This is a companion novel to The Rich Are Different and continues the gripping story of the Van Zale dynasty through two decades of conflict as the sins of the fathers are finally visisted upon the next generation. Back and forth between New York City and London, England, we see the deadly influence of manipulative parents, husbands and bankers interspersed with poetry, dreams and philosophy. Then the end seems rushed in comparison to the rest of the book. the story of the powerful Van Zale clan, and the man, Cornelius Van Zale, whose dynastic struggle to control a great fortune becomes the center of his life. So, you can read this straight, as a Gothic novel - or you can read it with one eye on the back story. More, I love her method of taking a historical context and transposing it to a more modern one; in this case, the regime of Caesar Augustus in Rome. Again it's written from varying perspectives, which works well to develop the arious plots, but it mainly revolves around Cornelius, head of a bank.
However, this is one of the earlier novels, all written in a Gothic novel style, and all covering an historical epoch. More, I love her method of taking a historical context and transposing it to a more modern one; in this case, the regime of Caesar Augustus in Rome. She can't even understand that Scott's a danger to her own father! Sorry- I rarely pan a book but this one was just painful to listen to. I really enjoyed this book. This book and the reading there of were a huge empty disappointment for me. Howatch draws the reader into their world and to a large extent, their minds. I sympathise with those on here who found it long-winded and I agree with respect to certain parts, but I'm used to reading huge tomes so it didn't bother me.
Scott's ultimate fate is the purest poetic justice, but idiot Vicky is too stupid to realise what Scott's really like and that he's using her as a pawn. Either way, it's engaging writing but the latter way it becomes mesmerising, as Howatch demonstrates that all human stories are able to be repeated over and over again; just the context changes. I felt the book dragged somewhat in the latter part, but by the end, it all came together. We never actually meet Nigel, but he does exist and all of a sudden we hear first of all that he and Mark are estranged, without any preamble or explanation to this, and subsequently that Nigel's been killed in South Africa. Their marriages were up and down and motherhood clearly wasn't their forte. Vicky should think herself lucky that her father did all he could to stop her marrying Scott.
However this book stands on its own. An absorbing story of a very wealthy New York banking family. A novel of early 19th-century English society, it takes its title from the place designated as the centre of human corruption in John Bunyan's 17th-century allegory. He does have three true friends. Old family investment bankers - the snobby and rich - and their families, lovers and intrigues. I didn't read the first book.
I know I enjoyed it but can't remember much. It has a wonderful storyline and most of the time, I couldnt predict what will happen next which I liked. What I particularly like about Susan Howatch's family sagas is her narrative style where six of the main characters each write a section in the first person. Once again there are characters that you dislike and those that are easi I did not realize this book was a sequel. Kaye's masterwork is a vast, rich, and vibrant tapestry of love and war that ranks with the greatest panoramic sagas of modern fiction.
So as the plot progresses, you intimately enter the psyche of the various primary characters. When Dinah follows him to his world, she is caught up in the currents of Paul's life. She has now Susan Howatch b. One critique: every once in a while the author goes a bit overboard - but I deeply enjoyed the book anyway. Even if I haven's read the first book of this series, the author managed to keep track of the previous story into the present plot.
Once again there are characters that you dislike and those that are easier to like. More, I love her method of taking a historical context and transposing it to a more modern one; in this case, the regime of Caesar Augustus in Rome. But I guess if I read 10 bookd of hers before I figured out her plots and patterns it means she is an amazing writer. I couldn't do justice at summarizing the story. Best read after 'The Rich are Different'. The author intwined several controversial themes, such as adultery, murder, alcoholism, impotence, health problems among other without loosing the focus in the main plot. That is the interesting and involving part of this book.
Even though this particular book is about 20th century characters, there is an understory of Augustus Caesar, Cleopatra, Mark Anthony and some others. Howatch found global success first with her five sagas and then with her novels about the Church of England in the twentieth century. I liked it as much as the first and now I want to read more of her books - some that I've already read and others that I haven't. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives - resenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave. In addition, some kind person has listed all the characters and their Roman equivalents on page 1 of the comments below for easy reference.