A daring fraud makes one man a titan, and brings a nation to its knees.
The son of a failing undertaker, Alves Reis learned early on that death comes quickly and a man must make his fortune while he can. In 1916, Reis left Portugal for Angola, where the hardships of colonial life dashed his dream of easy riches. In desperate straits, Alves discovers his true talent: forgery.
With an unerring hand, Alves begins to counterfeit. He falsifies diplomas, government documents, currency, and countless checks on his way to perpetrating one of the greatest frauds of the twentieth century. Inspired by the true story of a master swindler, Gifford brings to life a breathtaking international scam. Before Bernie Madoff, before Frank Abagnale, there was Alves Reis - a forger with talent, vision, and an uncompromising drive to succeed, no matter what man, bank, or nation stood in his way.
"Explodes with continent-spanning financial intrigue and irresistible romance." - Paul Erdman, author of The Billion Dollar Sure Thing
Thomas Gifford (1937 - 2000) was a bestselling author of thriller novels. Born in Dubuque, Iowa, he moved to Minnesota after graduating from Harvard. After eight years as a traveling textbook salesman, he wrote Benchwarmer Bob (1974), a biography of Minnesota Vikings defensive end Bob Lurtsema. The Wind Chill Factor (1975), a novel about dark dealings among ex-Nazis, introduced John Cooper, a character Gifford would revisit in The First Sacrifice (1994). The Wind Chill Factor was one of several books Gifford set in and around Minneapolis.
Gifford won an Edgar Award nomination for The Cavanaugh Quest (1976). The Glendower Legacy (1978), a story about an academic who discovers that George Washington may have been a British spy, was adapted for the film Dirty Tricks (1981), starring Elliott Gould. In the 1980s Gifford wrote suspense novels under the pen names Thomas Maxwell and Dana Clarins. In 1996 he moved back to Dubuque to renovate his childhood home. He died of cancer in 2000.