Published by Templeton Press, 2003, Paperback. Signed copy!
Condition: Very Good. Single reading crease to the spine. Leans slightly. Text complete, clean and tight.
Signed by the author on the title page unverified and reflected as such in the lack of premium. Illustrated with black and white photographs. From the cover: When a Cornish servant girl gave birth to an illegitimate son in 1731, she little realised that he would become one of the richest industrialists in Europe. William Stephens, a man of genius, lived through the earthquake which destroyed Lisbon and became friends with the Marquis of Pombal, dictator of Portugal. Opening a glass factory in the village of Marinha Grande, he was granted a monopoly of glass supply and exemption from all taxes. Intelligent and charismatic, he charmed dictators, queens and princes into extending his privileges, allowing him to build up enormous wealth. Decades later, his massive fortune transformed a young cousin into the richest commoner in England. Soon it passed into the hands of a French ballerina who scandalised society by her sexual adventures, while the infamous Court of Chancery creamed off the wealth into the pockets of lawyers. This fascinating story, which spans two centuries, follows dramatic events in European history: a tale of earthquake, wars and revolution told through the lives of a strange and compelling mix of characters.