From boyhood, Richard Rowlands speculates on his theories about making engines of all types work more quickly and efficiently than their designers ever thought possible. But after two world wars, when both sides use and abuse his inventions; when he sees his brilliant ideas pirated, he discovers – perhaps too late – that the human spirit matters more than speed at any price.

As a girl, Carola Marsh is fascinated by the skill of a stunt flier in a travelling fair- and becomes determined to learn to fly. She meets the hugely wealthy and childless Lady Warren, who speculates that Carola could do what she has only dreamed of, and bankrolls the girls ambitions. But when Carola takes off on a solo round-the-world flight, she discovers that for a woman with wings, the sky can be a terribly lonely place.

And all the while, manipulating their lives like a malign puppet master, is the shadowy figure of Sir James Mannering, for whom money is god. He speculates in human lives, providing arms for any country, any cause – at a price. But the ruthless merchant of death has a secret and desperate obsession with a woman he dare not even approach – one for whom his millions have no meaning…

Spanning continents and the dramatic world events of the first half of the twentieth century, Speculator is a compelling celebration of the pioneering men and women whose vision and courage laid the foundations of our modem technological world.

Cover illustration by © John Harris 

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