The Financier, a novel by Theodore Dreiser Published in 1912, is the first volume of the Trilogy of Desire, which includes The Titan (1914) and The Stoic (1947).
In Philadelphia, Frank Cowperwood, whose father is a banker, makes his first money passing by an auction sale, he successfully bids for seven cases of Castile soap, which he sells to a grocer the same day with a profit of over 70 percent. Later, he gets a job in Henry Waterman & Company, and leaves it for Tighe & Company. He also marries an affluent widow, in spite of his young age. Over the years, he starts misusing municipal funds with the aid of the City Treasurer.
In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire redounds to a stock market crash, prompting him to be bankrupt and exposed. Although he attempts to browbeat his way out of being sentenced to jail by intimidating Mr Stener, politicians from the Republican Party use their influence to use him as a scapegoat for their own corrupt practices. Meanwhile, he has an affair with Aileen Butler, a young girl, subsequent to losing faith in his wife. She vows to wait for him after his jail sentence. Her father, Mr Butler dies; she grows apart from her family.