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THE GIFT by Kirk Douglas

THE GIFT

By Kirk Douglas

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1992
ISBN: 0-446-51694-5

 This kitschy sequel to 1990's Dance with the Devil--lacking the semiautobiographical psychic overtones of Douglas's first novel--is not from the same part of the soul as was mined by the immensely dedicated artist of Paths of Glory and Lust for Life. On page one, a bullfighter going into the ring has his privates felt up by his mistress: ```I want you,' she gasped, her mouth hungrily seeking his, while her hand reached down, trying to coax an erection.'' That's the opener, but the tasteful couplings throughout the rest of the novel raise little steam. The bullfighter is Portuguese horseman Miguel Cardiga, renowned for his dancing horse that can outwit a charging bull. But in the first chapter his mistress's jealous husband, who raises bulls, has slipped a dangerous, too experienced bull into the ring and Miguel loses a foot to the horns. This loss turns out to be a gift that eventually matures Miguel. His father, meanwhile, sells their ranch's two greatest horses to orphaned American billionairess Patricia Dennison, daughter of the late film director hero of Dance with the Devil. After taking bloody revenge on his mistress's husband, Miguel goes to Stone Ridge, New York, to teach Patricia how to ride her fabulous beasts in the Portuguese manner. Patricia, who has had mental problems, is about to lose her $10 billion empire to trustees intent on undermining her mental health even more deeply. Patricia and Miguel help each other face out their failings and fiscal problems. Then Miguel's insanely jealous ex- mistress has him arrested for her husband's murder. And so it flows.... A script that once would have left actor Douglas insulted, injured, crushed, writhing with agonized self-loathing, and cutting off his ear.