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Dangerous Fortune

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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 ...
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A Dangerous Fortune

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Overview

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 clima

In 1866, a mysterious drowning at the exclusive Windfield School for boys initiates a spiraling circle of treachery that will span three decades and entwine many lives. A spectacular New York Times bestseller.

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Editorial Reviews

Bill Kent
Like The Pillars of the Earth, Mr. Follett's intricate saga about the construction of a medieval cathedral, A Dangerous Fortune reads more like an exercise in which the author applies the conventions of the plot-driven thriller to the historical novel. He delivers a silly, good-time read that for all its giddy leaps and bounds shows us little about the Victorians and the vital era they inhabited. -- New York Times
Library Journal
A mysterious drowning at a school in England in 1866 enmeshes the lives of several young boys in a web of treachery and greed. Set among late-19th-century British aristocracy, the novel follows Hugh Pilaster and his cousin Edward as they battle for control of various enterprises, including the family bank; Maisie Robinson, the beautiful and willful Jewish immigrant; and Michy Miranda, the smooth and manipulative heir of a brutal South American family. Follett, using the same basic formula that he employs in The Pillars of the Earth (Morrow, 1989), quickly gains the listener's interest in the characters and-by drawing upon personal experience-the world of British banking. Reader Michael Page has an excellent voice, even if he can't immitate South American accents. Recommended for public libraries.-Mark Watson, Southern Illinois Univ., Carbondale
From the Publisher
"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.

From Barnes & Noble
In this extraordinary novel, master storyteller Ken Follett weaves a breathtaking tale set amid the wealth & decadence of Victorian England. A portrait of a family splintered by lust, bound by a shared legacy & moving toward a perilous climax.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780330544429
  • Publisher: Pan Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/28/2011

Meet the Author

Ken Follett
Ken Follett is the author of numerous international bestsellers, including Jackdaws, Hornet Flight, Code to Zero, Triple, Eye of the Needle, Pillars of the Earth, and A Dangerous Fortune. He lives in England.

Biography

As a young boy growing up in Cardiff, Wales, Ken Follett's love for all things literary began early on. The son of devoutly religious parents who didn't allow their children to watch television or even listen to the radio, Follett found himself drawn to the library. It soon became his favorite place -- its shelves full of stories providing his escape, and ultimately, his inspiration.

Follett's more formal education took place years later at London's University College, where he studied philosophy -- a choice that, as he explains on his official Web site, he believes guided his career as an author. "There is a real connection between philosophy and fiction," Follet explains. "In philosophy you deal with questions like: ‘We're sitting at this table, but is the table real?' A daft question, but in studying philosophy, you need to take that sort of thing seriously and have an off-the-wall imagination. Writing fiction is the same."

After graduating in 1970, a journalism class touched off Follett's career as a writer. He started out covering beats for the South Wales Echo, and later wrote a column for London's Evening News. Becoming more and more interested in writing fiction on evenings and weekends, however, Follett soon realized that books were his true business, and in 1974 he went to work for Everest Books, a humble London publishing house.

After releasing a few of his own novels to less than thunderous acclaim --including The Shakeout (1975) and Paper Money (1977) -- Follett finally hit it big with 1978's Eye of the Needle. The taut, edgy thriller with more than a dash of sex appeal flew off the shelves, winning the Edgar award and allowing Follett to quit his job and get to work on his next book, Triple. Showing no signs of a sophomore slump, Triple went on to spark a string of bestselling spy thrillers, including The Key to Rebecca (1980), The Man from St. Petersburg (1982), and Lie Down with Lions (1986). 1983's On Wings of Eagles was an interesting departure -- a nonfiction account of how two of Ross Perot's employees were rescued from Iran in 1979.

Follett changed direction even more sharply in 1989, surprising fans with The Pillars of the Earth -- a novel set in the Middle Ages many critics considered his crowning achievement. "A novel of majesty and power," said The Chicago Sun-Times of Follett's epic story. "It will hold you, fascinate you, surround you."

Follett's next three books were a trio considered to be more suspenseful than thrill-filled -- Night Over Water (1991), A Dangerous Fortune (1993) and A Place Called Freedom (1995), but The Third Twin (1996) and The Hammer of Eden (1998) marked a return to Follett's trademark capers. The wartime novels Code to Zero (2000) and Jackdaws (2001) showcased Follett's "unique ability to tell stories of international conflict and tell them well," according to Larry King in USA Today.

Follett "hits the mark again" (Publishers Weekly) with his latest story of international intrigue, Hornet Flight (2002) -- the WWII story of a young couple trying to escape occupied Denmark in a rebuilt Hornet Moth biplane who become unwitting carriers of top-secret information.

In a way, Follett's smash-hit success has allowed him to give back to the library of Cardiff, Wales -- by filling its shelves with his own transporting tales.

Good To Know

Eye of the Needle was made into a major motion picture, and four of Follett's books have been made into television mini-series: The Key to Rebecca, Lie Down with Lions, On Wings of Eagles and The Third Twin -- the rights for which were sold to CBS for the record sum of $1,400,000.

A very civic-minded soul, Follett is quite involved in his Hertfordshire community, serving as President of the Dyslexia Institute, Council Member of the National Literacy Trust, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Chair of Governors of the Roebuck Primary School & Nursery, Patron of Stevenage Home-Start, director of the Stevenage Leisure Ltd. and Vice-President of the Stevenage Borough Football club.

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    1. Hometown:
      Hertfordshire, England
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 5, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Cardiff, Wales
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Philosophy, University College, London, 1970

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 470 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(167)

4 Star

(168)

3 Star

(76)

2 Star

(27)

1 Star

(32)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 474 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 3, 2010

    Wow! A great read!

