A Dangerous Fortune
, 1993 - Fiction
- 533 pages
In his extraordinary new novel, master storyteller Ken Follett weaves a breath-taking tale set amid the wealth and decadence of Victorian England.
In 1866, tragedy strikes at the exclusive Windfield School. A young student drowns in a mysterious accident involving a small circle of boys. Among them are scrappy Hugh Pilaster; his older cousin Edward, the weak, dissolute heir to the Pilaster banking fortune; and Micky Miranda, the darkly handsome son of a brutal South American landowner. The drowning and its aftermath initiate a spiraling circle of treachery that will span three decades and entwine many lives...
Caught in the maelstrom are Augusta Pilaster, the raven-haired matriarch, strong-willed and sly, ever plotting to advance herself or her spoiled son, Edward, and gain control of Pilasters, the mighty bank that bears their name...Solly Greenbourne, the rich Jewish heir to Greenbournes - the only bank to rival Pilasters in power and prestige - who must battle the dirty stain of anti-Semitism in a still-intolerant nation...Maise Robinson, the beautiful and daring slum girl determined to be rich...Micky Miranda, the sinister hanger-on orchestrating an alliance of blackmail and murder to finance his family's takeover of a nation's government - a move that could rock the very foundation of Britain's economy. Over them all hands the shadow of the old tragedy, which threatens to shatter lives with the disclosure of a long-buried secret.
From the exclusive men's clubs and brothels that cater to every dark desire of London's upper classes to the dazzling ballrooms and mahogany-paneled suites of the manipulators of the world's wealth, Ken Follett conjures up a stunning array of contrasts. Spanning the years when the British Empire tightened its grip on faraway worlds and revolution begot a tide of violent change, A Dangerous Fortune portrays a family splintered by lust yet bound inexorably by a shared legacy; and brings us men and women swept toward a perilous climax where greed, fed by the shocking truth of a boy's death, must be stopped - or not just one man's dreams, but those of a nation, will die.