This is a balanced, even handed account of the slow descent of the son of a self-made man, who had worked for the East India company and run into problems himself concerning bribery and corruption. The author's account is set in Regency England and is based on the copious archived letters and memoirs of the father
The sources listed at the end show in itself what a formidable amount of work has been put into researching this harrowing tale of depravity, debt and worse and it is all credit to the author that she has clearly ploughed through this important archive - which apart from relaying the sad personal history also tells us a good deal about the times themselves: we do get a very well drawn insight into society of the time, debt, lending, penal colonies, prison.
We also are shown the prevailing attitudes of the time of a father to a son in this position in society and it is good to have an insight into a personal history that is not about aristocrats or the Prince Regent himself.
However, worthy as it is and well written, it did not really hold my attention because I just did not really care enough for the main characters - father and son. That said, i did appreciate the immense scholarly work that the author has put in and that it is a clearly presented story.
I was also interested to see that it is dedicated to the author's own son and It stands as a very cautionary, historical tale that also relates to modern day life. There are a myriad of modern examples to rival this account. Life does not seem to have changed so much in many respects.