it was turning of its own accord. There was definitely something inside it, struggling against the side of the plastic bag, kicking at it, squeaking and squealing in terror. He had no idea what it might be, only that it was alive and in danger of drowning."
When Patrick saves a litter of greyhound puppies from the canal, he can't bear to hand them all over to the RSPCA. He pleads with his parents: couldn't he just keep one of them? But nothing will convince them and Patrick cries himself to sleep - only to be woken by a greyhound puppy licking his face!
Patrick christens his puppy Best Mate, and that's what he becomes. Patrick's favourite thing is to watch Best Mate running at full stretch on the heath, a speeding bullet, a cheetah-dog. Until one day Best Mate is kidnapped by a greyhound trainer, and begins a new life as a champion race dog. Suzie, the greyhound trainer's step-daughter, loves Best Mate on first sight and gives him a new name, Bright Eyes. But what will happen when he can't run any more?
Multi-award winning author, Michael Morpurgo, is one of Britain's best-loved writers for children and has won many prizes, including the Smarties Prize, The Writers Guild Award and the Blue Peter Book Award for his recent novel, Private Peaceful, which has also had two successful runs as a play devised by Bristol Old Vic. From 2003 to 2005 he was the Children's Laureate, a role which took him all over the UK to promote literacy and reading, and in 2005 he was named the Booksellers Association Author of the Year.