the tontine Author:thomas b. costain This story of a tontine (a strange and enticing form of gamble, part lottery, part insurance) begins with the day when the battle of Waterloo was fought and ends when the nineteenth century was drawing to a close. . . . It is above everything else, therefore, a story of great variety: for although it marches briskly ahead with the interweaving ... more »narrative of the lives of its main characters, it takes time also to linger in the backwash of change, in the dingy squares, the inns, the coaching yards and railway stations, in the greenrooms and courts and jails of a colorful century.
It has quite a remarkable cast: ex-kings, princesses, milionaires, actresses, sailors and planters and portrait painters, and a whole gallery of minor characters. . . . The action centers in London and in the green country under the hill where the White Horse stands, but it also wanders far afield to America, Jamaica, Bermuda. . . . It is filled with romance; not only courtships and marriages of the leading men and women, but the romance of a fast-changing civilization, of the building of a huge trade empire.
It carries along the suspense of the tontine as the years go by until finally there are but three survivors in this fascinating human lottery. Then there are two. And at last-one.« less