At first savagely reviewed, The Way We Live Now (1875) has since emerged as Trollope´s masterpiece and the most admired of his works. When Trollope returned to England from the colonies in 1872 he was horrified by the immorality and dishonesty he found. In a fever of indignation he sat down to write The Way We Live Now, his longest novel. Nothing escaped the satirist´s whip: politics, finance, the aristocracy, the literary world, gambling, sex, and much else. In this world of bribes and vendettas, swindling and suicide, in which heiresses are won like gambling stakes, Trollope´s characters embody all the vices: Lady Carbury, a 43-year-old coquette, ´false from head to foot´; her son Felix, with the ´instincts of a horse, not approaching the higher sympathies of a dog´; and Melmotte, the colossal figure who dominates the book, a ´horrid, big, rich scoundrel ... a bloated swindler ... a vile city ruffian´.