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A Dangerous Fortune

A Dangerous Fortune

3.9 478
by Ken Follett

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In 1866, tragedy strikes the exclusive Windfield School when a young student drowns in a mysterious accident. His death and its aftermath initiate a spiraling circle of treachery that will span three decades and entwine many lives.
From the exclusive men’s clubs and brothels that cater to every dark desire of London’s upper class to the


In 1866, tragedy strikes the exclusive Windfield School when a young student drowns in a mysterious accident. His death and its aftermath initiate a spiraling circle of treachery that will span three decades and entwine many lives.
From the exclusive men’s clubs and brothels that cater to every dark desire of London’s upper class to the dazzling ballrooms and mahogany-paneled suites of the manipulators of the world’s wealth, one family is splintered by a shared legacy. But greed, fed by the shocking truth of a boy’s death, must be stopped, or the dreams of a nation will die.

From the Paperback edition.

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
Emily Melton
Follett's new novel isn't an espionage thriller; it's a historical melodrama with more than a little romance. But the author's fans shouldn't worry; they won't be able to put it down any easier than they could any of those spy sagas. The story is set in late-nineteenth-century Britain and tells of four boys involved in a brutal crime during their days at boarding school. Mickey Miranda, the cruel, slick, flamboyant son of a cold-hearted, hot-headed South American politician, has one overriding ambition: to make his papa respect him. Edward Pilaster, the weak, stupid, and easily led son of a respected banking family, has a taste for good booze and good times. Hugh Pilaster, Edward's cousin, is ambitious and principled, but his father's bankruptcy and suicide have left scars that may never heal. Antonio Silva is a compatriot of Mickey Miranda, but his family is less influential, and Tonio always takes a back seat to the flashier Mickey. Follett's story follows the four as they become adults, with their lives taking, as expected, quite divergent paths. But the four are always linked by the terrible secret they share from their school days, a secret that has the power to destroy them all. While many authors fail miserably when they ignore the old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," Follett is one of those rare exceptions who seems destined to succeed no matter what he chooses to write about. In this case, an authentic sense of history, a wonderfully complex and fascinating plot, mesmerizing characters, and a thoroughly entertaining story practically guarantee that A Dangerous Fortune will head to the top of the best-seller lists.
From the Publisher
Praise for A Dangerous Fortune

"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

"Follett [builds] to a dramatic climax with the same masterful control that guided Eye of the Needle and The Pillars of the Earth." —Playboy

"I don't usually enjoy historical thrillers but admit to being totally captivated by Ken Follett's A Dangerous Fortune." —Chicago Tribune

"Highly entertaining . . . Follett's characters are drawn with broad, realistic strokes . . . this story of greed and retribution should win Follett new fans." —Publishers Weekly 

"Rich, complex, thrilling, suspenseful, well plotted . . . A Dangerous Fortune is dangerous reading. You won't be able to put it down." —Authors and Critics 

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
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Random House
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3 MB

Meet the Author

Ken Follett burst into the book world with Eye of the Needle, an award-winning thriller and international bestseller. After several more successful thrillers, he surprised everyone with The Pillars of the Earth and its long-awaited sequel, World Without End, a national and international bestseller. Follett’s new, magnificent historical epic, the Century Trilogy, includes the bestselling Fall of GiantsWinter of the World, and Edge of Eternity. He lives in England with his wife, Barbara.

From the Paperback edition.

Brief Biography

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

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A Dangerous Fortune 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 478 reviews.
Anatole_France More than 1 year ago
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.
poppopRS More than 1 year ago
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 !!
-JACKI- More than 1 year ago
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!
IamBillReader More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book took me through different emotions. I've read 5 of his books and this has got to be the best one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
OjaiLarry More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book - about - love, time, choices and consequence.
MISS_READ_IT More than 1 year ago
Anonymous 9 months ago
Anonymous 12 months ago
I have enjoyed this author since first reading The Pillars of the Earth, World Without End, and especially The Century Trilogy. This story was page turning and character driven, rather than events driven. I enjoy the author's strong character development and this story did not disappoint in that respect. What I did find difficult at times was following the threads of the main story line of the murder of Peter Middleton.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Non stop turn of events from beginning to end. I could not put down the book , definitely one of the best Follett books I've read!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well told -great finish
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Divanity4u More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
readerpersonSR More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
less than you would expect from follett cant care too much about the major characters
Anonymous More than 1 year ago