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A Dangerous Fortune Mass Market Paperback – Nov 1 1994

106 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reprint edition (Nov. 1 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440217490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440217497
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 3.3 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #40,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Kirkus Reviews

Follett (Night Over Water, 1991; The Pillars of The Earth, 1989, etc.) peeks into the naughty world of late Victorian merchant bankers. A tragic misadventure among schoolboys is at the root of the rotten world of the Pilaster family. Weak bully Edward Pilaster and his too-dear South American chum Mickey Miranda cause the death by drowning of a lad from the lower form at their minor public school and then grow up to become as corrupt as one might expect. Mickey murders his way to a sinecure in the London legation of his nitrate-rich Latin American homeland, and, with much help from his gorgeous, manipulative mum Augusta, Edward bumbles his way to a partnership in the immensely important family bank. The only really good Pilaster, aside from discreetly gay Uncle Samuel, is young Hugh, whose father left the family firm, founded his own bank, and then had to commit suicide when the bank foundered. Hugh is a born banker, but since he's so much smarter than cousin Edward, Aunt Augusta hates him and throws constant obstacles in his path. Against Hugh's advice, Mickey and Edward team up on a series of huge loans to Mickey's government--money that goes to the purchase of war materiel and the advancement of Mickey's thuggish father. On this rotten foundation, the Pilaster bank grows to Imperial preeminence and Augusta gets the earldom she wants for the husband she dislikes. Hugh, pining for the Polish-born, Jewish bareback- rider he loved and lost and still nursing his childhood memory of That Day At The Swimming Hole, gets nothing but grief until those shaky South American bonds finally collapse and he's really needed. Interesting financial tips and a sprinkling of naughty bits, but the rest is minor Masterpiece Theatre. (BOM ??) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“A terrific page-turner.”Los Angeles Times
“Political and amorous intrigues, cold-blooded murder, and financial crises . . . old-fashioned entertainment.”San Francisco Chronicle
“Breathlessly plotted . . . relentlessly suspenseful.”The New York Times
“Gripping, complex plot . . . sexual intrigue . . . fascinating characters . . . You won’t be able to put down this exciting page-turner.”Lexington Herald-Leader

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Inside This Book

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ON THE DAY OF THE TRAGEDY, the boys of Windfield School had been confined to their rooms. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Schiariti on Oct. 29 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the third Follett book I've read in a row. It all started with Pillars of the Earth, the best book I've ever read. I read A placed Called Freedom right after that and enjoyed that alot as well. And I just got finished with A Dangerous Fortune. I can't possibly say enough good things about Ken Follett. Once again, it's the characters that drive the book. He takes you on a journey with these characters through many years of their lives and you get to see how they encounter, react and truimph over adversity. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but this is another 'must read' in my opinion. His characters are varied and colorful and the relationships, from friendship to love, villainy and hatred are so genuine I couldn't help but wish that these people lived at that point in history. A wonderful read that I will no doubt enjoy again in the future.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Younggren on Sept. 30 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
IMPORTANT QUESTION: Why has this book not received the credit that it deserves??? As per Amazon, the aggregate rating is 4.5 which is great and hopefully it is starting to gain a following (after almost 20 years since it was published). I purchased it because of the Amazon rating and it DID NOT LET ME DOWN. When someone mentions Ken Follet, they think of Pillars of the Earth, World Without End, The Eye of the Needle, The Key to Rebecca, or Triple. However this novel trumps them all. Somehow this excellent work got lost in the shuffle however but, in my mind, it should have risen to the top.

THE FACT: if you like Ken Follet, you will love this book. Set in ~1870, the story focuses on the Pilaster's, one of the richest banking family's in England. Over the course of the book, secrets are revealed, people are blackmailed, fortunes are gained and lost, and alliances are built and then broken. Both good and bad men and women rise and fall.

CONCLUSION: this is a superb read. The characters are vivid and extremely entertaining. The plot is tight, unique, and perfectly paced: fast, but not too fast. A great combination of drama, history, action, business, and romance. It did definitely remind me of Pillars of the Earth, except that it wasn't quite as depressing (Yay!) and the story moved a lot better.

Great job Ken. A MUST READ for any historical fiction fan!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pen ID on May 12 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was my second book by the author, after "Night Over Water," and I was not disappointed. The two books are not similar at all, except in their quality of writing and very engaging plot. Characters are well developed and a reader can relate. "A Dangerous Fortune" has to do with English upper-class society, intrigues, banking system, inheritance issues, love, lust, deception, and more deception. A fantastic read. Highly recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By angelview on March 24 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I had read Eye of the Needle years ago. Then suddenly (30 years later) along comes Pillars of the Earth. Well, that started a new round of "Follett Followers". I went back to the store and bought most of his previous books. They are all wonderfully written books. A Dangerous Fortune was just another typical Follett. You just never knew where you would end up. He is by far one of my favourite authors.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book captivated me from the beginning and I loved every minute of it. The only negative I had about this book was the ending. I guess I expected some sort of surprise but was disappointed when the book ended logically. But now I realize what Follet did with this novel. Maybe if he wrote the same story now he would add a twist because those are popular now. But he didn't and I still loved this book.
Dangerous Fortune tells the story of the Pilaster Bank and its fall. Most of the characters seem to be stereotypes, forced into a role by their position in society. But I soon realized that was how real life was in 19th century London. Your roll in life was largely determined by your ancestors, your profession, or your title.
All characters acted like they were expected to, the loyal wives, the respected businessmen, the sons who were the heirs, but Follet shows us how they got around being respectful by gambling, visiting brothels, and lying and stealing. This book is full of intrigue and lust and greed. I liked that but I also enjoyed the educational aspect of what life was like for the upper class of England long ago. I assume Follet knows what he is talking about.
I recommend this book!
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By lawyeraau TOP 500 REVIEWER on Nov. 11 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
The author, a masterful storyteller, weaves an intriguing and mesmerizing tapestry of events that surround the wealthy Pilaster banking family in the latter part of nineteenth century England. Its panoramic sweep will hold the reader in its thrall. This complex story tells of the ebb and flow of their individual personal fortunes and the personalities that are to profoundly affect them, for better or worse.
Augusta Pilaster is the scheming, socially conscious, self-appointed matriarch of the family. She is a woman who will stop at nothing to ensure that her reckless and easily manipulated husband, Joseph, and their indolent, dissolute, and lackluster son, Edward, will get and retain control of the Pilaster banking enterprise. Her machiavellian machinations, however, will eventually trigger the downfall of the family's fortune.
Hugh Pilaster, Augusta's nephew by marriage, is the Pilaster who has the brains and work ethic to take the Pilaster banking fortunes to a new level. His Achilles heel is that he seems destined to be attracted to working class women, a chink in his armor that Augusta Pilaster uses to her and her immediate family's advantage. He, too, is Augusta Pilater's unwitting pawn, until the day of reckoning comes.
Micky Miranda is the romantically handsome scion of a wealthy, unscrupulous, and power hungry South American businessman. Micky attended an exclusive school with Edward and Hugh Pilaster, when they were young. While there, tragedy struck when a mysterious swimming "accident" took the life of one of their friends, an event that was to shadow their lives in ways no one could have imagined. Micky Miranda would eventually enter into into a web of complicity with Augusta Pilaster that would impact on the fortunes of both the Miranda and Pilaster families.
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