The Prince of Risk

( 12 )


At the crossroads of high finance and international terrorism, a New York hedge-fund manager searches for the truth behind his father’s murder.

The master of the financial thriller returns.

“Christopher Reich is a superstar.”—Lee Child

Bobby Astor is a fearless New York hedge-fund gunslinger on the verge of making his biggest killing ever. But everything changes when his father, the venerable chief executive ...

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The Prince of Risk: A Novel

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At the crossroads of high finance and international terrorism, a New York hedge-fund manager searches for the truth behind his father’s murder.

The master of the financial thriller returns.

“Christopher Reich is a superstar.”—Lee Child

Bobby Astor is a fearless New York hedge-fund gunslinger on the verge of making his biggest killing ever. But everything changes when his father, the venerable chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange, is murdered along with the head of the Federal Reserve in a brazen, inexplicable attack on the South Lawn of the White House. In the moments before his death, Astor’s father sends Bobby a mystifying text message . . . a single word that Bobby soon realizes offers the only clue to the identity of his father’s killer and the terrifying motivation behind the attack.
     As Bobby unravels the mystery behind his father’s death, he crosses paths with his ex-wife, no-nonsense Special Agent Alex Forza of the FBI, who is hot on the trail of a band of elite international terrorists intent on infiltrating New York City. All the while, Bobby must fight to hold together his increasingly risky business deal. At stake is not only the survival of his company and a colossal fortune . . . but also a sophisticated foreign conspiracy that threatens the entire financial system of the United States.
     The Prince of Risk is Christopher Reich’s most prescient, suspenseful, and entertaining thriller, a novel that anticipates the headlines of the near future and shows, once again, why The New York Times calls Reich “the John Grisham of Wall Street.”

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The newest financial thriller from the best-selling author Reich (Rules of Betrayal) brings espionage to the New York Stock Exchange. Bewildered by a text message that was sent to him by his estranged father right before his sudden death, Bobby, head of the investment firm Comstock Partners, launches an investigation which entangles him in a conspiracy plot against an unknown U.S. target. Meanwhile, Bobby's ex-wife Alex, a supervisory special agent and head of CT-26, finds an investigation of an arms smuggler in Long Island leading her into the very same conspiracy. The story is propelled forward by short, fast-paced chapters which keep the reader's eyes glued to the page. Reich is akin to Dan Brown in that he has an everyman hero uncover an extravagant conspiracy. But unlike Brown, who weaves art history lessons into his narratives, Reich includes financial tutorials instead, which are much less interesting and harder to follow. Fortunately, the story is still enjoyable whether or not one understands the exact monetary stakes at play. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
The Prince of Risk is a terrific thriller, written by a guy who knows what he's doing. Check it out. I think you'll love it.
—Steve Berry

"The Prince of Risk will knock your socks off.  Christopher Reich seamlessly weaves the high-stakes world of hedge funds and international terrorism into a frightening, big-time thriller that pulls you into his world and rockets ahead like a runaway train.  Reich knows how to deliver, and does."
—Robert Crais

"At the moment I'm reading a great new financial thriller by Christopher Reich, The Prince of Risk. One thing Doug [Preston] and I love to do in our books is come up with scary but credible near-future scenarios—and crafting just such scenarios is a talent Reich has in spades.
—Lincoln Child

Critical Raves for NUMBERED ACCOUNT:
“A smart and sophisticated thriller.”
The New York Times
“Breakneck speed.”
The Wall Street Journal
“Tension crackles like crisp new banknotes.”
“A brilliant thriller.”
– James Patterson
“Taut, sophisticated….The inner sanctum of Swiss banking.”
– Nelson DeMille
Chicago Tribune

