Fortune's Spear

  • by Martin Vander Weyer
  • Narrated by James Conlan
  • 11 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A richly detailed Edwardian true crime story of an extraordinary fraud, full of parallels to contemporary financial upheavals, from Bernie Madoff to the 2008 global financial crash.
Gerard Lee Bevan was the black sheep of one of London's most respectable banking families. A high-living womanizer and upper-class shyster of almost pantomime proportions, he exploited a glittering range of social connections. After a long run of success in City dealings he perpetrated a massive fraud which ruined both the City Equitable Fire Insurance Company and his stockbroking firm, Ellis & Co. He fled the country and was eventually arrested, tried, and jailed. Based on new research, Martin Vander Weyer tells the story of a fraud of extraordinary proportions, perpetrated by an aristocratic Englishman from a seemingly impeccable background. Exploring exactly how Bevan managed it, he reconstructs in rich Edwardian detail the environment and characters of the day, as well as Bevan's desperate attempt at disguise and flight across Europe. With resonances in today's financial world, from the 2008 crash to the likes of fraudsters such as Bernard Madoff, this compelling true crime tale offers a fascinating glimpse into a bygone financial world.


What the Critics Say

"Martin Vander Weyer, a British financial journalist, uses the story of Gerard Bevan - a stockbroker, insurance executive and convicted fraudster- to open a window on the pretensions and perfidies of the British upper crust early in the long twilight of its power. The story in 'Fortune's Spear' is not exactly a century-old version of "The Wolf of Wall Street" but will have a familiar ring to followers of today's financial chicaneries." (The Wall Street Journal)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

If the subject matter was even remotely interesting. Gerard Bevan was a boring one-dimensional person. No wonder it is "a forgotten story..."!

What was most disappointing about Martin Vander Weyer’s story?

It's way too long and contains too much boring minutiae.

Would you listen to another book narrated by James Conlan?

If the book itself was worth listening to.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Not really.

Any additional comments?

I spent several hours trying to figure out why this book was even written. Finally I had to put myself out of my misery and just stop listening to it. To go on was like plunging a rusty fork in my eye! I see now why no one had rated or reviewed it on either Audible or Amazon. The only redeeming thing is if you suffer from insomnia. It WILL definitely put you to sleep!

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- Linda Lou

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-14-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios