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The Bottom of the Sky

The Bottom of the Sky

4.8 36
by William C. Pack

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The Bottom of the Sky is an aching rags-to-riches family saga that surges from rural squalor into the opulent power chambers of Wall Street and Silicon Valley. The story contrasts the 30-year struggles of an abused sister and brother who seek to reclaim themselves from their abhorrent past. One remains at home, trapped by desecration and addiction. The other escapes


The Bottom of the Sky is an aching rags-to-riches family saga that surges from rural squalor into the opulent power chambers of Wall Street and Silicon Valley. The story contrasts the 30-year struggles of an abused sister and brother who seek to reclaim themselves from their abhorrent past. One remains at home, trapped by desecration and addiction. The other escapes and uses uncanny genius and unrelenting ambition to amass staggering wealth.

Greed and betrayal power a tense plot involving the FBI, the SEC, and billions of dollars fleeced from brokerage customers and shareholders, while isolation and envy lead to deadly confrontations back home. It is a riveting tale of two disparate worlds joined by one desperate man and his ultimate redemption.

This poignant family journey watches dispossessed children become women and men, rising and buckling from their condemnable legacy, craving what they cannot have, loving who they must, hating what they cannot reconcile. The novel deals head on with childhood shame, promiscuity, prejudice and Wall Street's rape of Main Street. It is a tale of genius, madness, and violence; one of extraordinary sacrifice and discovery. It is a journey of hidden destiny.

The Bottom of the Sky is a debut novel written by a native Montanan and former senior executive of a Wall Street giant. It is taut and heart-wrenching...and sometimes funny. It is tender and raw and surprising until the shocking end.

Editorial Reviews

ForeWord Magazine
This is a well-told story of decay and doom. The prose is polished and smooth and the characters introspective . . . .The overwhelming aura of tragedy and the futility of the character's struggles make this story a painful if gripping read.
Lively Times
The fast-paced narrative runs the gamut of emotions, from raw to tender, as it careens to a shocking conclusion. Along the way, Pack gives the reader timely insight into the inner workings of the financial world, exposing greed, abuse of power and the fleecing of brokerage customers and shareholders.
Lee Newspapers
The Bottom of the Sky reads like a top-notch book from a well-seasoned author far into a career . . . .His strong development of characters and vivid use of landscape are evident from the opening lines of the prologue of the book . . . .We easily see Pack's characters as whole, though tormented, individuals with hopes, longings, temptations and deep, deep disappointments. And the settings come to life . . . .Pack's rich writing is made more so by his use of symbolism - not forced as in so many modern novels, but skillfully woven into the heart of the book . . . talk of the investment industry becomes an understandable and compelling journey into the corrupting power of money . . . .Pack brings it all together in a debut that deserves national attention.
—Chris Rubich

Product Details

Riverbend Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.70(d)

What People are Saying About This

Rosalie Maggio
I read this many-layered novel more slowly than any book in recent memory, partly to luxuriate in the rich use of language and sharp realization of character, and partly to delay my exit from the intricately wrought and curiously gripping worlds of Levi and Lam Monroe. Pack's skilled portrayal of the pain and secret thoughts of abused women is eerily perceptive, as though he knows things he could not know. A complete Wall Street outsider, I was fascinated by his accessible story of financial treachery—a story as timely as today's headlines. Most impressively, his luminous, tragic illustration of the quest for purpose, of heroism, of sacrifice reaches the Dickensesque. Pack's writing and his vision are nothing if not brilliant. I can't believe he's walking around like the rest of us. (Rosalie Maggio, bestselling author of more than 20 novels and nonfiction books)
Jim Gransbery
Bill Pack has written an intensely brutal novel about treachery - the internal treachery that permeates the contemporary financial services industry - it is now worse than the insider imagined - and the treason of extended familial sexual abuse. It is raw, but redemptive as Pack's protagonist Levi Monroe finds his final reward at The Bottom of the Sky. It's a good read; you'll recognize the landscape. (Jim Gransbery, former state editor for Lee Newspapers, Montana journalist)
Jodi Upton
It's (The Bottom of the Sky is) a timely story about Wall Street corruption, and how it mars everyone seduced by its plush light - even an honest man trying to stay sane in the House of Greed. While we cheer for Levi's rise from the sepia tones of the rural West, it's would only be a rags-to-riches story if Horatio Alger had devoted years to therapy: when the world finally breaks your way, is that really the point? Do we ever really leave those rags behind? (Jodi Upton, multiple national award-winning journalist)
Donald Shagrin
The Bottom of the Sky by Bill Pack is a compelling 30-year saga of a boy named after blue jeans, Levi, an impoverished, brilliant young man from a small town in Montana who dreams a rise to riches will deliver him from his degraded circumstances and injured soul. It is brilliantly written. We watch Levi's growth in business and in life, neither of which goes smoothly. I was drawn to his dilemma with the good and evil of Wall Street. The character is both beautiful and tragic in his journey to top management in the brokerage industry. (Donald Shagrin, retired former Group President, Citigroup Smith Barney)

