June 19 , 2009



Grass is the incredible story of Phil Sparrowhawk, a working-class boy with gambling in his blood. Like most punters, he enjoyed an incredible run of luck, but finally rolled the dice once too often.

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Before he had come of age, Phil had accumulated a small fortune from street trading. He then staked his entire capital on Njinsky in the 1970 Derby - and won. With his now large capital base, he launched a business importing clothes. Enter Howard Marks (aka Mr Nice), who was enthused by Phil's Far East connections and introduced him to the far more lucrative world of the 'movement of beneficial herbs' - or drug smuggling, as it is known to the authorities.

Phil struck out on his own and from his new base in Thailand became involved in many large-scale cannabis deals, whilst at the same time developing highly successful legitimate businesses. Read of his encounters with Greenpeace, Mother Teresa, gangsters and leading politicians, Lord Moynihan, religious cults, former pop singers and many other diverse characters as his life became more and more surreal.

The winning streak came to an end in 1988 when the US Drug Enforcement Agency closed in. Phil's £30m fortune was promptly confiscated and he spent the next four years in two of Thailand's most notorious jails before being extradited to the US, where he served further time in a series of penitentiaries.

Grass details the life of an ordinary young man with a taste for adventure, who ended up on the most extraordinary journey. Sit back, take a deep breath and enjoy.

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