The Umbrella Men by Keith Carter Book Tour and Giveaway :)


The Umbrella Men
by Keith Carter
Genre: Contemporary Fiction


A witty and acerbic novel for our times about corporate greed, the hubris of bankers, contradictions of the clean energy economy and their unintended consequences on everyday people.
Finance, environmentalism, rare-earth mining and human frailties collide in a complex of flawed motives. We follow Peter Mount, the self-made Chief Executive of a London-based rare-earth mining company as he and his business are buffeted by crisis-torn Royal Bank of Scotland and by his own actions, real and imagined. Meanwhile in Oregon, Amy Tate and her group of local environmental activists do their contradictory part to undermine a component of the green economy, unwittingly super-charged by the Chinese state. The repercussions of events in pristine Oregon are felt in the corporate and financial corridors of New York and London with drastic consequences. This is a deeply involving novel about the current workings of capitalism, miscommunication, causes and unexpected effects, love and survival.


 1 The Queen’s view

PROLOGUE

LSE, LINCOLN’S INN FIELDS, LONDON, NOVEMBER 2008

“If these things were so large,” she asked, gesturing with a gloved hand towards the poster with its colourful graphics showing the speculative causes of hundreds of billions of wayward dollars, “how did everyone miss them?”

Her Majesty the Queen asked the best question. Visiting the London School of Economics to open a new building in late 2008, she turned away from a poster presentation chattily entitled “Managing the Credit Crunch” and innocently put it to the assembled gaggle of economists, top men in their field, deferential despite themselves.


With this the Queen voiced what millions of her subjects, who would have to pay for the mess, had been wondering. The fawning cluster of economists shuffled uncomfortably; prizewinning schoolboys caught unprepared by the teacher. One of them was pushed to the front and offered a mumbled answer involving people relying on other people and thinking at every stage they were doing the right thing. When the Queen responded with a single word, “awful”, no one was sure if she was passing judgement on the mumbled answer, the man who gave it, the others who stood around looking sheepishly at their shoes, economists in general, the financial crisis overall, or the bankers who had caused it. She was right, though. It was awful.




Keith Iain Carter was born in Scotland in March 1959, second son of Marian van Westendorp and Ralph Carter. He attended a variety of bog standard state schools in northern England and in 1978 went up to Cambridge to read Economics, taking a First in 1981 when he was elected a Scholar – too late to enjoy the privilege of walking on the grass.

Other than corporate annual reports, he has not previously been published, unless you count a letter printed in Business Week deploring the widespread use of the word ‘wannabe’ and this quote in Investors Chronicle: “I used to be a banker, then I went straight”.

As an investment banker Keith worked for three now-disgraced institutions - he denies that any causation is associated with this correlation - Lloyds, Drexel Burnham Lambert and NatWest (RBS). A corporate financier, he ended up by specialising in pharmaceuticals and, in 1998, was part of a team acquiring a small vaccine business from GSK. As CEO he took the company public in 2004. Since 2010 Keith has worked as a business consultant to healthcare companies and as a writer, which he prefers.

Keith lives in London, Yorkshire and aboard a boat currently in Greece. He is a French-speaking Europhile who also loves America, travel, politics and economics, reading and writing, music, sailing of all kinds and food and drink.


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