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A Dangerous Fortune [Unabridged] [Paperback]

Ken Follett
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (256 customer reviews)

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Book Description

19 Feb 1999
By the 1860s, the Pilasters are one of the world's greatest banking families, with connections that reach from the City of London to far-afield colonies. However, as the family grow ever richer in the shadow of oppression and tragedy, their very future is threatened - by the self-same ambition and greed that first earned them their fortune. 'A full-blooded melodrama, complete with moustache-twirling villains, saintly heroes, wronged women, and a lot of plot' Irish Times 'Banks, brothels, and a high body count . . . it's all there' Financial Times 'A compulsively readable, enjoyable thriller-cum-saga' Sunday Times


Product details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Unabridged edition (19 Feb 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330332651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330332651
  • Product Dimensions: 30 x 3 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (256 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 276,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ken Follett was only twenty-seven when he wrote the award-winning EYE OF THE NEEDLE, which became an international bestseller. His celebrated PILLARS OF THE EARTH was voted into the top 100 of Britain's best-loved books in the BBC's the Big Read and the sequel, WORLD WITHOUT END, was published to critical acclaim. He lives with his family in London and Hertfordshire.

Product Description

Review

"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". --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

A great family of merchant bankers, infected by the poison of ambition and greed. For the Pilasters, sex and love are weapons in a war for power and wealth. One explosive secret becomes the weak link that can bring down a dynasty. In 1866, tragedy strikes at an exclusive public school. A pupil drowns in a mysterious accident involving several boys. Among them ate young High Pilaster; his 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 spiralling circle of treachery that will last three decades and entwine many lives... Spanning the years when an empire tightens its grip on a faraway world and revolution begets a tide of violent change, A Dangerous Fortune portrays a family bound inexorably by a shared legacy, and brings us men and women swept towards a perilous climax where greed, fed by the shocking truth of a boy’s death, must be stopped – otherwise not just one man’s dreams, but those of a nation, will die. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
144 of 149 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A RIVETING WORK OF FICTION... 13 Jan 2003
By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
The author, a masterful storyteller, weaves an intriguing and mesmerizing tapestry of events that surround the wealthy Pilaster banking family in the latter part of nineteenth century England. Its panoramic sweep will hold the reader in its thrall. This complex story tells of the ebb and flow of their personal fortunes and the personalities that are to profoundly affect them, for better or worse.

Augusta Pilaster is the scheming, socially conscious, self-appointed matriarch of the family. She is a woman who will stop at nothing to ensure that her reckless and easily manipulated husband, Joseph, and their indolent, dissolute, and lackluster son, Edward, will get and retain control of the Pilaster banking enterprise. Her Machiavellian machinations, however, will eventually trigger the downfall of the family's fortune.
Hugh Pilaster, Augusta's nephew by marriage, is the Pilaster who has the brains and work ethic to take the Pilaster banking fortunes to a new level. His Achilles heel is that he seems destined to be attracted to working class women, a chink in his armor that Augusta Pilaster uses to her and her immediate family's advantage. He, too, is Augusta Pilaster's unwitting pawn, until the day of reckoning comes.
Micky Miranda is the romantically handsome scion of a South American despot. Micky attended an exclusive school with Edward and Hugh Pilaster, when they were young. While there, tragedy struck when a mysterious swimming accident took the lives of one of their friends, an event that was to shadow their lives in ways no one could have imagined. Micky Miranda would eventually enter into a web of complicity with Augusta Pilaster that would impact on the fortunes of both the Miranda and Pilaster families.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On par with Pillars 14 Mar 2008
Format:Paperback
Loved this book. Ken did such a good job with Pillars, that I was really looking forward to getting into another of his Epic tales.

I was dissapointed when I realised I was getting close to the end of this one. I could have read about these characters forever !!!

Seriously though, I suggest you have a read of this. And... if you havent read Ken before, you should also check out The Pillars of the Earth.

Well done Ken... give us another !!!
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite silly but entertaining nonetheless! 11 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
' A Dangerous Fortune' tells the story of Hugh Pilaster and his family - bankers and influential people-from his days as a schoolboy and the mysterious death of Peter Middleton, a schoolfellow- a death in which Hugh's cousin Edward might well be implicated- to the family bank's collapse some twenty years later.It is full of intrigue, love, murder, plots, blood... It is highly nonsensical most of the time. All the characters are either villains of the deepest hue or near saintly goodies. Implausible turns and twists abound and credibility is stretched to the maximum , so stretched in fact you can hear it snap quite a few times. But it is nonetheless entertaining. I've been so disappointed in what I've read lately that ' A Dangerous Fortune', in spite of all its flaws, was like a bit of unpretentious fresh air. It amused me a lot and I kept reading because I wanted to know what would happen next rather than because I wanted to throw the book away. I must say that Ken Follett didn't waste any subtlety on this one. Aunt Augusta for example, who manages to manipulate everybody, doesn't have too difficult a time plotting and planning. A few well chosen sentences and everybody does her bidding. You don't believe in it one moment but funnily enough it never annoyed me. And it is exactly the same with all the other characters. Even the main protagonist Hugh, shrewd and talented man of business with impeccable flair for arranging profitable mergers, goes and marries a feckless fortune hunter when it is obvious that alarm bells should have been ringing in his head and creating quite a cacophony.You have to admire the sheer nerve it took to write so much nonsense with great aplomb. But I did enjoy it and it doesn't bother me to admit it!
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting! 21 April 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Could not put it down. The kind of book to savour curled up on the sofa with a family size box of chocolates. I really enjoy reading Ken Follett and just finished this novel! A family saga you can really sink your teeth into, the story flows to the end. This author never disappoints me, whatever he writes about he does so brilliantly, flawlessly and leaves you wanting more. His best ever book (in my humble opinion) is "Pillars of the Earth" and "A Dangerous Fortune" is very close behind it!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling book, persevere through the start!! 16 Jan 2007
Format:Paperback
An excellent story, yet again by Ken Follett, who so far in my reading history, has dipped into completely different periods of time, leading to fascinating and captivating stories, characterised by well-thought out scenes and characters with depth.

However I had some difficutly with this one - it was not clear until about page 100 who the story was about. I found the number of lead characters confusing - partially because I did not know which relationships I should be taking note of, and therefore had trouble understanding the direction it was going in.

That the main character (Hugh), is also downplayed some of the time, whilst being shown sympathetically other times, meant that I simply didn't grasp the fact that the story is his. The initial chapter could have been better placed by calling it a prologue or something similar.

For Follett fans - you are guarenteed to like this!
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