Another rounding out of the tobacco dynasties, this time of the unswerving aim of Brant Royle to achieve his destiny at any price at all. From a despised family, Brant holds his control until he becomes a cigarette tycoon of international fame. He loses the love of Sonie who would have stood by him no matter what; he is despised by Margaret of patrician background; he is turned on by his children until loneliness and a hard won humility force him to seek understanding. A story of a tobacco company of North Carolina ""founded by a blackguard, financed by a tart, promoted by a mountebank"" given human qualities in a half century span of lives which were enmeshed in its development, and of a man's cold will to raise himself above the town he hated- and loved. Sparing little, but with drama and color, this investigates the new race of business giants, of power so dark that the light comes almost too late.