This month (June ’17), Ava Books’ Book Club Review takes a brief look at the novel “The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo: Charles Deville Wells, Gambler and Fraudster Extraordinaire”.
Written by Robert Quinn and published in 2016, the book follows the true story of Charles Wells who infamously ‘broke the bank’ in a stint of gambling during the late 19th century.
Faced with financial difficulties, the prospect of divorce and losing his prized yacht, Wells heads to Monte-Carlo in what seems like a final act of desperation. However, over the course of a few days playing at the roulette tables, despite risking his life savings at the spin of the wheel, Wells breaks the bank a record ten times.
He wins what would be the equivalent of millions of dollars in today’s money – which raises inevitably question as to how Wells exactly pulled off such a feat.
The author, through extensive research about the life of Wells, details exactly how he won big in Monte-Carlo through fraud and in-game tricks disguised as an “infallible system”.
As well as the infamous Monte-Carlo episode, The Man Who Broke the Bank also takes a close examination of the rest of Wells’ life, including the pressures he was faced with in the run up to his gambling spree and other major and minor fraud activities that he was involved with.
The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo: Charles Deville Wells, Gambler and Fraudster Extraordinaire has received generally excellent feedback from other members of the book club.
One area of praise that has frequently come up concerns the amount of detail the book goes into, particularly when describing the methods Wells implemented when breaking the bank.
Others commented on how the author builds up the element of suspense throughout, leading the reader to be on the side of Wells, even though he is portrayed as a fraudster winning millions through illegitimate means.
On the whole, The Man Who Broke the Bank is an enthralling read which meticulously details the story of Europe’s once most wanted man, based on a true story that is still talked about in casinos around the world today.
Next month, Ava Books will feature the next installment of its book club reviews. In this next blog post, we look at Nicholas Pileggi’s ‘Casino: Love and Honor in Vegas’.