At the age of thirty-three, Edward Deravenel, having survived harrowing years of betrayal, threats from ruthless enemies, countless lovers, and a war that ravaged his country, is finally king of his company. It's 1918, an influenza pandemic is sweeping the country, and Edward has a family and a business to protect. He must thread his way between his loyal brother, Richard, and his treacherous middle brother, George, an alcoholic bent on self-destruction . . . but not before he tries to ruin Edward and his good name. Meanwhile, the wrath of his ever-jealous wife, Elizabeth, is reaching a boiling point as suspicions about Edward's relationships with other women arise.
Politics of inheritance are intense, and different family factions vie for honor over the years. An heir is needed to keep the Deravenel name alive, but tragedy and death remain obstacles at every turn. The choices include a loyal caretaker, a jealous rumormonger, a charming young woman, a sickly boy, and the scion of the family Edward ousted from power years before.
Barbara Taylor Bradford triumphs once again with a novel about passion, treachery, marriage, and family, and the compromises we're forced to make for power and love.
Bestseller Bradford (The Ravenscar Dynasty; Voice of the Heart) presents the serviceable second chapter in her Ravenscar trilogy, a dynastic epic spanning the 20th century. In 1918, 14 years after assuming control of the family company, 33-year-old Edward Deravenel has built it into the greatest trading company in the world, with business interests ranging from French wine to Persian oil. Edward is also blessed with the sprawling Ravenscar estate and a son he hopes will eventually take the company helm. However, Edward has enemies on all sides, most notably his treacherous younger brother, George, and jealous wife Elizabeth. Even Edward's trusted youngest brother, Richard, may not be all he seems. A series of scandals threatens to ruin Edward's heirs' claim to the company, though much of the action feels muted. The plot gains much needed direction and momentum after Edward is felled by a heart attack, his two young sons disappear and the company's fate falls on the shoulders of his oldest daughter, Bess. The last third carries the book and makes up for the plodding earlier sections. This isn't one of Bradford's better books, but it should tide over her fans. (Nov.)
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St. Martin's Press
October 29, 2007
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