146th out of 210 books — 278 voters
Tontine is a form of gambling - part lottery, part insurance. It begins with the Day the Battle of Waterloo was fought and ends at the closing of the 19th Century. Its cast includes Actors, Kings, Sailors, Artists, etc. It is filled with romance.
Hardcover, 815 pages
Published 1955 by Doubleday
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I began reading this book when I was 8 or 9 years old - too young to keep up with all the details - and returned to it off and on for literally decades. Sometimes even making index cards of family trees and such. I finally finished it the summer of 1998 sitting in the car in front of my parents' house. In fact, my sweetie almost lost his head because he sat down and started talking to me as I was finishing the last pages. A testiment to how much I love him that he is still alive today.
My mom and my Aunt Loa really liked this story. My mom recommended it to me and I am reminded of what great taste my mom has in books! I really enjoyed these books. The books cover over a half a century of time during the 1800's starting with the day of the Battle of Waterloo. The action takes place in England. I thought that this book was absolutely fascinating. The book is follows a man of business along with the ups and downs of business in England and I found it to be completely relevant to...more
I read this book when I was about 12 and devoured every page. Certain parts of the story drag a bit, but that's totally understandable since it spans the entire lifetime of several characters. The story centers on people who entered a pool that starts to pay back money after a set number of years (50 seems right, but that might not be the actual number). Whoever is the last to live gets a significant amount of money, which leads to the expected but still surprising consequences of greed. It's re...more
The first thing I learned was what a tontine was. I had never heard of such an arrangement before. The story was interesting and the characters well drawn. The threads of the story were deftly woven. There is romance, generosity, greed . . indeed the whole range of human emotions. It takes two books to tell the stories of all of the individuals involved in the tontine. This one instance when one finishes a book and wishes there was more that there is more to enjoy.
I actually only read Volume 1 of this, will probably read Volume 2 at some point. I also believe I read it all many years ago. The book follows the fortunes of several people who are involved in a tontine -- a sort of "last man standing" insurance scheme -- in 19th century England. The reason I might not finish is that it appears the "winner" will be one of the most obnoxious characters in the book.
I found this obscure book when I was in eighth grade. It is as good as anything Dickens ever wrote, and I love Dickens. A lottery is set up for people who want to enter their children. When the children become older, the money (which has been invested for decades) begins to pay out, paying more each year as there are fewer surviving members of the Tontine. Love, revenge and wonderful greed ensue!
Ok, it was high school in a small town...but Costain's novels took me out of East Tennessee, out of myself. This was my favorite, but I read each voraciously. Somehow Paul Newman ended up playing a slave in an awful, awful film of Below the Salt. Or perhaps another Costain novel. I think adolescents love fiction of another time and place, whether the past or the future.
Thomas Bertram Costain was born in Brantford, Ontario to John Herbert Costain and Mary Schultz. He attended high school there as well as the Brantford Collegiate Institute. Before graduating from high school he had written four novels, one of which was a 70,000 word romance about Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange. These early novels were all rejected by publishers.More about Thomas B. Costain...
Costain’s career as a writer be...more
Costain’s career as a writer be...more