A Dangerous Fortune

A Dangerous Fortune

by Ken Follett

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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A breathtaking thriller featuring "political and amorous intrigues, cold-blooded murder, and financial crises" (San Francisco Chronicle), from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Column of Fire

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.
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

ISBN-13: 9780440217497
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/28/1994
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 57,746
Product dimensions: 4.16(w) x 6.86(h) x 1.22(d)

About the Author

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.


Hertfordshire, England

Date of Birth:

June 5, 1949

Place of Birth:

Cardiff, Wales


B.A. in Philosophy, University College, London, 1970

Read an Excerpt


Excerpted from "A Dangerous Fortune"
by .
Copyright © 1994 Ken Follett.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

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A Dangerous Fortune 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 494 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
rosies on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
my first Ken Follett and disappointed; unlikable characters; I didn't care what happened to anyone.
ElizChanLest on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is a wonderful page turner. It is both perfectly plotted, and contains rich and believable characters. I also found there to be an underlying humor to the book that tempered the darkness of some of the characters. Once I started it, I resented having to put it down, and finished it in nearly 24 hours.
santhony on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a quite unremarkable, moderately entertaining work of fiction set in late 19th century England. As with another of Follett's works, A Place Called Freedom, it has little to recommend it over dozens of other similar novels set in the period. The plot revolves around the Pilasters, a wealthy and contentious banking family, whose various branches struggle for control of the family business. Subplots involving a fictitious South American country and members of the British "underclass" bring some spice into the history. However, as with A Place Called Freedom, the most striking aspect of the novel is its utter predictability. Twists in the story become strikingly obvious scores of pages in advance. I would rate this novel slightly above the aforementioned A Place Called Freedom, but both pale in comparison to Follett's two novels Pillars of the Earth and World Without End. Readers familiar with those works will likely be disappointed with this effort.
mickmckeown on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Follett is fantastic in A Dangerous Fortune. The author introduces us to a family business and a couple of corrupt characters. As the reader you not only get to see the inner workings of the Victorian era banking house known as Pilaster's but you also get to see the making of a man in Hugh Pilaster. The book is fun, fast paced and if your a Follett fan then you will like this one. If you have never read Follett before this is a good book to start with. Enjoy!
JudyKenn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was like watching a soap-opera on BBC. Illegitimate children, loveless marriages, evil, scheming women and men, murders, white knights and bad girls with hearts of gold. All of this is in this book and more. It does go ON quite a bit and everything ties up neatly in the end. All in all, I'd say it was entertaining, but , after finishing it, I felt like I always do after eating an entire pan of brownies. Why in the world did I do that?
miyurose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved it. This was a nice change from the WWII era Follett that I've read. However, there's one thing that ties all of his books together for me ... his characters. They are always captivating and complex and interesting. The banking stuff is even written in a way that I can understand! The book covers 26 years in the life of a family, and in the end, the good and the bad both get what they're due ... just the way it should be!
DomingoSantos on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well-done and a captivating read. Unlike many authors, Follett knows how to write an ending that does not seem contrived, disjointed, forced, lacking in credulity, or otherwise disappointing.
birdsam0610 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book has the distinction of being the first book that I purchased and read on my Sony e-reader. The first thing I noticed was that the e-reader must condense the pages as there were less screens than the book copy of A Dangerous Fortune- a good thing in my opinion as Mr Follett tends to write chunky pageturners.A Dangerous Fortune is another one of those page turners, focusing on an English banking family, the Pilasters, in the late 1800s. There is Edward, the rich banking heir and Hugh, who has been disgraced due to the bankruptcy and suicide of his father. We meet these cousins at their boarding school, where a schoolmate has mysteriously drowned. Enter Edward¿s friend, Cordovan Micky Miranda and fellow Cordovian and Hugh¿s friend, Tonio. This event will plague them for the rest of their lives.The rest of the book is played out as a gripping family saga. There¿s the domineering mother, Augusta, who will stop at virtually nothing to see that Edward becomes senior partner of the bank and that Hugh¿s position is weakened. There¿s the villain in Micky (some of his exploits will blow you away) but there¿s the good friend of Hugh in Solly and Tonio. Maisie, whose life was changed when Hugh¿s father went bankrupt, will also have you cheering at her rags to riches story.Although this book is about banking, it¿s never boring. The Pilasters and friends never cease to be thinking about plotting the rise or fall of someone. The possible exception to this is Hugh, who is honest (sometimes too much) and hardworking. He is a central character as a lot of the plotting revolves around his success and failure.There is less focus on the history and more on the plot, which moves at a speedy pace. A great book to start ereading with!
flashflood42 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Prep school relationships between a Mexican boy and a rich society boy leads to murder, financial chicanery that goes on for years, sexual exploitation. The hero also was ruined by members of his greedy family but love and fortune ultimately prevail. We listened to the audio version while driving from Detroit to Maine with my daughter's 1 year old son and dog. It kept us going all three days!
beezle176 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
relentlessy suspenseful, sassy and unscrupulous characters
Dessss on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, it gives a great insight to London in the 1800s.
dmorrison on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My favorite Ken Follett book! After reading pillars of the earth, I really appreciated the detail he puts into his book. This one was set in a different time period, but still had lots of detail and really kept me engaged. An excellent book, I would recommend it to anyone!!
Othniel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I keep coming back to this book because of the connection between homophobia and crime which Follett develops in the relationships among Micky Mirnada, Augusta Pilaster (the family matriarch) and Edward Pilaster. I have always felt that Follett presents realistic characters, and this book is no exception.Follett is also a master at portraying the era whenever he writes historical fiction, and Dangerous Fortune does not disappoint in this regard.Dangerous Fortune is also a work I would call Economic Fiction and Follett does an excellent job of portraying the financial and banking industries of Victorian England.
Stensvaag on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Delightful novel. I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept me interested all the way through