George ""Doc"" Ella is the most famous man in his Iowa farming town because he has come home after being missing in Vietnam for 11 years. Doc is a designer hero the way some pants are designer jeans; he is supposed to be taken for something his maker has apparently never seen up close. Doc loves his country and humanity even after the hell he endured in Vietnam. He loves his family, even though his mother abandoned him as a baby and his wife has left him for a slimy tractor salesman. But mostly he loves his Iowa farm, even though developers are moving heaven and earth to buy or scare him out of it. That farm is his legacy from the loving grandmother who raised him and sent him a tiny pile of black dirt when he was at war. Now, if it weren't for the fact that Doc is about the best poker player Vietnam and Iowa ever saw, he might have been able to hunker down and raise pigs forever, despite, those pesky developers. But the author, who has written another novel about high-stakes poker, The Big Biazarro (1976), has decided that Doc will leave Iowa and sit down with the Masters of poker. And against all the odds of Doc's love of the land, and after fires, tornados, betrayals, seductions, murder, and several hundred pages of inept writing, the great game does sort of take place. But whether it's worth the wait is another matter. All in all: an anthology of false rural pieties, juvenile bloodthirst and clumsy sophistication.