With interests ranging from banking to commodities and publishing, the Schoudlers are one of France’s wealthiest and most powerful business families. The present head of this formidable dynasty is Noël Schoudler, a driven, plain-speaking magnate who runs his affairs with an unwavering ruthlessness, and this applies as much to his private life as it does to matters of business. Short of breaking the law, Schoudler is ready to resort to any means to protect his family’s wealth and good name, and anyone who dares to oppose him can expect nothing but the roughest of treatment. Noël Schoudler is a patriarch and a tyrant, a capitalist in every atom of his being. and he seems not to have an ounce of compassion in his soul. The pursuit of wealth and power is all that matters to him.
At the present time, Schoudler has two overriding preoccupations. The first is to give his son François the opportunity to prove himself; the second is to bring about the complete ruin of his cousin Lucien Maublanc, a lazy good-for-nothing whom Schoudler considers a disgrace to the family. François proves to be an enthusiastic man of commerce, but his methods soon bring him into conflict with his father, who is quick to detect signs of weakness. To teach his son a valuable lesson, Schoudler refuses to bail him out when he gets into difficulty. In desperation, François turns to Maublanc, but the family rivalry has made the latter reluctant to help him. In the end, François’s situation becomes so desperate that he is driven to suicide. The shock of his son’s death goads Schoudler into action. For the sake of François’s three-year-old son he embarks on a decisive course that will allow him to preserve his fortune and his family’s honour…
— James Travers.
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