Kirkus Reviews
A hedge fund chief and his ex-wife, an FBI supervisory agent, work at odds to solve the murders of his father and her colleagues and prevent the meltdown of the world's capital markets to boot. Whatever malfeasance Edward Astor, chief executive of the New York Stock Exchange, and his friends, Charles Hughes, chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Treasury Secretary Martin Gelman, unearthed must have been a doozy. As they approach the White House to rouse the president from sleep and alert him to the peril, an unseen power takes control of their car and causes it to drive so recklessly that the Secret Service shoots it up, leaving them all dead. They're followed in short order by three of Astor's ex-wife Alex Forza's fellow FBI agents when the agents pursue a tip to a Queens apartment and learn the hard way that an observant neighbor did indeed see cartons of automatic weapons coming into the place. Now it's up to Astor's son Bobby, who's never been close to his father, and Alex, who hasn't been close to Bobby for years, to avenge the murders. Even though Bobby and Alex are both obsessed with their separate cases, they have no idea how closely they're intertwined. And most readers will be scratching their heads as well, wondering how a plot to ruin Bobby by manipulating the value of the Chinese yuan and cripple the New York Stock Exchange through "industrial espionage as state-sponsored covert policy" might be connected to the 30 cells of well-trained mercenaries who've sneaked into the country in a fine flourish of mayhem overkill. Have no fear. Reich (Rules of Betrayal, 2010, etc.) supplies plenty of code-named acronyms and villains, a high body count, patient explanations of arcane financial transactions and regulations, and a heroine who prays to J. Edgar Hoover. How could the exchange, the nation and the free world possibly be in better hands?
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385535069
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/3/2013
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 805,613
  • Product dimensions: 6.56 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 1.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Reich

CHRISTOPHER REICH is the New York Times bestselling author of Numbered Account, Rules of Deception, Rules of Vengeance, Rules of Betrayal, The Devil's Banker, and many other thrillers. His novel The Patriots Club won the International Thriller Writers award for Best Novel in 2006. He lives in Encinitas, California.

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Read an Excerpt



Bobby Astor curled his toes over the lip of the chimney and looked down at the pool 20 feet below. It was a big pool with plenty of room to land. Even so, his knees were shaking and it required his last measure of courage to stand up straight. The problem wasn’t just the height. It was the leap. He had to carry a good 6 feet of flagstone to make it to the water. Call it 8 feet to the safety zone. Anything shy and he’d get a mouthful of cement.

It was not the smartest bet he’d ever accepted.

“Two mil,” came another voice. “You can do it!”

“Come on, Bobby. We don’t have all night.”

The $2 million wasn’t a bet exactly, but more like a pledge. All Astor had to do was jump from the chimney into the pool and the money would go to charity. Last year he had brought in a million seven walking across a bed of hot coals. The year before he’d parachuted out of a chopper onto the beach. It dawned on him that the stunts were growing increasingly dangerous. It might be better to skip next year altogether and just write a check.

“Hold your horses,” said Astor, with a bravado he had no right to claim. “Let me enjoy the view.”

Afternoon thundershowers had left the sky clear. Stars glittered across the evening canopy. Up the coast, the lights of Amagansett on the eastern shore of Long Island glowed invitingly. Closer, the breakers fizzed like seltzer on the black sea. Along Further Lane, his neighbors’ homes were dark.

Astor steadied himself and studied the water. It was midnight and the pool lights were on, and the water had that spooky aquamarine translucence he’d marveled at off the coast of Phuket and in the ocean grottoes beneath the cliffs of Capri. Twenty feet didn’t sound like much, but when you were perched on a piece of rock the size of a phone book, it was high enough. The wise, cautious part of him urged him to bend down, take hold of the brick, and lower himself onto the roof. He couldn’t, of course. There was the bet. And there was the other thing. The other thing was his pride. Bobby Astor always kept his word.

“Come on, Bobby! Don’t be a pussy! Jump!”

“Here, kitty, kitty!”

Astor raised a hand above his head to show that he was ready. At forty-one, he was lean and fit and stood a few inches under six feet. At prep school and college, he’d played football and lacrosse and earned the nickname “the Hammer” because of the crushing hits he laid on his opponents. He still had an athlete’s build: broad shoulders, flat stomach, muscled legs. He also had an athlete’s knees, with long, ugly scars crisscrossing both, evidence of the nearly dozen operations he’d undergone.

