Yee) are in London for the first show of PÖ at Fashion Week. The designs by Clark Po are brilliant and the show is a great success.
In the whirlwind after the show they are approached by Raffi Pandolfo from the Ventola Luxury Group (VLG) to meet in Milan with Dominic Ventola, the head of VLG.
In Italy the decisive Ventola makes an offer to The Three Sisters, Clark and Gillian Po to buy a majority interest in PÖ. They refuse. An angry Ventola, unaccustomed to being rejected, threatens them.
At the same time Ava’s relationship with Maria is in trouble. In recent books their time together has been modest.
When Ventola acts, Ava puts her personal affairs aside. The VLG attack is fierce and overwhelming and worldwide. The intimidation is clearly illegal but there is no time to respond with a court action.
True to her nature and the lessons of Uncle, Ava wants to launch a counter-offensive but how to challenge the giant. VLF has fifteen billion dollars in annual sales:
Product lines that encompassed the very best in leather goods and fashion, jewellery, watches, shoes, perfume, and liquor including premium whiskey and cognac labels and one of the world’s top champagne producers.
In her training for the Chinese martial art of bek mei Ava learned swift attacks upon vulnerable points of the body. Uncle was a master of finding the weaknesses of business adversaries. Ava must find the tender spots of VLG or face a major financial setback.
She considers Ventola as:
“....just another man who thinks women were put on this earth to do what they’re told or get run over. There isn’t a man alive who can tell me what to do. And I’m certainly not about to be run over.”
Drawing on a French aphorism, Ava tells VLG it will find out how vicious the women and the man of PÖ will be in defending themselves.
Yet Ava is not going to just lash out against the bully. Uncle has taught her to be analytical and she is a skilled accountant. She is also ruthless.
When a potentially violent meeting is set up Ava attends with her male allies. I was reminded of how Uncle gained the loyalty of his triads by standing shoulder to shoulder in the front rank of confrontations rather than leading from the rear.
Where I found drama lacking in The Princeling of Nanjing there is abundant tension in The Couturier of Milan. The stakes are high. Reputations and millions of dollars are at stake. I was anxious to see how the conflict between the rising PÖ and the established titan of the luxury world, VLG, was resolved. Hamilton kept the pages rolling. I had to know what happened next in the plot.