Great wealth and its corrosive and erosive powers at war with the power to put it to its best use is the core of the time of crisis in the Gowdens' tight little empire, founded and maintained on New York City real estate. Grace Anders comes to Glenway, the Gowden estate in Connecticut, to photograph it and the family for a magazine, and, in accomplishing her assignment, accomplishes a resolution of her own personal quest and questions. For she is able, after more than a little temptation, to refuse to marry John Gowden, the youngest son who is nearing the end of his batical from the family corporation and having to decide whether to break with it or be committed. The heart attack, and later death, of Junior; the completion of the restoration of Chaddford, John's out of office project; the psychotic shadows over his sister and her son; the outlawed brother and his wife; the domination of old Horace and his well meaning wife; the break up of the nephew's marriage -- these culminate in the maneuvers for Junior's place in the company which John wins -- on his own terms, for his predetermined directives and with more than one goal established. As in his previous novels, Gilbert is overlong, even exhaustive on his basic subject (and subjects), but his carefulness buttresses a solidity of handling.