Always prolix, Thomas B. Costain outdoes himself in The Tontine.
It is a dreary novel on an epic scale.
The Tontine by Thomas B. Costain
Doubleday ©1955. 2 v. Illus Herbert Ryman. 1955 bestseller #9. My grade: C-.
Carboy, his partner, and Carboy’s carriage driver each buy shares in the tontine for their children.
The story follows the fortunes and misfortunes of the three families as they mess about on every continent until the tontine survivors dwindle to three: Isabelle Carboy, Julian Grace, and Helen Groody.
Interest in the tontine reaches fever pitch.
So much money is bet on the outcome that the British government fears attempt on the lives of the remaining trio.
Costain has so many plots and sub-plots, he can’t remember them all.
Sam Carboy’s milking of the tontine disappears without a trace.
Carboy’s son conveniently dies in America.
His grandson bankrupts his company—” hard times” is the reason Costain gives—and goes off to Africa to be heard of no more.
Julian Grace’s son disappears, too.
Too bad more characters didn’t disappear before they appeared in print: The Tontine is an awful novel.
©2015 Linda Gorton Aragoni