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Publisher's Summary

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.

©1993 by Ken Follett. (P)1994 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

What the critics say

"Breathlessly plotted...relentlessly suspenseful." (The New York Times)

"Ken Follett is a matchless storyteller, and this story is tailor-made for audio.... With Follett teamed up with Page, you can't stop listening." (AudioFile

What listeners say about A Dangerous Fortune

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

excellent story

The story has a lot of unpredictable twists and turns. I was hooked from the start and I felt satisfied with the conclusion.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Astounding!

I couldn't stop listening-lost sleep because it was too intriguing to turn off! Highly recommended to those who love historical fiction!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Outstanding

Just what you would expect from Follett. A story with intricate twists and turns and an ending that is highly satisfying. I truly enjoy this and found it hard to step away from. The narration was excellent.

1 person found this helpful

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Couldn’t put it down

I highly recommend this book I couldn’t put it down really interesting class vs class story

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

So scandalous!

I am not sure why it took me so long to discover this novel. It is a true "page"-turner, full with lies, betrayals, scandals and, yes, murder! As opposed to other reviewers, I did not find it all that predictable. Some parts reminded me of the plots of old soap-operas. The narration was superb. Very recommended.

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Don’t miss this one

Another great novel by Ken Follett. This is one of those audiobooks that you just don’t want to stop listening to. Terrific twists and turns and simply a five star book.

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  • MB
  • 2021-02-12

Augusta

Great book Enjoyed the plot and development of characters!!! but Augusta should have met a much worse end!! So disappointing she got off scott free!!!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable Story. Terrible Narration

This isn't a Thriller in any way, shape, or form, but it's actually a very good book. The twists and turns surrounding a murder, scheming maneuvers, and interpersonal intrigue is coupled with a fascinating historical setting (London in the midst of power-brokering and intermittent financial collapse in the late 1800s) to form a most enjoyable read. The ultra-rich and powerful mix with low-class miscreants and dabble in seedy scenarios. This book doesn’t fit with what Follett usually pens, but it is legitimately engrossing. The dialogue is immersive and the characters populating the story are in turn flawed, devious, manipulative, and interesting. The climax is frenetic and nailbiting. The result is a unique historical fiction - a bit of a gamble and oversexualized in places - but it works.. Follett demonstrates he is an excellent writer with a firm understanding of characterization and plot development. It actually reminded me of Maugham. I didn’t look for this novel. I bought this book as a Daily Deal - attracted more or less due to the author's reputation - and it was a good choice. The book doesn't qualify as the "Thriller" I thought I was buying - given Follett's literary reputation - but I don’t regret the purchase.

Unfortunately, the book is narrated by Michael Page. He is clear with good pacing and emotion, but I am unimpressed with his reading style.. in fact, having heard his work before, I might have hesitated buying this book had I noticed his name attached to the recording. Page's default reading voice is growly, quavering, and strongly accented. He makes a subpar performance worse by using identifying timbres (specific recognizable character voices) liberally - which would be fine if they were realistic - but the practice makes some of the dialogue insufferable. Female voices are often cartoonishly overblown falsettos, and Page's idea of what a Spanish person sounds like is straight-up cringeworthy.

This would be a solid 4.5 Star recording if the reader was different. It's still an enthralling story worth reading, but Page brings it down to a 3.

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Great book and 🔥 performance by Michael Page

I read this in high school and decided to try the audio version because of Michael Page. I wasn't disappointed. Follet has a unique style. The way he develops characters is impressive. Michael Page's performance just takes everything to another level.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

great

as always Ken Follet never dissapoints. The story was engaging, characters came to life , loved some and hated some. Definately worth the listen. narration was great too.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Rebecarol
  • 2008-05-24

Predictable Fun

Ken Follett never fails to entertain, and though this is not his best book it's got that "Can't stop listening, got to find out what happens next" quality that is the mark of a natural storyteller. I waffled between three and four stars - and decided on four because of that very quality. As always Follett introduces numerous engrossing if two-dimensional characters, he's great with his villains, the story moves at a great clip. The book is predictable, but still a fun read, almost a guilty pleasure.

96 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • 2008-06-30

excellent period book

Ken Follet is my favorite author when he writes period pieces. His best was Pillars of the earth and right behind that was World without end. This book comes in third and that is why I gave it only four stars. It is pretty hard to match those first two books. The characters in this book are interesting and some very evil. The way he writes makes you believe they are real though. I won't give away the plot but will just say it held my attention and interest and is worth the download credit.

62 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Tom
  • 2009-10-11

mixed review, a net disappointment for a Follett

I'm a real Follett fan, but I ran tepid and cool on this one. The turn-off for me was all the emphasis on bosoms and sex, crying and tears, women and men, page after page, chapter after chapter, ad nauseum (and I'm a boob man, too). A real soap opera.

Other than that, it was ok with interesting twists and turns although the overall plot was somewhat pedestrian, predictable and quite unbelievable. Descriptions of 19th century London with its brothels, mistresses and royal parties seemed authentic and it gave me a much better feel for the British class system and how it worked. The hierarchy of royal titles and how they are obtained was interesting, too.

