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A Dangerous Fortune [Mass Market Paperback]

Ken Follett
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 10.99
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Book Description

Nov. 1 1994
In 1866, tragedy strikes at the  exclusive Windfield School. A young student drowns  in a mysterious accident involving a small circle  of boys. The drowning and its aftermath initiates a  spiraling circle of treachery that will span three  decades and entwine many loves... From the  exclusive men's club 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. This  breathtaking novel portrays a family splintered by lust,  bound by a shared legacy... 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...

Frequently Bought Together

A Dangerous Fortune + Winter of the World: Book Two of the Century Trilogy + Fall of Giants: Book One of the Century Trilogy
Price For All Three: CDN$ 43.22


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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.

Review

"Political and amorous intrigues,  cold-blooded murders and financial crises...old-fashioned  entertainment!" -- San Francisco  Chronicle.

"Breathlessly plotted...relentlessly  suspensenseful." -- 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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
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

Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great read by a master storyteller 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Incredible May 12 2004
By Pen ID
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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4.0 out of 5 stars A captivating, historical novel Feb. 18 2003
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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5.0 out of 5 stars A RIVETING WORK OF FICTION... Nov. 11 2002
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
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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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming tale following the lives of four boys to manhood
Four boys from a private school start an adventure that ends with the death of one
This death impacts all facets of their lives as they try to find their way to adulthood. Read more
Published 14 hours ago by Arleen Winsa
4.0 out of 5 stars A page turner
I read this a while ago but I really enjoyed it and recommended it to friends. It was a page turner.
Published 13 days ago by Catherine Jay
4.0 out of 5 stars Great saga !
Well written and great character development. Typical Follett fare. You can read it for hours on end and are sorry when you are finished that there is no more to read.
Published 2 months ago by Arianne
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written
Fantastic Story. Follett writes incredibly well. One wonders if his fundamental belief is that sex makes the world go round though. Read more
Published 3 months ago by W. VanB
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!
Ken Follett doesn't disappoint. His books do a fabulous job of establishing a time period and living in that time. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Tess McNally
3.0 out of 5 stars Both good and bad....
I read plenty of Follet books which I highly enjoy since he is an incredible writer, and that is not to say this book is not another well-written and incredibly interweaved story. Read more
Published 6 months ago by TG
5.0 out of 5 stars could not put it down
As usual Follet's characters come to life immediately. He lures us in and before long we know them intimately, care for them or love to hate them.
Published 7 months ago by Geoff Frood
5.0 out of 5 stars Ken Follett does it again.
Great read. Ken Follett writes another page turner to keep his fans reading. Love, betrayal, deciept, murder mystery along with a great description of the times. I am a fan...
Published 10 months ago by Acadian Jo
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely loved this book.
The character development is very good. There are many sub plots that work their way to a great ending. Anyone who likes historic fiction will like this.
Published 11 months ago by Margie Harris
4.0 out of 5 stars GOOD READING
Very interesting and easy to read and follow the intrigue.. Kept me up at night. Enjoy Ken Follett. It's been a while since I read the book so I don't remember the details. Read more
Published 11 months ago by carl neugebauer
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