A daring fraud makes one man a titan, and brings a nation to its knees. The son of a failing undertaker, Alves Reis learned early on that death comes quickly and a man must make his fortune while he can. In 1916, Reis left Portugal for Angola, where the hardships of colonial life dashed his dream of easy riches. In desperate straits, Alves discovers his true talent: forgery.
With an unerring hand, Alves begins to counterfeit. He falsifies diplomas, government documents, currency, and countless checks on his way to perpetrating one of the greatest frauds of the twentieth century. Inspired by the true story of a master swindler, Gifford brings to life a breathtaking international scam. Before Bernie Madoff, before Frank Abagnale, there was Alves Reis — a forger with talent, vision, and an uncompromising drive to succeed, no matter what man, bank, or nation stood in his way.