The Fortune Of The Winczlavs 2. Tom and Liza, 1910

By Van Hamme & Berthet
Publisher: Cinebook
ISBN: 9781800440722

Skipping a generation, volume two focuses on siblings Tom and Liza. Inheriting a vast fortune based on whiskey their lives are significantly changed. Tom is a layabout, happy to coast through life doing the minimum, so his windfall is there to be frittered away or used by others rather than be invested or managed by himself.

Liza meanwhile intends to indulge her passion for flying. Because she and her mother are now living in Europe this ends up drawing them into the Great War, tackling the German planes over the trenches.

And not all secrets remain hidden by the past either. We learn about the consequences of actions and the fate of characters from the previous book, showing the ever-sprawling family tree and the reverberations that echo down the years. Pleasingly, this also gives a sense of closure to characters you’d grown to like, even if their personal circumstances towards the end weren’t necessarily satisfying. Arguably, that reflects real life, and that every fortune and stroke of good luck is tied up with problems, heartbreaks, pitfalls, and tragedy.

Van Hamme continues to map out an intriguing justification for the latter-day Largo Winch’s vast business empire. World history, emerging technologies and bitter rivalries are all essential parts of the blend. The only slight drawback is the pace of the storytelling, with the three-book run necessitating a race across the years as we jump in and out of the characters’ lives. But it’s a means to an end, and the result is very satisfying indeed.

And if you liked that: The final book is out soon.

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