The Napoleon of Crime

Alpine Books

9780771029820

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New York Times Notable Book

From the bestselling, acclaimed author of A Spy Among FriendsThe Spy and the Traitor, and Rogue Heroes, the vastly entertaining saga of Adam Worth, the most notorious bank thief of Victorian society and the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Professor Moriarty.


The Victorian era's most infamous and iconic thief, Adam Worth, was known as the Napoleon of Crime. Suave, cunning, and fearless, Worth learned early that the best way to succeed was to steal--and steal he did. Following a strict code of honor, Worth won the respect of Victorian society. He also aroused its fear by becoming a chilling phantom, mingling undetected with the upper classes, whose valuables he brazenly stole. His most celebrated heist: Gainsborough's grand portrait of the Duchess of Devonshire--ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales--a painting Worth adored and often slept beside for twenty years. With a brilliant and colorful gang, Worth secretly ran operations from New York to London, Paris, and South Africa--until betrayal and a Pinkerton man finally brought him down.

Here is a grand, dazzling tour into the gaslit underworld of the nineteenth century, and into the doomed genius of a criminal mastermind.