Meet the Author

orn in a rural Montana coal and cow town, William C. (Bill) Pack grew up in an environment beset with all of the attendant difficulties. At 15 years old the courts emancipated him. At 16 he dropped out of high school. At 17 he married and at 18 he became a father. He worked variously as a truck driver, bartender, fry cook, and advertising salesman. When he was 21 he began a successful career as a broker with Merrill Lynch in Billings, Montana. A few years later he was divorced and broke.
With his brokerage license and GED, Bill transferred to Northern California where he rose to become the youngest Executive VP/Divisional Director at Smith Barney Shearson (later, Citigroup Smith Barney). His business and financial acumen became renowned. Bill ran a division managing many billions of dollars and met regularly with past and current chief executives of the largest financial firms in the world. He spoke to thousands of investment professionals and investors, shared podiums with CEOs, a presidential chief economic adviser, a governor, the executive director of the California Treasury's Debt Advisory Commission, and many other notables. Bill served a prestigious three-year appointment with the NASD (now FINRA), the S.E.C.'s partner in regulating Wall Street.
Along the way, through Menttium 100, Bill volunteered as a mentor for female executives at both Hewlett Packard and JPMorgan. He has worked at and financially supported many charities, most particularly women's and children's advocacy groups.
When Bill became seriously ill at 43, he quit the financial world to pursue lifelong goals. He took the SAT college entrance exams and earned acceptance into Stanford University where he became Stanford's lone undergraduate director for an archaeological project. He won the Annual Reviews Prize in Anthropological Sciences for his thesis and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. During college, Bill published a poem, and shortly afterward, his first short story. The Bottom of the Sky is his first novel.
Bill Pack is married with four grown children. When he's not in Montana, he lives in Northern California.
In addition to working on his next novel, he is a member of the Board of Directors for the Institute of the Americas. iamericas.org

