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Set against a changing backdrop of prewar Egypt, of Paris, London and New York in the sixties and seventies, of terrorism in the Middle East and famine in Ethiopia, all the aspects of human strengths and frailties are brought to life in this international three generation saga, where a dramatic climax redimensions a man's destiny.
As the sun rises over the Egyptian coastline, one of the world's largest private yachts steams towards Alexandria. Standing on its top deck is Julius Caspar, billionaire oil tycoon and philanthropist, who is returning to his native city on his 80th. birthday. As he gazes at the approaching waterfront, he recalls his youth as an inpecunious Armenian bank clerk in what was then the most glittering centre of the Mediterranean, and his frustrated bu ever haunting love for an 18 year old heiress ,before his subsequent escalade to immense riches and worldwide recognition. That very evening he would be hosting, aboard the yacht, the Egyptian President and top international financiers and politicians, as well as members of his family, amongst whom is his grandson, A.J., a wanted terrorist who has persuaded Julius that he has repented, and to give him shelter from Interpol. But in fact he plans to blow up the yacht and all those on it. If he succeeds, all that Julius has striven to achieve, all his dreams will be shattered.
I would have given the book 5 stars but for the bold print used. This is not good for long reading sessions and hard on the eyes. But the story is grand. It's an epic. Like most epics, it's a saga of a grand family that takes us from it's beginning to a nice ending.
It's full of adventure and intrigue. You'll read lots of ambitious tales, which such a saga would be incomplete without.
I found it a great novel and well worth the read.
Kelly Moran, Bookpleasure's team of International Reviewers
Although a work of fiction, many of the background accounts in the story are factual, accounting international history. A family saga, of sorts, this memoir follows a family through three generations over a span of eighty years- beginning with the birth of Antor Caspardian, to his son, George, his daughter, MaryAnn, and grandchildren, Nelson, Jemima, and A.J. It relates the elation of love, the devastation of loss, and the rise from poverty to the power wealth can bring; all amidst the economical and political history he lays out.
The book had a few editing issues such as: misplaced and/or needed commas, and misspellings. Overall, there were few, and was not a distraction while reading. Following all of the secondary characters could be, at times, a bit difficult to keep straight. In my opinion, the book should have been published in hard cover.
In saying that, I cannot possibly conjure enough positive adjectives to describe this book. It was so eloquently written that I found myself completely immersed in the story-line from page one. The characters were not only believable and relatable, but you felt as if you’ve known them your entire life. The pure ambition of the characters, along with the adventure and intrigue written, were a true testament to the human spirit and the force that drives us all. Beginning and ending the book in the same place, with the same character, only added leverage.
It was extremely difficult to put down. I, at no time, lost interest, nor did I find any dead spots. It was not predictable in any form. The mixture of emotions that floods your system, from rage, fury, and wrath, to delight, amusement, and euphoria, engage you in this assault from the first chapter. Readers can take with them a history and cultural lesson they will not soon forget. This was a heartbreaking, bittersweet, and poignant tale; one that will stay with me for a long time. I need not say that I hope to find more titles from him in the future, as I know there will be.
Playing One's Role on the World's Stage, April 10, 2008
By Erika Borsos "pepper flower" (Gulf Coast of FL, USA)
Antor Caspardian is a famous man, a self-made businessman who has
rubbed elbows with world leaders. He is someone whose advice is
sought by heads of countries where political conflicts and wars have
arisen. He lived a full and complicated life and in this book
"Farewell Alexandria" we learn the details of his multifaceted
personality and the many events which culminated in his status as a
world businessman, a man who stepped upon the world stage and became
a major player. Yet, hidden within his life are secrets which only he
and those very close to him know. On a personal level, perhaps all
the fame and fortune he acquired can not cover up the pain and losses
he experienced to achieve success. He never married the one true love
of his life ... yet he had two children, a son and daughter by two
different women one of whom he loved on a very deep and personal
level. He learns he has children, when they are nearly adults. This
is the one major source of his personal pain, he can not reveal he is
their father due to their social situation and his own status. Later,
they *do* learn who their real father is which has consequences in
their lives that no one can anticipate.
The seeds for his major successes in life and his personal pain were
sown and grew in Alexandria, Egypt where he lived prior to World War
I. He is the son of immigrant parents, who came from Turkey to
achieve economic freedom. His father began as a carpenter and became
a furniture artisan, famous for the high quality of his creations. He
built up a thriving business. They are Catholic and Antor was sent to
a private Catholic school where he was a very gifted student. Rather
than pursue his studies in Italy on a scholarship, Antor became
apprenticed to an accountant. Antor realized money and social status
were related to power. Those who gained wealth became powerful and
were politically connected, respected. They led very different lives
than the majority of Alexandria's citizens. He wanted this for
himself. The drive to achieve success in business and gain respect
and power were his major ambitions in life. With his accounting
background, he examined which of the banks were well connected to the
business families of Alexandria, that is where he applied for a job
and was hired. Antor became accepted by the Wirsa family who did high
level business with his bank. He met their daughter and fell head
over heels in love with Marguerite. Antor sensed she felt the same.
Her parents tolerated his social visits but had higher social and
business connected ambitions for her marriage. He pursued his
interest in her but fate turned against him. Marguerite was taken to
Europe by her parents and quickly married to the man her parents
favored. Unknown to Antor, she carried his child, unknown to her
husband, the child was fathered by someone else ... The timing was so
close, it was easy to deceive them all.
Antor's business connections and relationships prospered within
Alexandria. He put aside his personal pain and applied his energies
to his work. He learned money is what counted and if you had enough,
the world can be yours. He met a woman who taught him about social
relations and how to cultivate the rich and famous. He learned even
more about the art of seduction and what women wanted from a man. As
time passed, some of his businesses failed, he turned to new avenues
of making money. His connections to the Italians and the Jewish
merchants vanished due to events which would erupt into World War II.
Even his associatons with the British Army took a turn for the worse.
Yet, he managed to maintain relations with the King of Egypt and his
business relations began to prosper again. He dealt in Egyptian
cotton and later scrap metal. He diverted funds to Swiss acounts. In
the mid-1950s he got in early on a deal with a pharmaceutical company
which went world wide. One of his rivals in this arena was a young
entrepeneur named George Cristofides, a banker and up and coming
world-wide businessman. The reader will appreciate the unexpected
twists and turns in this story about the business and personal
relations which arise due to this association. The story and plot are
epic in scope and contain deep caverns that are examined and in which
unexpected events take on new meaning as the author so cleverly ties
together the personal love life of Antor Caspardian with the world
business events that seem to rule his life. One day, he realizes that
blood is thicker than water. He comes to appreciate the family and
children he never knew existed ... which enter his life. This is a
complicated book which includes a vast amount of recent history as
its backdrop and which reveals a twisted tale of success on a world
scale with lessons which reveal the high price paid for acheiving
power and political influence. This is a most engaging novel with
excellent plots and twists which will keep the reader fully engaged
from start to finish. Erika Borsos [pepper flower]
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