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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.
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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