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“Charles Belfoure sees New York’s Gilded Age with an architect’s eye and evokes the atmosphere wonderfully...Belfoure leads us on a splendid page-turner as a respectable family discovers its criminal side in old New York.”

“The world of old New York comes alive in this beguiling tale of mystery and intrigue. Danger and drama abide with vivid and dramatic description that allows the reader to easily conjure up the imaginary—as if watching a film—wrapped totally in the writer’s world. Charles Belfoure definitely has the touch.”


Read an Excerpt!

—Edward Rutherfurd, New York Times bestselling author of Paris: The Novel and New York: The Novel

—Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of
The Patriot Threat and The Lincoln Myth

Take the Which House of Thieves Character Are You? QuizDownload Charles Belfoure's Guide to The Guilded Age ManhattanAmazonBarnes & NobleBAM!IndieBound

About the book

John Cross only cares about two things: becoming the most prominent society architect in New York and upholding his family’s spotless reputation. His entire life changes the day he discovers that his oldest son has racked up an unfathomable gambling debt to Kent, the city’s most notorious criminal mastermind. Desperate to save his son’s life, he uses his architectural knowledge to help Kent and his gang of thieves pillage the homes of his friends and clients until the debt is paid in full.
When his exploits catch the attention of detectives, John realizes that it’s only a matter of time before they find out that he’s the culprit. With the cops breathing down his neck and Kent refusing to let him off the hook, John realizes that if he’s not careful, his entire life—and his family’s—will come crashing down.


Set the Scene

House of Thieves takes place in 1886 New York. Transport your fellow bookclubbers to that time and place with the following food and beverage guide!

Snacks: New York style cheesecake, black and white cookies, New York style pizza

Best Wine: Sparkling wines like Iron Horse Classic vintage Brut, Roederer Estate Brut

Best Cocktail: Manhattan

Best Beer: New York local brews like Three Heads Brewing Common Man Pale Lager, Sixpoint Sweet Action Cream Ale

Best Coffee: Classic coffees like Gevalia Dark Roast and Caribou Coffee Lakeshore Blend

Best Tea: Black teas like Teavana Golden Monkey, Tazo Earl Grey Noir







Reading Group Guide

1.  In order to save his family, John Cross must do something he finds morally reprehensible. Would you resort to criminality to save your family from death?

2.  This is a story about the double lives a family chooses to live. Which was your favorite?

3.  Until 1914, Americans could ingest any drug they wanted, including dangerous drugs that are outlawed today. What did you think of Granny’s preference for opium?

4.  James T. Kent, a well-bred gentleman from a wealthy family, is a cold-blooded killer and gets an almost sexual satisfaction from committing crime. Was he a compelling villain?

5.  New York high society had a very strict code of behavior that one had to obey or be banished.
What did you think of that code? Why did that code devolve into the less stringent rules of behavior
we have today?

6.  How does poverty in American today compare with that portrayed in the Gilded Age in
New York City?

7.  Homelessness is a great concern in our cities today. What did you think of the fact that about twenty thousand children roamed the streets of New York in the 1880s?

8.  Cross’s children form friendships with people they normally would never come into contact with. What did you like about Julia and Nolan’s friendship? Charlie and Eddie’s? George and Kitty’s?

9.  George’s gambling addiction was the source of all the troubles. How did you feel about George and his illness? Were you angry with him?

10.  Cross was devastated when he learned of his son’s secret. What would you as a parent have been thinking and feeling?

More for Discussion: John Cross is an architect who robs prominent buildings in New York City. Are there any buildings in your hometown that you are particularly fascinated with? Are there any buildings that have an illustrious or notorious history?