This is the American entry for the All Nations' Prize Novel, a solid, but vital, saga of a rugged individual's rise to power. Sam, crude, powerful, gets into the driver's seat of Centropolis, a growing midwestern city, buying a newspaper through a poker game -- and going on from there. Consumed by ambition, he manipulates men and property to suit his ends, all save Martha, his wife, who rebels against her position as fifth wheel and turns to a pianist, Kurt, who becomes her lover. But when his son is killed, his road to empire crumbles, and as a last gesture of power he endows a university with the wealth he had accumulated solely for his son. Both men and women should like this -- it has vigor and firmness, with able three-dimensional characterization.