Nick the Greek
Harry Mark Petrakis
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In 1919, Nick Dandolos arrived in America from Greece in search of the dream America inspired throughout the world. Instead, tempted into a high-stakes game of cards, he is driven to humiliation and defeat. From these depths he begins his painstaking mastery of the skills of gambling under the tutelage of the legendary old gambler, Nestor, who tells him, "If God wished to learn to gamble, he would come to me."
Returning to take vengeance on the powerful men who had beaten him, Nick begins the meteoric ascent that for more than forty years carries him through no-limit games with kings, tycoons, and shahs in all the gilded casinos of the world.
The story, drawn in the epic strokes of an ancient tragedy, takes place against the violent, gangster-riddled world of Prohibition Chicago, with a cast of characters that includes the slender, dark-eyed Marina, whose love for Nick battles his passion for gambling. Here we see Nick become the famous "Nick the Greek," and from here we move through the heroic and finally sorrowful events of his life ending with a golden hearse and garish funeral in that modern Babylon, Las Vegas.
This is vintage Petrakis — a spellbinding story, fused with a profound understanding of the human spirit and the ironies that link the fate of the victim and the victor.