|Silver Kings and Sons of Bitches|
The year is 1854 and William Ralston’s fiancée has just died. She, the granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt, was to help Ralston transform the squalid Gold Rush town into a beautiful, modern city; now, alone, he will take up the quest in her memory. When the Comstock Lode is discovered, the dream seems suddenly plausible: Ralston, a banker, will funnel the wealth of the silver mines into his fledgling city - build magnificent theaters, hotels, museums, and finance businesses.
Jessalyn Ohhlson (Jessie) is a prostitute with a startling characteristic: she bears an uncanny resemblance to Ralston's deceased fiancée. Ralston, entranced, finds her irresistible. Finnian Gillespie, an Irish street fighter, has seen Jessie, and he too is smitten. Soon the star-crossed lovers will be swept up in Ralston’s grand scheme, and with dire consequences, while the true identity of Jessie remains a mystery to both men.
Prussian immigrant Adolph Sutro wants to help Ralston; he proposes to build a four-mile auxiliary tunnel beneath the Comstock. Ralston, however, sees Sutro, and his tunnel, as a threat. Thus begins a decade-long battle, a battle that Ralston, the most powerful banker in California, should easily win. Except that Sutro proves to be very resourceful and incredibly stubborn. The battle rages from California to Washington D.C., and even Europe, while the fate of San Francisco, and innocent lives, awaits the outcome.
Anything I didn't like? I think I would have chosen a different title...
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