The Royce family was composed of ""effective men who might be dull as human beings but who knew exactly how to rule with a minimum of fuss."" They pussy-foot through the corridors of industry, backed by the centuries-old family shipping industry and the immense fortune each member could claim as a right. But this is essentially the story of a maverick, Rupert Royce, ex-international hero, ex-spy and individual in search of an ideology. Rupert is under suspicion and examination by the British Secret Service for whom he once worked. They believe that he has been brainwashed while in Russia and has turned traitor. Chafing under their distrust and restrictions, Rupert rebels by entering into the family business for the first time and immediately initiating a program of trade with the Russians-- ships for oil. Meanwhile, the head of the Royce firm, Freddy, is secretly negotiating his own coup-- a merger with German and American shipping interests. Business and political maneuvers and clashes swirl around the heads of the family already involved in more personal problems: Rupert's wife Jo turns shrew after discovering that Rupert had found a soulmate in Russia; Freddy's wife has been conducting a long, indiscreet affair with the man Freddy must deal with to form his new corporation. The game gets long and complex but the writing is smooth and the questions of moral and political obligations and ideology are valid. It's a major monopoly that will hold your interest.