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The Bottom of the Sky 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
TheonaMarshall More than 1 year ago
A spiral bound version of The Bottom of the Sky was passed to me by a friend in California who belongs to a library association and has met the author. She recommended it, claiming she read it in only two days. I gave the book a try, and I am stunned. The power, poignancy, and topicality of this raw work of art are so moving. My God. Where in the world has William Pack been? Who is this guy? His sense of tragedy and beauty are very rare indeed. I can't wait for the book's release so I can get my own copy. If you read this, Mr. Pack, come to Phoenix and sign my book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent novel! This book was the first choice of an online-face book book club. The discussions were deep and thoughtful. The story brings out a huge range of emotions to its readers. Men and woman both are captured by the story lines and stung by the incredible ending. Highly recommended by this reader. The book club anxiously awaits the next novel written by William Pack!
nom_de_Danny More than 1 year ago
This book could be tough for some at the beginning because of the abuse, but once past the first few pages, it's a page burner. More hooks than a snag line. The characters follow many paths, but it is all masterly held together by Bill Pack as he bounces us back and forth betweem the Big Sky country and the city by the Big Bay. No problem finding characters and situations to identify with. Whether it be the little bar in the Montana boon docks, the offices of a large brokerage house, the young couples bedroom or big bosses back office, the reader gets to share it all, and gain a Wall Street education at the sametime. The ending to this book will stay with me forever, I'm going to have to read it again, to see what I missed the first to-fast time through.
Dovermt More than 1 year ago
Mr. Pack has written real characters. You think they are the people down the street. There are tough issues dealt with in this book. He deals with those issues in a realistic manner and really understands life in a small town, such as Roundup MT. Wow! I am recommending this book to my friends. I can't wait for Pack's next book.
FgoND More than 1 year ago
If I wake up in the middle of the night and I can't get back to sleep, I usually read. This was a big mistake with The Bottom of the Sky. I like to read something that I can put down after 20 to 30 minutes. I found myself reading for 2 hours or more. There hasn't been a book that has done this since the The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett The Bottom of the Sky shows the underbelly of the securities business as well as the fact there are good people trying to do the right thing. Unfortunately, the better story rests with the former. William Pack knows this business. In fact, if you want to understand the sub-prime market, he explains it in one paragraph. He understands the problem of a dysfunctional family and growing up in a very rural setting. I believe there is a lot more truth than fiction in this novel. Even his disclaimer might lead you in this direction. "Make no mistake, this is a hard story. Know that absolutely all characters and events depicted in The Bottom of the Sky are purely fictional. Any resemblance to persons or events in the real world is unintended and coincidental. Seriously." And, the ending you will not see coming. We need more from Mr. Pack.
tchestnut More than 1 year ago
Mr. Pack's story shines a light on a part of life where no one dares look. But, then he takes the reader to a place he never thought to look, and the underbelly there is even more wretched than the first. However, Mr. Pack does it with style and grace that the craft of writing disappears and unvarnished truth comes forward. One could be tempted to jump ahead and see where the story is going, but don't, because you'll just be going back to read what you missed. Every little piece of the puzzle builds on the last, until the main character, Levi, can come to no other conclusion. Without fear there is no courage, without sacrifice there is no love. Read the book and you'll understand what I mean.
dly More than 1 year ago
Not only does Mr. Pack adeptly describe greed, corruption, and betrayal on many different levels, he gives us insight into what makes a person do the things he does. Mr. Pack's characters are people that you are sure you know personally. They are so very human - you love them at one point, then you get to the next chapter and you want to clobber them! So true of real life. This was a fantastic read that I am recommending to everyone I know. It is so thought provoking - a real conversation starter. I am anxiously anticipating Mr. Pack's next book.
Suzzy_Canny More than 1 year ago
This is truely a book to touch the soul. I know this abuse thing first hand. This is the best description of abused children and thier struggle for self that I've ever read. The father is perfectly drawn abuser. Levi is so pefectly flawed that you can't help but pull for him as he tries to grow and change. Lam is beyond a doubt real and could be living next. I'm so glad that the author was able to put all this together. I'm sure it will make a difference. There are such great characters I can't help but compare them to Dickens characters. The evil wallstreet guy and his wicked human resources person are palpable. Lily has such integrity that I wanted her to be my friend. The finance information filled in so many gaps as a character it lived in the news and in the air. Great work. Can't wait to read the next book!
DonLaLone More than 1 year ago
I mostly read non-fiction historical works but was introduced to the author and purchased the book. The story line was well produced and kept my attention thru the first to the last page. I have extensive knowledge of wall street workings and the auther did an outstanding job of portraying that theme. My acceptance of a book worth reading is how my interest level is maintained. This work achieved that criteria very well and I enjoyed this experience a great deal. I am recommeding it to my friends.
BorninBozeman More than 1 year ago
The Bottom of the Sky is one of the best novels I have read. The author has a rare ability to draw the reader onto the story to feel like he / she is experiencing, first hand, the implications of poverty and abuse as well as the frustration of corporate politics. The topic of corruption in the financial industry is timely but never expressed so clearly. The characters come to life in this book like no other I have read previously. Not only could I not set this book down but I know I will get even more out of it with subsequent readings. I want more from this author.
DCampbell More than 1 year ago
A gripping story of life in the slow and fast lanes ... rural Montana and Wall Street. A compelling revelation of abuse in all its forms in both worlds. Details are woven together with perfect readability. Pack's ability to take you deep into the story and create characters you will cry for will keep you up until you finish it. With all the drama it is also an accurate depiction of our times... stunning,alarming and enough to make you pound a fist on the table just to think about it. I am recommending it to all my friends and family. A wonderful read that leaves one with plenty to think and talk about.
Shannon_Evans More than 1 year ago
I too, like William Pack, grew up in a small town and actually had the pleasure of briefly working with Mr. Pack as the V.P. Operations Manager at Smith Barney. In the Bottom of the Sky, you will form a bond with Lam and Levi right from the beginning, be enthralled with suspense throughout the story, then finding yourself missing them as if they are old friends when you're finished. Mr. Pack's interpretation of the underbelly of Wall Street is dead on and mirrors many of my experiences. I hope we will be hearing a lot more from Mr. Pack. Bill if you read this. I am so proud of you!
