Occasionally, an unforgettable story comes around that opens my eyes to a different level of human existence. This is that book! I was captivated and curious right from the beginning of the story. I did not want to put this book down, and when it was finished, I could not stop thinking about the characters. This is a must read!
Synopsis: Inspired by true historical events, The Great Game is a gripping narrative of the personal ambitions and geopolitical interests in the fight for oil that played out on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The struggle to control Baku’s oil pitted the richest families of the time against each other – front and center are the Nobels locked in a rivalry with the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers. Darkening the plot further were the Communist revolutionaries Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin. The novel takes us on a journey where Baku is transformed into the world’s oil center by the turn of the 20th century through the technological innovations and business ingenuity of the Nobel family. It offers a glimpse into the life of that period – widening economic inequality, immense personal hardships, family separations, broken promises and hearts. Based on extensive research, The Great Game offers a captivating account of the rise of oil as the world’s top strategic commodity while simultaneously drawing us into the heart of the personal stories and rivalries of the early oil barons in Baku.
How is it that some people can see the potential for greatness city in a dirty and undesirable place such as Baku? and then have the energy, foresight, and drive to accomplish greatness in just one lifetime? The Nobel family not only accomplishes this in Baku, but they manage to demonstrate what it is to be sensitive to local culture, to be generous to other people, and to improve humanity. The Nobel family builds a magnificent city out of the barren land near the Caspian Sea. They erect hospitals, schools, restaurants, homes, theatres and clubs, roads, parks, even find a way to grow trees where it was thought impossible! Still, no matter how much Emmanuel Nobel works with his father, Ludvig, and the other oil barons to provide happy blue-collar lives for their employees and the citizens of Baku, Emmanuel cannot make himself completely happy. Extravagant parties, cars, artwork, and lifestyle cannot fill the void that a forbidden love leaves within him. However, not every oil tycoon sees oil as a way to advance technology and to improve the lifestyles of the people. Oil brings with it ruthless competition, cut-throat business tactics, political unrest, and untapped wealth and power. Could global competitors like the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds be responsible for fires at some oil derricks or explosions at the docks? Or is it the political and violent Stalin and the Red Army responsible?
Readers will fall in love with the characters in this story. Their struggles and triumphs in Baku are real and will keep you enthralled throughout the entire story. The terror and violence that befalls the lovely city in the end is heart wrenching, and demonstrates the atrocities that humans are capable of when greed and power grab hold. It is a reminder of what is truly important in life.