    Lady MacBeth meets serial killer. Hello Mrs. Robinson! Roots of 19th Century feminism in England, decades before the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    Thoroughly nasty, unlikable characters, selfishness, egotism, avarice, mind-bending manipulation, hateful, greedy slime-balls. At the end, a couple of genuine heroes to cheer for. What's not to like?

    Add to that a Michener-like treatment of 19th Century English life and you've got a winner on the historical fiction level as well.

    I completely agree with an earlier reviewer: the book could easily have been written in 2010 instead of 1993 because it uncannily presages Bernie Madoff and the Great Recession, triggered as they were by excesses in the banking industry.

    I must not forget to mention there's a bit of kinky sex for the imaginative; a conventional, steamy, forbidden, encounter for the staid and straight; and a dose of syphilis to remind everyone that erections have consequences.

    One complaint. I read this as an ebook on our Nook. The technology (OCR?) that translates hardcopy to digital text fails to catch typos and that's annoying. "In a hurry" can appear as "In a humy". I can do my own proofreading, but I paid to read the book and I've got a right to expect it be done for me. You get the drift.

    My suggestion would be to enlist an army of seniors, dedicated readers adept in their own native language, as proofreaders. Give them a few perks (like free copies, book previews), and get them to review new ebook releases.

    A Dangerous Fortune. Highly recommended for folks who like historical fiction, intrigue, sex and especially, those who are fascinated by pathological families. Chekov would have loved it.

    26 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2010

    I am a Ken Follett fan..

    I was amazed that this was wriiten in 1993. It seemed to mirror the financial crises we have experienced in the last two years in US. Powerful, greedy people abusing the system that ends up hurting many peoples savings accounts and 401-ks. we should all read books like this to better understand the workings of capitalists thinking. Good and Bad !!
    Also just a great plot of characters playing off against each other !!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2005

    Sex, Lies & Wealth

    This book took me through different emotions. I've read 5 of his books and this has got to be the best one.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Another huge winner!

    Magnificent! Huge attention grabber! There is compelling intrigue and manipulation of a major banking company, owned by the wealthy Pilaster family in 19th century London. Hugh Pilaster fights to keep the love of his life and his position in society, which is at times both endearing and unsettling. Intriguing, exciting and interesting!Another huge winner!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 12, 2010

    A good "page turner" well woven plot and held my interest right to the last page.

    The charactures are well developed, and the interplay between them is well managed. An air of mystery set in the begining keeps the reader in a state of anticipation. A number of surprise turns take place keeping it fresh and holding your interest I like this author, and have read other books he has written.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    WOW

    FOLLETT NEVER DISAPPOINTS ! WHAT A GREAT STORY ! SURE TO BE AN ALL TIME FAVORITE

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2002

    Folletts Best

    I have read all of his books and find this account of a 19th century english clan engaging, very readable and possibly edging out his other wonderful stories. I wish, he would stay the course with further works, although, his latest books are far less sophisticated. If you have not read Ken Follett, start here.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2008

    Riveting Stuff

    Ken Follett is probably one of the most accomplished writers around today. A DANGEROUS FORTUNE might be classed as one of his best pieces. I certainly found it entertaining and can thoroughly recommend it.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2002

    Greatest Audiobook

    Dangerous Fortune is a great story with interacting plots and three dimensional characters, both villains and heroes. This is one of those "can't put it down" books.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2012

    Not his best work

    I really love Ken Follett and the historical fiction genre. Unfortunately this seemed more like what I would expect a romance novel to be than historical fiction. If you liked Pillars of the Earth, World Without End, Hornet Flight or Fall of Giants then I think you'll be disappointed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2012

    Disappointed

    I was disappointed as there was no suspense or "I can't wait to see what happens" feeling when I read it. C+.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Loved reading it - took longer that other books of Follet's - got bored a little - but continue reading - it gets better and better - and I loved it - thought about it for nights after I was done - worth reading!

    Great book - about - love, time, choices and consequence.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2010

    Read like a romance novel

    Set in the mid- to late 1800's, this story of wealth and power often read more like a bodice-ripper. I didn't find many surprises in the story line, and any plot "twists" were telegraphed well in advance.

    I was surprised at the number of graphical sexual passages. I'm not a prude, so the descriptions were not objectionable, but I thought that several were unnecessary and I was not sure why they were included. If I wanted to read about heaving bosoms and sexual passion, I would have chosen a different author.

    There were also a surprising number of typos in this ebook. I've only had a Nook for a month, so maybe that is typical of electronic books.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2010

    WOW

    I could seriously not put this book down. It was amazing. I would highly recommend it

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

    Excellent

    Great Read...Follett at his best

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2004

    predictable, but engaging

    As someone else wrote it was predictable, but I found it held my interest all the way through its more than 500 pages. I finished it in one weekend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 23, 2014

    Every time I think about this book, I think that I am rememberin

    Every time I think about this book, I think that I am remembering a movie. Follet uses such detail that I've created memorable scenes that stay with me. Worth the money and most certainly worth the read. Mr. Follett is a master storyteller and is able to weave several plots seamlessly together to form an amazing basket of goodness.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2014

    Not readable without a gag protector.

    Must be one of his earlier works...It is nothing more than a bodice ripper which is usually designed for late-teenage readers. For those of us whom "want meat with our potatoes"....well, we must feed elsewhere. This book is corny and awful!

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  • Posted June 6, 2014

    enjoyable

    Not a masterpiece, but certainly an enjoyable read. Ken Follett is a favorite of mine, and he seldom disappoints. His writing is always well crafted, without being pretentious.
    His grasp of the time line is well thought out. The Characters were predictable, and uncomplicated, but this should not turn anyone away from this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

    small offering from a big writer

    less than you would expect from follett
    cant care too much about the major characters

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