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A Genius, Wizard, or Charlatan? - an Editorial Review of "John Law: Money to Burn"

Book Blurb:

This is the story of John Law, a pied piper who led rich and poor alike across the barriers of reason and plunged them into disaster. Was he a genius, wizard or charlatan? Was France victimized by a gigantic fraud perpetrated by a scheming Scotsman?

Sex, Money, and Power are the most powerful forces that drive mankind, and John Law was hell bent on having them all. This handsome Scottish adventurer stepped onto the stage of Europe at the dawn of the 18th century to alter forever the shape of international commerce. Born in Edinburgh in 1671, capable of hypnotizing women, monarchs, and whole populations, he escaped the hangman's noose in England to travel the capitals of Europe, received by kings and sovereigns. Daredevil and genius, rake and economist, mathematical wizard, gambler par excellence, womanizer--and most of all: original thinker, the paper money in your pocket, stock market reports, banking credit, stocks, shares and investment systems are all the legacy of this charismatic adventurer. John Law was a real person. His exciting story is proof that truth is stranger than fiction.

"Luscious is the word for this swashbuckling historical novel. John Law is a perfect combination of a fast-moving action Adventure upheld with solid historical facts." (Grace Cavalieri)

Editorial Review:

The elder William Law had been a goldsmith, licensed to lend money in Scotland. Still, somehow when Will's mother spoke of it, she made it sound like his father distributed bounty from Heaven, and his aspirations demanded a higher place on the world stage for his sons. Though he had not lived to see it, their father had been certain that John, at least, would fulfill some great destiny.

In true biographical style, Ms Silver-Lasky takes the life of this notorious swashbuckling gambler and womanizer of the late 17th century and gives us a rare glimpse into his life in this remarkably written historical novel.

John Law uses all his skill in his repertoire of sex, money, and power to captivate a nation to fulfill his own schemes. Born into a lowland Scottish family, his father instilling into him the value of gold at a young age (being a goldsmith, himself), John left behind the family business and took up the life of a gambler and libertine – making fortunes at the tables and well-placed alliances beneath bed sheets which would ultimately bring him into contact with those who could bolster his ultimate schemes. This was a man of high ambition, who reached for the clouds, an Icarus who threw caution to the wind when trying to touch the sun, and whose climb and fall remain hallmarks to history and to the financial markets even in today's society.

After a duel-gone-wrong in London, Law is imprisoned in Newgate Prison with a sentence of death looming over his head, but somehow (according to actual history) he escapes and makes his way to Amsterdam... all the while searching for a way to bring his ultimate scheme to fruition. In the author's story, Law makes his way to Mississippi, far across the ocean, and the sights and smells of the New World, push his ambitions even further as he dreams of a new city and a new life. But all of his dreams required a tremendous amount of money, which leads him back to Europe and the gambling tables, particularly in France. Here he meets influential people, such as Madame Duclose and her gambling establishment, Katherine Knollys, a supposed mistress of the Duc d'Orleans and a former acquaintance/lover during his days in London, and Marie Louise, the daughter of the Duc d'Orleans with a scandalous reputation and incredible influence within the royal family, as well as the Duke, himself.

I was just thinking how strange it is, Johnny. We are like a pair of loaded dice, you and I. We always seem to roll up side by side.”

Law smiled. “That, my love, is because a dissipated life brings one into contact with the lowest brigands and the highest society. It has always furnished me with fertile ground and the opportunity of developing my theories.” He paused. “If not practicing them.”

It is within this decadent realm that John rises to his ultimate heights after influencing the Duke, who becomes the Regent of France, to support the establishment of a private bank, Le Banque Royal, to employ his techniques of paper money, and to use investment schemes to finance his “Mississippi Company”. And just like Icarus, we see John Law rise higher and higher, becoming a Scotsman transformed into a French dandified gentleman with his sights set on the accumulation of more and more money, women, and power, leading to the plummeting fall when the bubble bursts and the French people rise up against him. His entire world teetered on a precariously crumbling cliff, and just a whisper, an innuendo, jealousy, or spurned love turned his dreams into dust.

While loosely based on the actual historical person, with many padded additions to his rakish life, as well as Ms Silver-Lasky's expansion on the possibilities of the intrigues of royal life surrounding rumors about the Duc d'Orleans and his daughter, Marie Louise, the overall storyline is captivating enough to overlook any historical inaccuracies, such as the ultimate fate of the Duke's daughter in the actual historical record.

This book recreates Law's life in a way to entertain in a very pleasing way, even with the more monotonous and dull banking explanations, which are necessary to understand so as to grasp Law's genius. The way the author melds the two together is remarkable and well worth a read. Banking and scandal... money and sex... power and decadence – all elements used throughout history to influence and entice. Quite entertaining and highly recommended.

Standing on that lonely shore, Law felt as though he had been drifting not only down-river but through a long dream that had started the day he killed Edward Wilson. He looked at the sunrise highlighting the shoreline in a golden curve and breathed deeply of the fresh river air. Suddenly, and for no reason, he had hope. Maybe now was his moment in time. “I said, sir,” he told Desalt. “Nothing is impossible.”