Also on the positive side, there were some events depicted and resolved (if a bit tritely) that accurately parallel the horrible financial situation that we're presently experiencing. There's an interesting twist at the end, too.

But, oh yes, this is a book review of a thriller. Not too thrilling, but I did finish it.

The reader was excellent. He altered his voice nicely to represent individual characters, and maintained it throughout the book. This made following the sometimes intricate plot a bit easier.

I'm glad I bought it, but probably wouldn't again.

82 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • James Gordon
  • 2008-07-20

Family Saga Done Well

Ken Follett is one of the contemporary authors who both excite and annoy me. I have read Follett novels that are brilliant (i.e, Eye of the Needle) and hopeless messes (i.e., Jackdaws) For me, Dangerous Fortune is on the side of brillance. Follett takes that overdone and predictable plot wherein a bunch of school chums participate in a crime that comes back to haunt them years later. Such begins Dangerous Fortune. What moves Follett's characters into the field of art is the author's artistry. He shapes and presents each character so decidedly that the reader is never lost. These characters have style, wit and purpose and Follett throws them at us with brave gusto. Aided by a great narrator, Michael Page, Ken Follett's brillance is on every page. I loved this book and was sorry when it was over.

25 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Daniel
  • 2008-06-30

Best of the Recent Follett Releases

Of the recent Follet audible releases I have listened to (Eye of the Needle, Triple, Lie down with Lions) this is by far the best.

This one ranks right up there with my top three Follet Favorites (Pillars, World, and Hornet Flight).

This genre piece centered around Victorian English life-style in the late 1800's, captures the true pomp and circumstance of the English Monarchy culture of the time to a perfectly ridiculous level of absurdity.

The character development is excellent and in the end - just like Pillars - when asked to explain what the story was about or why it was good, you'll just have to say... "Just listen... I promise it's good, because if I explain it too much, it won't sound as interesting as it really is!"

59 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Scott
  • 2008-09-07

Listen Closely

Excellent story, *very* intricate plot, many villains and heroes. If you aren't a careful listener (or like me - listen when I *shouldn't* like when using the language part of my brain) -my own fault) you'll find yourself rewinding a lot because so much is packed in it. Don't let the caveat discourage you. D.F. has it all: love, romance, lust, heroism, gold-digging, social climbing, and villainy! Of course, the characters are a BIT two dimensional (good v. bad)..the plot is anything but! This is a thriller, not a Greek tragedy. There is so much double dealing and backstabbing there is a need to remind yourself who is allied with whom. Don't worry this makes your money/credit last longer. Follett did his homework on 19th century London because you get a perfect sketch of the class systems at that time in both: descriptions of elegant of upper classes and the gritty licentiousness of the lower class where the upper go "slumming", quite literally, as that is where all the REAL fun is located. I avoid spoilers because we all use these reviews to decide if a book is well read, produced, etc. (i.e. done well or poorly enough) to BUY. So I shan't give away any secrets even if some prior reviews have given away some pretty substantial hints. Remember, it is all about HOW it all happens and the general the details that are supposed get tied up so nicely.(NOTE: This reviewer *used* to give 5s a lot, and now saves a 5th star for "must listens." So a 4 or 5 means VERY entertaining. I would NOT give a "classic" 5 stars just to give it homage and to create a snobbish persona if it was a dull listen.)

56 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Melody
  • 2008-06-18

Very Enjoyable

I thorougly enjoyed this audio book. I've read a lot of Ken Follet and found this book to be very entertaining. It's shorter and lighter then Pillars & World but includes very good charactor building and a nicely paced story. I highly recommend it.

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Brenda
  • 2009-01-25

A Dangerous Fortune

Formula Ken Follett. Engaging but then the story becomes too predictable with bad things happening over and over again to the "good guys" and the "bad guys" continually having everything go their way. The ending did have a surprising twist.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Jennifer
  • 2009-01-23

Disappointing

I hardly have the words... this novel was not what it appeared from the publisher's summary. There was a murder mystery set among the upper eschelons of Victorian London, but there was also the seemy underside not mentioned in it. Brothels abound, and the scenes set in them, and in facct all of the scenes involving sex, were grotesque, off-putting, and faintly disturbing. I must assume that this was the desired effect, because it was done so consistantly, but still... The rest of the story was all right, but in no way particularly engaging. The characters weren't deep, the plot was not especially clever, and over everything was the twisted, grotesque sex, even in the simplest things. The only good thing I can find to say is that the narrator is quite enjoyable.

43 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Chris Bish
  • 2008-06-01

Grand Entertainment

This book is not high literature, but it sure is entertaining. As usual, author Ken Follett has an intricate, well executed plot with a historical background. The parallel between the banking scandals during period of the book and now are striking. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.
The villain in this story meets a hilarious and well deserved end.
For pure entertainment, this is a great choice.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mle CT
  • 2019-05-30

good book for the holidays

interesting story but sometimes it s a bit too long and some twists are expected

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  • DESMONS
  • 2013-02-28

A very good reading time !

It was the first book I read Ken Follett. I liked to plunge every evening in this 19th century history: the atmosphere, the diverse personages, the plot. It was a real pleasure. Moreover, the writing style matchs perfectly the time period. In one word, a very good reading time.