City of Thieves by Cyrus Moore
City of Thieves was recommended as a page-turning thriller set in the world of investment banking – and I was curious to see if a book set in the financial world would actually captivate, or if it would be a dull account of bankers and number-crunching. I admit it took me a couple of chapters to get into the novel, but then it was a fast-paced and exhilarating read. The main character Nic Lamparelli is very compelling as a moral and principled man at odds with nearly everyone around him. Not since Wall Street or The Bonfire of the Vanities has greed and power been so accurately depicted.
The story opens in the days before the current financial crisis. Nic is offered a job as financial analyst for a leading bank. Of course, he takes the job, and soon seems to have it all – money, a high-flying career and a gorgeous girlfriend. But then things start to go disastrously wrong as information begins to emerge of an insider trading ring and then a colleague is mysteriously found dead. Who can Nic trust in the midst of crisis? And can Nic maintain his principles when those around him have succumbed to temptation? This modern-day morality tale is a gripping read. City of Thieves is also an insightful look at the things that can go wrong behind the scenes of our financial institutions if powerful people are able to manipulate markets for their own ends. Fascinating.