House of Thieves (Paperback)
Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781492633082, 432pp.
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
"Belfoure's sly, roguish writing opens a window to those living both gilded and tarnished lives... Best of all, Belfoure holds together each and every thread of the novel, resulting in a most memorable, evocative read."--Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review
Gangs of New York meets The Age of Innocence as a society architect in 1880s Manhattan is forced to join a gritty crime ring--from the author of the New York Times bestselling The Paris Architect
The Debt Must Be Repaid -- or Else
In 1886 New York, a respectable architect shouldn't have any connection to the notorious gang of thieves and killers that rules the underbelly of the city. But when John Cross's son racks up an unfathomable gambling debt to Kent's Gents, Cross must pay it back himself. All he has to do is use his inside knowledge of high society mansions and museums to craft a robbery even the smartest detectives won't solve. The take better include some cash too --the bigger the payout, the faster this will be over.
With a newfound talent for sniffing out vulnerable and lucrative targets, Cross becomes invaluable to the gang. But Cross's entire life has become a balancing act, and it will only take one mistake for it all to come crashing down --and for his family to go down too.
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
- In order to save his family, John Cross must do something he finds morally reprehensible. Would you resort to criminality to save your family from death?
- This is a story about the double lives a family chooses to live. Which was your favorite?
- Until 1914, Americans could ingest any drug they wanted, including dangerous drugs that are outlawed today. What did you think of Granny’s preference for opium?
- James T. Kent, a well-bred gentleman from a wealthy family, is a cold-blooded killer and gets an almost sexual satisfaction from committing crimes. Was he a compelling villain?
- New York high society had a very strict code of behavior that one had to obey or be banished. What did you think of that code? Why did that code devolve into the less-stringent rules of behavior we have today?
- How does poverty in America today compare with that portrayed in the Gilded Age in New York City?
- Homelessness is a great concern in our cities today. What did you think of the fact that about twenty thousand children roamed the streets of New York in the 1880s?
- Cross’s children form friendships with people they normally would never come into contact with. What did you like about Julia and Nolan’s friendship? Charlie and Eddie’s? George and Kitty’s?
- George’s gambling addiction was the source of all the troubles. How did you feel about George and his illness? Were you angry with him?
- Cross was devastated when he learned of his son’s secret. What would you as a parent have been thinking and feeling?