His hair was dark and short and receding faster than the polar ice cap. His eyes were brown and serious, keen to meet life’s challenges. His smile could win over his bitterest rival. His scowl meant war. If anything, he was too thin. Over the past month he’d lost ten pounds, and his board shorts hung low on his hips. He never ate when he had a big bet on the market.

Someone turned off the music and the guests quieted. Two hundred sweaty, sun-reddened faces peered up at him. He looked among them, counting his friends. He stopped at three, then cut the number to two. His enemies were more numerous, and easier to spot. But it was the weekend, and hostilities were suspended until the market opened in the morning. Until then, he’d consider them his business associates like the rest, men and women he worked with on the Street. Brokers, traders, fund managers, salesmen, and, of course, his employees. Good people for the most part. Hardworking, intelligent, nearly honest.

It was July 28, and the seventh annual Comstock Clambake was lurching to a loud, boozy halt. Comstock came from Comstock Partners, Astor’s company, and Comstock Partners was an investment firm that managed a little more than $5 billion of very wealthy people’s money. More commonly, it was referred to as a hedge fund.

As always, the clambake was a ritzy affair. There were clams, of course, but also lobster, sushi, Wagyu beef, and so on and so forth. There was an open bar and bottle service and plenty of servers wandering around the patio to make certain everyone got their fill. The band had stopped an hour earlier, and a DJ from one of the trendier clubs in the city was on until midnight. To cap things off, every guest received a gift in parting—a Gucci handbag for the ladies and an engraved Dunhill lighter for the men.

All in all, the clambake ran to a cool half million. Astor had been poor enough once to know the value of every one of those greenbacks. Though born to money, he’d had the silver spoon yanked out of his mouth when he was sixteen. What he’d called pride, his father had called defiance. Astor decided he liked his definition better. The decision left him an emancipated minor living on his own. Not exactly penniless, but as close as he ever wanted to come.

Astor lived in another world now. In this world, parties cost $500,000 and guests received ungodly expensive purses for showing up. He knew it was crazy and he scolded himself for buying into the entire scene. But in the end, buy he did. And as with everything he committed to, he did it in a big way. The Astor way. He knew enough about luck and risk and the wicked whim of fate to feel privileged to be able to pony up and pay.

Anyway, it had been a good year.

“Come on, Bobby! You da man!”


“He’ll never do it,” shouted a Brooklyn-born voice. “All talk and no show.” It was Marv Shank, Comstock’s vice chairman and head trader, and until that outburst Astor’s best friend.

“Says you,” called Astor. “You’re coming up here next.”

“Not in a million years,” said Shank, waving him off amid a flurry of expletives.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” said Astor. “Your attention. As most of you know, it’s our tradition at the clambake to give back a little of the good fortune we who work in this industry have been so lucky to have. A few years back, Marv convinced me that instead of just asking, I ought to do something crazy to help convince you to donate your hard-earned money to an organization I started, Helping Hands, which does a great job with kids in our fine city who didn’t get the fairest shake in life. This year I’m pleased to announce that you nice folks have come up with a cool two million dollars, which I will happily make you pay if and when I gather the courage to jump.”

“You can do it, Bobby,” shouted a woman.

“So,” Astor continued, “before I give this a shot, I just want to say thank you for coming out and making this night special for me—and for the kids. Drum roll, please.”

It was then that a gust blew in off the ocean. Umbrellas swayed on the deck. A woman shrieked as her cap skittered across the flagstones and into the pool. The wind hit Astor like a baseball bat. One foot lifted off the chimney, and for a moment he swayed perilously. He threw his arms out for balance. Teetering, he landed a heel on a barb protruding from the ember grate. He bit his lip, burying a yelp, then quickly waved to show everyone he was all right. He even managed a smile. A smattering of applause broke out. Someone whistled, and with a bold step he retook his position at the edge of the chimney.

Marv Shank glared at him from the far side of the pool. He was a short, barrel-chested man, a grind in the office and out, argumentative by default. He was as white as a ghost, and his pale stomach bulged obscenely over the waistline of his madras shorts. Shank shook his head, and Astor could read his mind: one more dangerous situation the boss had gotten himself into.

