The story of a Midwestern family fortune, from its birth before the Civil War to its precarious overexpansion in the near present. Talk about money, stock mergers, and power plays takes up more space than the home doings of the characters, and even extramarital careers are moments stolen from the octopus of finance. Straight out of Harvard, Tom Swalleck marries into the firm in Hamilton. As the Sixties pass, the loans and transfers wear him down and he indulges in a brief affair that fizzles out under his other obligations. When an insurgent group brings about major advances in the company's holdings, the incumbent management attempts to take over a great Eastern bank and fails. Tom, only a lawyer, has divided loyalties and must choose his side in the final proxy battle. Will he reveal confidential lawyer-client information that could swing the fight? Ducker has quiet humor, likable characters--but a plot only a corporation lawyer could love. Perhaps better novels are ahead.