Baby_Cakes More than 1 year ago
I am shocked that there's a writer of this caliber out there who is relatively unknown. He's well-known in the financial circles but not the literary ones - YET. A page-turner that I couldn't put down - even had to cancel an appointment because I was so wrapped up in this 3 generation saga. His characters jump off the page. And you recognize those scheming corporate types - every company has one. This is the perfect book if you want an easy explanation as to how this country got into the financial mess it's in. It's takes an insider with a front row seat to understand and then explain the backroom shenanigans that ran amok in the brokerages and banks - how they steal people's money, and Pack does this with some of the most beautiful rich prose I've ever read. There's no one I can think of to compare him to - he's the best. Pay attention when you read this book. He drops cookies and crumbs all the way through; there's symbolism, allegories, hints, and clues. These lines are key: "You think a family means more than people in it? Or the other way around?" Geno didn't say. "If one might kill the other one, which one would you save, Geno?"
bookworm199517 More than 1 year ago
As a survivor of an abusive relationship, this was a difficult book to read - but I couldn't put it down. It's one of those books that stays with you for weeks. I found it helpful in reminding me how strong I am, and how strong and brave all women are that stand up to abuse. The other layers of the story are fascinating - Wall Street, the world of big money and of course, Silicon Valley!
MarionDS More than 1 year ago
Hard to believe this is his first book. Can't wait to read more. Hope he keeps going with the story. It was hard to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved every line of this book! I was captured from the beginning and could not put this book down. The details, the raw emotions, the gut wrenching trials and tribulations of the main characters leave you wanting to know what is going to happen on the next page. The life from the big city back to Big Sky country hits home and I tell everyone I know to read this book. There is so much that can be learned by this story. Honesty, integrity, deception, lies, finding the truth about oneself are all hidden in these pages. I recommend getting this book if you have never had the opportunity to read it. Kerry J Schultz.
StefiH More than 1 year ago
This has been my first fiction book in over 5 years or so. I’ve been focused way too much on business reading and this book was the perfect book to draw me back into fiction. I began reading “The Bottom of the Sky” few days before our family vacation this year. With all the trip preparation and children summer activities it was hard to find the time to detach myself and enjoy a good read. Well, the plane ride was the perfect opportunity, and after reading 4 straight hours it was hard for me to put it down. Needless to say, I’ve finished the book in the first 2 days of our vacation, late at night after everyone was asleep. The flow of the story is very engaging and always had me want more, to read just one more chapter before I put it down for the day. I will highlight what I think makes this book unique and a good read for me - its characters and their struggle, and the fact that you can associate yourself with the characters. From my own experience I can say that the book presents a very informative view of the financial services industry as well as of the corporate lifestyle. There is definitely a 70’s influence, or at least what I’ve heard of the 70’s generation.  Levi, the main character, is very driven, knows what he wants and always has his eyes on the next thing. While reading the book, I found myself reflecting on what truly fuels Levi’s drive in that particular scene. Is it innate or is it triggered by the need to detach himself from his roots, fueled by the fear of being “one of them”.  Levi seems to be the drive we all have.  Angela is sweet, loving and dedicated. She truly embodies the spouse who supports her partner. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying: “ Behind each prolific leader there is even a stronger spouse” or something along this line. This is who Angela is; she is Levi’s North Pole, his compass in life, family and career.  Lam is the opposite of Levi, she does not fight the flow, she goes with the flow. She believes that she deserves what is happening to her and going through it all makes her stronger only if she no longer feels anything. Those who truly care for Lam become Lam’s protector - well almost everyone.  I enjoyed every bit of this book, from the story line, to the family dynamics, and getting trapped into the raw emotions captured by Bill Pack on behalf of his characters! Looking forward to the next Bill Pack book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mr Pack did a superb job in writing this book.I typically don't read these type of novels, but being from Montana I picked it up. I read it in 3 days! It was intersting, sad, happy, ugly and beautiful! Looking forward to his next novel!
tesswCA More than 1 year ago
I read a lot, late at night when everyone is asleep. If you are like me, DO NOT read this book if you want to fall asleep reading! Great story and one of my new favorite authors. Well written and just generally a nice read for those of us who like a "story". Worth knowing that the author donates 100 per cent of the profits to charities that help victims of abuse. Can't wait for the next book.
CMCASE More than 1 year ago
I had the opportunity to go to a book signing in Scottsdale Arizona and talk with William Pack about his book. To be brief, I said. Never have I read a book that put me right there in their world, I could see their faces, hear their voices and feel their pain. It took me away from my world and placed me in theirs. I most definitely am going to reread it and enjoy every eloquent word Mr. Pack has written. I highly recommend! Cannot wait for the next one!
LitAfficionado More than 1 year ago
WOW! William Pack makes the characters and the venues spot-on real. He makes them unforgettable, but no more unforgettable than this story. If you want to be moved, this is a 9.0 on the richter scale. If you want to find out how people misuse their power and what true heroism is, this is your book. You'll reread it, just as I did.
KenFromDen More than 1 year ago
Oh my gosh! I was totally blown away throughout this novel. The writing is so beautiful and the reading of it was wonderful. I laughed out loud, I cried, I got angry. I loved this audio so much that I bought the hardcover, and I loved it even more! I can't wait until William Pack writes another.
ElizabethInSF More than 1 year ago
I have been so moved by such a beautiful novel only two or three times in my life. I was transported, owned by the story. Pack's writing is flawless. The story is so powerful that now, even weeks after reading it, I cannot let the characters go. Bravo, Mr. Pack. Bravo!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are interested in reading a book that will keep you spellbound from the first page to the last then this is the book for you. Characters in the book are fully developed and you find yourself invested in their outcome. The story itself is true to life.
Rita_in_WA More than 1 year ago
Fantastic -- all the way to the very last page! Now that I've finished, I'm going to read the first part again. The book held my interest all the way through; anyone who cares about the stock market will especially enjoy it. On a side note, I was raised in Roundup, MT -- so this book was of particular interest to me, since that is where the Monroe family in the book lives.