Because, of course, it hadn’t been Shank’s idea to do the stunt each year.

It had been Astor’s.

Shank cupped hands to his mouth and shouted, “Swan dive!”

“Not a chance!” Astor shook his head furiously, and Shank repeated his demand.

A current of excitement rolled across the crowd.

Astor let it build. Shank’s request was no random demand. When it came to Helping Hands, Astor was zealous in his efforts to separate his guests’ money from their wallets. “How much you give me?”

“Twenty grand,” said Shank.

“Make it fifty.”


“Deal,” said Astor. “Any other takers?” He called out a few of his wealthier guests and they graciously agreed to chip in, taking the total to $2,250,000.

Shank turned to his fellow guests and raised his arms in the air, exhorting them to join him. In a moment the entire crowd was chanting, “Dive! Dive!”

Over the heads of his guests, Astor caught a pair of headlights turning onto Further Lane a half mile up the road. It wasn’t a BMW or a Mercedes or even a Lexus. The car had its brights illuminated and was moving fast. He followed it up the road until he recognized it as a Dodge Charger. Black. He knew the car’s stats by heart: 5.7 liter V8 Hemi engine. Dual Flowmaster exhausts. Eibach shocks. This one even came with an assault shotgun under the driver’s seat, a 3,000-lumen floodlight, and a light stick of red and blue strobes.

What was she doing out here at this time of night?

“Dive! Dive!”

Astor squared his shoulders and raised his chin. He knew it was too far, and that if he had any brains at all, he’d jump feet first and take his lumps afterward.

But that was out of the question. A bet was a bet.

And after all, Bobby Astor was invincible.

He dove.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 12 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    An absolutely must read

    I have read all of Chris Reich's books and by
    far this has to be his best. A great blend of action,
    suspense and intrigue. The idea of another
    Government controlling our economy coupled
    with the greed of some high ranking government
    officials of our own,wow! Add to that a terrorist
    plot and attack blended in and brought together
    another, wow!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2013

    I absolutely love Reich's books, so was very happy to finally ge

    I absolutely love Reich's books, so was very happy to finally get to read a new one of his. I was not disappointed. I could not put it down. It was a true page turner. The mix between the financial world in the book and criminal world are great. You always wondered when the two would collide. I recommend to anyone who wants a great book to read as you don't have to have a financial understanding to follow along the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2013

    This book is as good as any A list writer out there. The book is

    This book is as good as any A list writer out there. The book is very timely as it describes nation states using the Internet to spy and manipulate computers at will. The frightening thing about this is that the mechanisms Reich reveals as the book moves along are very, very plausible. You don't find out just how devious it all is until the protagonist finds out about it all later on in the book. Very well researched, it also accurately depicts how hedge funds run, giving the reader an understandable peek into the inner workings of high finance Wall Street. Finally, it is a true page turner, hard to put down. Very well written. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 30, 2014

    Just finished "Numbered Account" WOW, it's great!!!

    Just finished "Numbered Account" WOW, it's great!!! Can't wait to read other books by Christopher Reich.

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  • Posted January 25, 2014

    The Prince of Risk by Christopher Reich I wholeheartedly reco

    The Prince of Risk by Christopher Reich

    I wholeheartedly recommend this book. Its main plot is the attempted Chinese takeover and destruction of America through computers. While the Wall Street-based events are realistic and fascinating, financial experience is not a prerequisite to enjoying this “roller coast of a ride” story. Woven around the main storyline of the evil-intended Chinese are the risk taker’s relationships: his Wall Street tycoon dad, his ex-wife FBI terrorism specialist, his daughter, and his business associates including his Gordon Gekko-like dealings with co-workers, clients, and the press. This is a very thrilling read with old world mobster murder of all who stand in the way of the Chinese.

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  • Posted December 27, 2013

    Not of a quality of "Numbered Account"

    Very loosely plotted, and casually written. Numerous improbable sequences of events. The characters are cardboard.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2013


    Fast paced, keeps you guessing

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