John Law: Money to Burn – a Biographical Novel” by Pat Silver-Lasky receives five stars and the “Highly Recommended” award of excellence from The Historical Fiction Company


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Author Bio:

Born in Seattle, Washington, Pat attended the University of Washington, Stanford University and Reed College where she produced and directed their first play. After 4&1/2 years college tramping she joined a Shakespearian Touring Company Her relationship with Hollywood goes back a long way before she was born. In 1913, her future father-in-law, Jesse L. Lasky, produced the first full-length motion picture The Squaw Man. Her late husband, Jesse L. Lasky, Jr. wrote 48 films, 8 for C.B. DeMille, including The Ten Commandments, and Samson And Delilah; both are in the Top 10 All-Time Box Office Hits. Pat began her career as a Hollywood actress and progressed to directing and writing. With Jesse, she wrote 4 books, 8 produced films, 119 TV scripts including HBO's Philip Marlowe series. Her solo book, SCREENWRITING FOR THE 21ST CENTURY was published in 2004 by Chrysalis in the UK. She and Jesse moved to London in1962. After his death in1988 she taught screenwriting for 9 years at the London Film School, until 2009. Pat married cartoonist/painter Peter Betts in 1998 They now live in Orange County, California. She knew Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Orson Welles, Tony Quinn and a host of stars personally. Her next book will be about her times with some of them.





Pat Silver-Lasky and Jesse Lasky, Jr. in their orchard in Spain, with Doug Fairbanks, Jr., Book Jackets: Love Scene, The Offer, Screenwriting for the 21st Century,, Crime and Passion. During the writing of this film Pat spent 4 weeks on a Swiss mountain top with Omar Sharif, Karen Black and the crew filming.As an actress, Barbara Hayden (photo Esquire Magazine).

Books by Pat Silver-Lasky

Screenwriting for the 21st Century

Ride The Tiger

Scams Schemes Scumbags

A Star Called Wormwood

(With Jesse L. Lasky, Jr.)

Men of Mystery

Love Scene (The biography of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh)

The Offer: 1st edition 1981, 2nd edition 1982

The Offer 4th edition 2013, with an updated timeline and added material.

RIDE THE TIGER, My erotic thriller. Fame, money and sex, that's what movie star Madelaine Brent wanted and she always got everything she wanted. But sometimes everything is too much and somebody can get murdered. Maddie remembered an ancient Chinese proverb:'She who rides the tiger better not dismount.' Was she about to fall off?


"This is the deeply penetrating story of a film star who puts her career and her erotic desires above all else. Madelaine Brent is willing to undergo the tortuous beauty treatments that will keep her on top - a survivor in the film world, the Las Vegas showtime scene and a survivor in the art of love. But Maddie does not foresee the consequences her actions will have on the men in her life: her British film director husband Charles who is devoted to her, the one-night stand she thought she could dismiss, the French film star who fathered her child, the young writer-director she seduced and the actor who holds her spellbound. Her beautiful daughter Cathy, alienated from her mother, has taken a dangerous path that leads to prison. Maddie's path leads her to a place she didn't expect - and a trail of murders."

SCAMS SCHEMES SCUMBAGS by Pat Silver-Lasky and Peter Betts

These are true stories of men and women who offered their eager victims a shortcut to riches. For every conman there are always the suckers queuing up to buy into 'a sure thing'; easy targets who get trapped by their own greed. But it's always the audacious conman not the willing sap, who rides that gravy train to riches.

Since civilization first spilled a trickle of coins through man's fingers and placed a value on objects, there has always been some rapacious rogue eager to pack a pocket through swindles, tricks and cons. Don't look smug; you're not immune. Would you turn down a quick buck for something just a smidge outside the law - or refuse to purchase a new Plasma screen TV on the cheap because it fell off the back of a white van? Wouldn't you consider for just a minute, buying a box guaranteed to print money if you saw it with your own eyes? Or accept an acre of land in the centre of a town you'd never seen, if it was being given away free? Would you join a new 'in' religion because somebody famous was a follower? We may laugh at another person's foolishness, but wait just a minute! How susceptible are you? Wouldn't you like to know some of the tricks these conmen and conwomen pulled? (Not that you want to pull them yourselves, you understand, but just so you'll be on guard.)

Today, the label on your designer clothes or wristwatch can be as meaningless as the artist's signature on a painting. But are you taken in, or are you a party to the fraud? Do we sneak a little admiration for the wily rascal who's pulled off a 'good one' and got away with it? After all, nobody got hurt except in the pocket - or did they? It would seem that the art forger, once he's paid his price to society, earns a dubious respectability. Clifford Irving wrote a best seller revealing the truth about his faked Howard Hughes biography. Frank Abnagale, a man of many bogus identities, served his time and later made a fortune in the crime prevention business. He even had a film made about him. (Catch Me if you Can). Does crime pay? Turn these pages on a world of rogues, rapscallions, rascals, knaves, charlatans and shysters. Learn how even some of the worst scumbags got away with their scams and schemes. Or did they?


THE OFFER was originally published in 1981 by Doubleday & Co., and in 1982 by Berkley/Jove paperback. This exciting new edition, published by (November 2013 (ISBN 978-149275 9669), has been

revised and updated with a new cover. An added timeline brings history up to date. THE OFFER is extremely relevant today. In this sweeping saga we discover the evolution of Israel.

The first edition was placed in the White House Permanent Library by President Reagan, honored as BOOK OF THE MONTH by The Jewish Bulletin, praised by Moyshe Dyan and sent by diplomatic pouch to President Sadat by the Egyptian Ambassador in London. "The Offer is the 'Roots' of Israel." L. A. Reporter, Nov 25 1981


(available on Kindle, Feedaread and soon on Amazon)

a fast-paced comedy action adventure set in the international film world. It's romantic, violent, zany, upbeat and lowdown -What happens when Hollywood screenwriters confront a host of oddballs, a master fraudster and his dazzling partner in the rip-off of the age?

Fraudsters and dazzling dames meet innocents abroad.


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