An entertaining, thick-with-business-lore novel about the building of a skyscraper and the contractor behind it, a man whose ego is only slightly smaller than Howard Roark's. Henry Sabatini Martin, an Italian-American Jew, and his brother Steve have managed to erect a $60 million Manhattan office building at 355 Park Avenue and ride high until the late-'80s recession causes their main tenant, Standard General, one of the ten largest corporations in the States, to decide not to lease the building but rather to sit tight in their present headquarters. This means the Martins can't meet their bank payment, putting all their other property is in jeopardy as well. Suddenly top players who supported the brotherly duo are in meetings and can't be disturbed. The story hops from vividly evoked board rooms to the Lotos Club, posh eateries, chartered jets, and squash courts as Henry strives to overcome losses and save this classy monument to his ego—and Axinn (an airplane novel, Spin, 1991) makes clear that Henry's great flaw is his ego. The flaw seems more stated than real, though his late wife divorced him for inattention, and his various lady friends explain that he's a great date and terrific in bed but too self-involved for the long haul. In fact, the one woman he most wishes he'd married gave up on him, married Steve instead, and is now pregnant with the baby that should have been his. Meanwhile, Henry can't make out why the whole financial community is against him until it's revealed that Steve vengefully had written anonymous letters to the banks falsely accusing his brother of malfeasances. Not until stripped of everything does Henry find the true love of his life, in, of all places, Wasau, Wisconsin's insurance capital. Heavy financial swordplay that should engage readers who have business ties.
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