Ken Follett delivers another masterpiece of historical fiction. This book takes us to 19th century England amid the intrigues and scandals of an elite banking family and the people in their midst. It opens with a scene where a group of boys are swimming and having fun when one of them ends up dead under circumstances that are far from clear-cut. This event continues to affect the lives of the other boys for a long time until it becomes clear exactly what happened that day. As the book goes on, we learn a little bit about the life of bankers in those days. I couldn't help but draw parallels to today's banking crises and headlines and see enormous diffrences. Some of the bankers in the book are very different from those today. They care about returning their customers' money, their reputation, and integrity, and things like bailouts, deposit "haircuts," bankruptcy would be shameful or even inconceivable.
A major theme in this book is changing fortunes and different responses to them. The characters are affected by the ups and downs in the economy and various banking crises as well as the consequences of their own decisions. Some take drastic measures. Without giving away too much I will say there is one scene illustrating denial, which I thought was soo good, well written, and very memorable. There are many quotable passages in this book pertaining to life, values, love. I thought it was just an amazing book overall.