The assault and battery of words (coarse to recondite), of ideas (original to preposterous), of aggressive energy and sexual effrontery which did so much for The Oldest Confession and The Manchurian Candidate, is again a staggering technique here. Lacking however, in this least successful of the three, is any mission or direction. This is the story of Dan Tiamat, a New York reporter; his loving and forbearing wife, Peggy; his mistress, the Cuban Pilar (a ""sexual holocaust"" who has also destroyed her twin brother in a longstanding incestuous relationship); and his father-in-law, who, when discovering Dan's adultery, decides to ruin him by making a nationwide columnist out of him. As calculated, power and money do corrupt and liquor drowns him; he loses his following, he loses Peggy- she dies, and he loses his legs- polio. Given a lovelorn department to run, his first ten letters as Miss Friendship are the brutally vindictive answers of a broken man which torment him for the ten years to follow and for which he attempts to atone.... To be admired- the verbal display, the turbulence, the virulence; to be questioned is the novel's real interest over and above its shock and surprise tactics.