francis cover

As his friendships grew ever stronger day by day, Francis felt the weight of his secret burning inside him. Finally he knew he had to make an announcement. The time had come to share the secret he had kept from them for months.

Meet Francis, a horse with a curious affliction.  Join him as he and his unlikely band of Australian friends embark on a journey together that will change Francis’s life. 

Francis’s birth is long anticipated by his elite racing thoroughbred parents and the wider racing community; but when he is born with a serious abnormality, he is abandoned. Francis is kept alive and cared for in secret in an old wooden barn on a remote farm, where he meets Tom, a bounding border collie, a huge python and mice (who are the best of friends) and whose friendship and unwavering support gives Francis the confidence to stand and follow his dream.

With plenty of fun times, sad and silly moments with a decidedly Australian flavour; the story of Francis and his friends make great reading for all ages, and teaches us all about what we can achieve if we try hard enough. 

In Store Price: $AU24.95 
Online Price:   $AU23.95


Buy as an Ebook version -  $AUD9.00

ISBN: 978-1-922229-12-0
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 188
Genre: Fiction

Cover: Clive Dalkins

Author: Sonia McNulty
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2013
Language: English

Author Biography


 Born August 10th 1949, Sonia McNulty was fortunate to have the opportunities bestowed upon her by her parents. As a child, attending ballet school allowed her to become a professional dancer; attending drama school helped her gain parts in amateur and professional theatre; television and film was always a burning desire; attending singing classes gave her the qualities necessary to perform in operas.

 At the same time she followed a career in which her father saw potential, as he was a brilliant architect and engineer in his time and so encouraged her in that field. Years later she became an architectural and interior designer.

 This continued from Singapore, to the UK, NZ and Australia.

 But there was still another yearning, and that was to write children’s books. Being creative in her past fields gave her the ability to write as ideas poured out and characters came to life.

 Sometimes you do not gain world success in all the things that you want. But somehow writing these stories has introduced her past life experiences on paper, with the ultimate goal of seeing one of her books turned into a film.

 Sonia has written five children’s books so far. ‘Francis The Horse That Is’, is the first to be published although she has several sequels waiting.

 Sonia’s aim is to bring something unique, healthy, humorous and innocent with educational values for today’s and tomorrow’s children. 

Through her work she maintains a constant love of all animals which builds a strong bond for children to relate to in some way. Children and animals share a joy of innocence which goes hand in hand, demonstrating love in a pure and natural manner. She hopes her books will allow each child to use their imagination and travel side by side with their favourite friend as they witness their mischievous ways.


The Unexpected 

It was a quiet evening; the cool breeze rustled the trees and the odd star twinkled in the night sky. In the main house, Mike and Sasha James heard strange sounds coming from their stables. They switched on the lights around the grounds, and wondered hopefully whether all the commotion meant it was time for the foal to be born. As they reached the stable they realised to their delight that they were right. Their precious mare, Diva, moved back and forth in the stable while the proud stallion, Altiyan, neighed in sympathy as he watched his partner in labour. The other horses were also excited at the prospect of a newborn and watched on with anticipation. The James’s called their friend Tim, the vet, and he was fast on his way.

Altiyan was concerned for his mare and said to her, “I’m here with you; if you need to scream and shout and kick the gate, I don’t think Mike and Sasha will mind a bit.”

“Thank you Altiyan, I think I’m fine, I’m just very uncomfortable, and hot and thirsty—and a little afraid,” replied Diva softly, reserving her energy as much as she could.

“Don’t be afraid my love, I know you’ll be in good hands when the vet arrives, he’ll be here soon,” Altiyan reassured Diva as he looked up to see if he could see Tim yet.

In the meantime, while the James’s raced to bring blankets and water ready for the big event, the other horses whispered kind words, “You’ll be great old girl, hang in there, just think, you’re only a few minutes away from becoming parents to another family champion.”

By now, Diva’s pains were increasing and getting closer together. She just wanted to collapse. Mike and Sasha rubbed her face and body as she perspired profusely.

The vet arrived not a moment too soon; he prepared himself quickly and spoke to Diva with words of comfort, “It’s all right my girl, you’re doing fine, not long now, I’m just going to put my hands into the birth canal to make sure everything feels normal.”

It wasn’t long before he announced, “It’s time.” Everyone held their breath. He called loudly, “It’s coming, someone hold on to Diva while I pull.” There was a silent struggle and then in an instant the foal fell onto the soft bed of hay. Suddenly, the room went quiet. Everyone stared in amazement at Diva’s newborn. The James’s and the vet stood dumbfounded, Altiyan whinnied softly in surprise, and the other horses moved forward to take a closer look. Diva turned her head to see what everyone was staring at.

“My baby, my precious baby, he didn’t make it…” she gasped in dismay.

Tears filled Diva’s eyes as she gradually turned her whole body around to look at her foal. She walked slowly across to her baby and took a sharp intake of breath at what she saw. She looked at Altiyan and then back to the foal in bewilderment. The other horses began stepping back, one step slowly, then two and three more quickly. They could not understand what they were seeing and instinctively moved themselves away. Altiyan couldn’t help himself; he did the same. He felt for Diva, but couldn’t bring himself to utter a word. Sadness filled the air; the James’s shocked faces turned to the vet, who was collecting his thoughts, trying to fathom what they had all just witnessed, and what to do with the baby creature that lay before them.

There, lying helplessly before them was a strange, male, almost unbelievable horse-like creature. Alive, afraid and very much alone.


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