A RULING PASSION by Judith Michael


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Another potboiler from the husband and wife team responsible for Deceptions, Possessions, and Inheritance--as usual full of plastic produce and leathery meat--this time concerning three college friends who would have saved everyone a lot of trouble had they not kept up with each other after graduation. The search for enlightenment at Stanford brings Nick Fielding (an engineering grad student who's also a whiz with computers), Sybille Morgen, and Valerie Ashbrook together. Val, ""of Park Avenue and Oxford, Maryland, was born to silk and sable, private schools, personal maids,"" etc., etc., which is why Syb hates her guts and decides to steal the silver spoon right out of her mouth. Nick and Val fall in love, but split due to differing ambitions, leaving the coast clear for Syb to snatch him. During their brief, unpleasant union, Nick starts Omega Computers, Inc. (for Omega, read Apple), Syb gets a foot-up in TV, and there's the birth of baby Chad--who'll spend a lifetime trying to figure out why his mom doesn't love him. After their inevitable divorce, Sybille starts a boob-tube evangelism empire, Nick moves from computers to cable TV (well, why not?), and Val marries her family's financial analyst--who gets mixed up with Sybille's crooked ""Television of Joy,"" and ultimately gets fleeced and murdered. Of course, the viper Sybille is at the bottom of all the book's evils, which Nick and Val expose before getting pinned once more--this time for the long haul. The authors spend too much time on awful Sybille--a villainess of little fascination. So, despite occasional charges, this overwritten novel drains in a colossal way.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Poseidon/Simon & Schuster