Last of the Old Guard
By Louis Auchincloss
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780547152752, 224pp.)
Publication Date: December 2008
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The American master Louis Auchincloss offers an intimate look behind the closed doors of a prominent New York law firm.
Nearing the end of his days, Adrian Suydam, half the partnership of the law firm of Suydam & Saunders, reflects on his lifelong friendship and business relationship with Ernest Saunders, a tragic and complicated man incapable of properly loving anyone. In this perceptive novel, set against the backdrop of old New York, Auchincloss exposes the temptations and vicissitudes that thrust his characters toward unforeseen fates.
Drawing on his career as a wills-and-trusts attorney, Auchincloss elegantly brings to life a stratum of society that few have seen. Through interwoven tales of family members, clients, and such notables as Teddy Roosevelt and the Astors, readers get an insider’s look at a secretive world. Touching, comical, and erudite, Last of the Old Guard is both a revealing history of a high-profile law firm and an intimate portrait of a poignant friendship between two men.
Louis Auchincloss was honored in the year 2000 as a “Living Landmark” by the New York Landmarks Conservancy. During his long career he wrote more than sixty books, including the story collection Manhattan Monologues and the novel The Rector of Justin. The former president of the Academy of Arts and Letters, he resided in New York City until his death in January 2010.