Another book centered on Aristide. It starts a few years after The Kill, with a now widowed and bankrupt Saccard. We know by now that Aristide desires nothing but a fountain of ever flowing money, not exactly to accumulate it, but to spend it all and keep it going, so he’s always lurking around the Bourse, waiting, planning, trying to find a way to take it over. His desire is to dethrone the Jewish bankers, and he is insufflated of a very profound anti-semitism. With the idea of making incredible amounts of money and re-establish himself on the Bourse, Saccard creates the Universal Bank, a financial establishment to fund his neighbour’s dreams of restoring Christianity to the Middle East through great public works: rail lines linking important cities, improved roads and transportation, etc.
The novel is full of stock market’s language and content, so it was a bit hard for me to follow, but it had certain passages, describing an entire day in the Bourse like a battlefield, told with loads of adrenaline! The book shows us the effects of stock market speculation on rich and poor, because all of them invest in the Universal Bank. We also found out that Aristide and Eugène aren’t in good relations, since Saccard’s bankruptcy, and that Saccard has an illegitimate son, Victor, from a girl he raped during his first days in Paris. Victor is described as brutal as the way he was conceived, worsened by his life of abject poverty.