Barbara Taylor Bradford introduced the illustrious Harte family in her blockbuster A Woman of Substance. Now she has created an unforgettable new dynasty: the Deravenels.
On a bitterly cold day in 1904, the Deravenel family's future changes forever. When Cecily Deravenel tells her eighteen-year-old son Edward of the death of his father, brother, uncle, and cousin in a fire, a part of him dies as well. Edward and his cousin Neville Watkins are suspicious of the deaths. They vow to seek the truth, avenge the deaths, and retake control of their family's business empire.
As he grows into a handsome, charismatic man, Edward is torn between duty and desire. There are women in his life for whom he'll risk everything--and one woman who might destroy him. But madness and secrecy lie at the heart of the family, and Edward's enemies are far more ruthless than he knows. He will need his strength more than ever when the house of Deravenel is fatally rocked by betrayal from within. Who will become the ultimate ruler of the Deravenels?
Power and money, passion and adultery, ambition and treachery all illuminate a dramatic epic saga that brings to life the glittering Edwardian Era. The Ravenscar Dynasty is based on the familial factions of England's Wars of the Roses, brought to life by the magical, memorable storytelling power that is Barbara Taylor Bradford.
The doyenne of popular women's fiction (Just Rewards) returns with the first installment of a projected trilogy centering on internecine power struggles within the early 20th century incarnation of the centuries-old Deravenel clan and their London-based family business. A suspicious hotel fire causes the death of patriarch Richard Deravenel along with that of one of his sons, his brother-in-law and his young nephew, forcing tall, handsome, bright, seductive, 17-year old Edward Deravenel out of Oxford into the world of commerce. He and cousin Neville Watkins (a successful businessman in his own right) plot to avenge their fathers' and brothers' deaths and seize the company, currently under the stewardship of a delusional absentee executive whose ambitious (and French) wife is behind the skullduggery. Edward's longtime friend, Will Hasling, also joins the fray, and Neville has his own motivations. Along the way, there are libidinous liaisons, wicked plots, personal catastrophes, a secret "love child" and lessons aplenty about the consequences of ruthless ambition. Expect strong, two-dimensional characters; tasteful and adroit sex; repetitive exchanges; a plot rich with period detail and reasonably backed-up friction. (Jan.)
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
St. Martin's Press
July 30, 2007
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from The Ravenscar Dynasty by Barbara Taylor Bradford
Edward Deravenel galloped ahead at great speed, leaving his brothers behind, rapidly gaining the advantage. He urged his white stallion forward, oblivious to the icy weather, the lash of the wind on his face.
At one moment, half turning in the saddle, glancing behind him, Edward laughed out loud, his hilarity filling the air as he waved to his brothers: George, endeavoring to catch up, his face grim in its determination . . . Richard, struggling even farther behind, yet laughing and waving back. But then he was the youngest, and much less competitive, the baby of the family, and Edward's particular favorite.
For a split second Edward considered slowing down and allowing Richard to win this impromptu race, which had come about spontaneously a short while before, then instantly changed his mind.
George would inevitably contrive to finish first, by pushing Richard out of the way in his overriding desire to be the winner. Somehow he always managed to do this, no matter what the circumstances. And this Edward could not permit. He strived to make certain Richard was never humiliated, never diminished by George, who was older than Richard by three years and frequently endeavored to lord it over the younger boy.
Edward continued at a gentler pace along the narrow path, glancing to his left as he did. The cliffs fell steeply to the rocks and the beach; six hundred feet below him, the North Sea roared under the gusting wind, resembled polished steel in the January sunlight.
The waves frothed and churned against the jagged rock formations, while above him kittiwakes, graceful and buoyant in flight, squawked stridently as they wheeled and turned against the pale sky. Hundreds of these beautiful white gulls with black-tipped wings made their homes on the cliff faces, and as a child he had watched them nesting through his binoculars.
He shivered involuntarily as the sudden remembrance of a tragedy of long ago hit him most forcibly. A man in his father's employ, who had been bird-watching, had plunged to his death from this very spot. Now, instinctively, Edward veered away from the precarious cliffs, headed in the direction of the dirt road which led across the moors and was much safer terrain.
This morning the moorland was dun-colored and patched with slabs of frozen snow, and there was no question in Edward's mind that he much preferred riding up here when the weather was more benign, the air even balmy and filled with the scent of wildflowers, and the northern summer light dazzling.
Edward mentally chastised himself for taking his brothers out on this winter day. He had realized, rather late, that it was far too bitter, especially for Richard, who tended to catch colds so easily. He dared not contemplate his mother's ire if the boy fell sick because of this ill-conceived outing. Swinging his head, Edward saw that the boys had again slowed and were obviously fatigued by the long ride. He must spur them on, get them home without delay. He shouted, "Come on, chaps! Let's get a move on!" And he set off at a brisk canter. Once or twice he glanced behind him, pleased that his brothers had heeded his words and were cantering hard on his heels. Within minutes, to his profound relief, their ancestral home was in his direct line of vision.
Ravenscar, the beautiful old manor house where the Deravenels had lived for centuries, stood on high ground, set back from the sea, and dominated the surrounding landscape. Dark green trees, ancient, tall, and stately, formed a semicircle around it on three sides, and these were backed by high stone walls; the fourth wall was a natural one--the North Sea. This stretched into infinity below the tiered gardens and sloping lawns that ended at the edge of the precipitous cliffs.
As Edward drew closer, he could easily make out the crenellation along the line of the roof, smoke curling up from the chimneys, and the many mullioned windows glittering in the sunlight. Within seconds he was bringing his horse to a slow trot, riding through the black iron gates and up the long, tree-lined drive. This ended with some abruptness in a small, circular courtyard covered with gravel and with a sundial in its center.
The house was built of a local, pale-colored stone that had mellowed to a soft golden beige with the passing of the centuries. It typified Tudor architecture with its recesses and bays, gables and battlements, and many windows of differing sizes. Ravenscar was one of those grand houses from the past, and it had a lovely symmetry and a charm all its own. To Edward there was a sense of timelessness about it, a quality of serenity and peace dwelling in its gently flowing facade, and he understood why his forebears had always cherished and cared for this treasure.