Some ten years ago when I was still living in London, I met a young Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) consultant. We chatted over lunch, and then later on over G&Ts. He was a nice enough chap, perhaps a bit full of himself, but he had this endearing way of knowing what I was thinking. I joked that one day I was going to move out West and write a novel. He ribbed me back, stating that I should make him the central character in my story. We swapped business cards and I said I’d consider it, provided he had a really good tale to tell.

I did indeed move out West to the city of Bath, but for work, and not to write.  Shortly after that, the great financial crisis of 2008 struck, causing a lot of upheaval. I was far too busy managing a large team of contractors to pay much attention to the details of who did what to whom. Sure, I was interested, having spent a big chunk of my life working in finance, but no longer involved, as I’d moved on and was working for government.

My lack of interest changed on the day I received a phone call from my M&A pal. He asked me if I was still interested in telling a story. His story to be precise. A lot had happened between me leaving London and that day. I’ve always been a writer, but I hadn’t progressed beyond boring reports, magazine articles and the odd short story. Armed only with a tape recorder (mobile phone, actually) and a pen, I spent a week staying at his place near Regent’s Park in London, making copious notes and interviewing him and his friends.

The story my pal told me was indeed quite the tale, beginning more or less with the death of his father and ending with the great financial crisis.  Given the array of characters involved, I asked my pal Richard Argent if he’d be interested in illustrating a novel and thankfully he agreed.  My M&A pal is of course called Ferret and the story he told me is quite the tale. I’ve changed the names of some of the characters for legal reasons, although I’m sure they know who they are.  Perhaps you’ll be able to work out who they are too.

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Phillip Legard

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