The Duke, a Machiavellian twentieth century British peer, opens chapter six with a promising soup-spiller: ""Gentlemen. . . with your help I propose to take over the government of this country,"" the country being Great Britain and the gentlemen assorted power-levers--government officials, MP's, a grocery tycoon, a physician and the Duke's nice uncle, Colonel Hamish Ralston. Also in the Scottish castle hideaway are two distant female relatives of the Duke's. One of them, Edith, is assaulted by the Duke after lights out, a fairly even contest in the nude with a stunning variety of holds. After a weekend of enforced grouse shooting, church attendance and individual conferences, it seems that the takeover involves sparking a nationwide depression. The initial event concerns an appearance of the PM at a monument unveiling, where he is to show the effects of drugs administered by the doctor. But in spite of coordinated efforts and a brace of murders, the PM is assassinated and the Duke deals himself out--for his generation at least. The author biography mentions that Mr. Tavis is a distinguished Scot and it is hinted that he knows his high places. But the Duke's day is implausible and dull.