Moving out of the suspense field while retaining some high-handed elements of surmise, almost closer to John Fowles in its dramatic largesse, this is the story of another self-styled magus and his interreaction with his opposite following an overreaching construct derived from Schiller about the naive and sentimental lovers of the title. Thus on the one hand you have Cassidy who at 38 has attained great wealth and its concomitant -- boredom -- in his work, in his marriage, and primarily with himself. He's the "prole" whom Shamus (also shaman, also perhaps sham) will attempt to redeem. Shamus is an aristocrat, a one book writer, and a dazzling romantic who views Cassidy as "the commercial hinterland of (his) genius" and holds out for him, during the often outrageous odyssey ahead, the light at the end of the pier which Gatsby glimpsed. And in between polarizing them, dividing and uniting them, is Helen, Shamus' wife, and certainly the least convincing since she's something of a wishful abstraction in her annealing role. The story perpetuates itself in an opulent fashion, following in the footsteps of Shamus whose swagger never quite escapes the fear of mediocrity or the taint of bankruptcy (like cigarettes -- "bloody little glows in a great big dark"). . . . A confident, resilient entertainment which works best as a showy shell game. It leads you on even where it may never take you in.