More glossy floss from the author of Encore (1981), The Eleventh Year (1982), and The Keeper of the Walls (1984), this time chronicling the rise, fall, and rise of a Rothschild-like, European Jewish banking family between the years 1900-48. ""The sun, like a shy maiden, peeked through the white clouds, yet it could not warm the icy winds that penetrated one's bones."" And so the elegantly Jewish family of Baron Alfred de Rochefleur suffers, and suffers again. In 1900, Charles Levy's father commits suicide, but Charles and his de Rochefleur mother are permitted to remain at La Folie, the palatial seat of de Rochefleur power. Then Charles' uncle, selfish Baron Alfred, manages to evict the ""poor relations"" and establish himself and his plain daughter, Anne, within. Anne redecorates and falls in love with her ousted cousin Charles, who in turn falls in love with their mutual and beautiful Viennese cousin, Countess Amelia von Guttman. When Amelia spurns Charles, he marries Anne, who is by now pregnant from a one-night stand with Armand Fayard, the aging head of France's steel industry. So Anne's son Alexis, isn't Charles', and Charles retaliates by sleeping with Fayard's young and sexy wife. Eventually, the ruthless Charles comes to resent the growing, talented and handsome Alexis, whom Fayard, knowing the boy's true paternity, has made his heir. And later Charles persuades Amelia, with whom he's reunited after 17 years, to have an affair--which has excruciatingly tragic results. But Charles gets his comeuppance when Amelia's daughter tells him, ""You don't know what it takes to be a real man. . ."" Angst-laden and, if not exactly convincing, at least reasonably engrossing period soap.