It is to Mr. Raven's credit that although he finds contemporary upper-middle-class English society one of g-noblesse oblige, he is not dull about it. Here are the shallow young men-about-town, the untitled money makers, the generous aristocrats, the part-time politicians, the drifters, the dabblers, the doers. The story centers on Jude Holbrook, an unprincipled manipulator and his efforts to gain central of a prestige magazine Strix. The ""King"" to be captured, or broken in this financial chess game is M.P. Lord Peter Morrison, man of honor. A major pawn in Somerset Lloyd-James, a man who fastidiously plots in prayer and on paper. Then there's Donald Salinger, ""a blend of inaccurate snobbishness and personal self-importance"" and Tom Llewyllyn, weak, but brilliant author; each with his own particular greed. The sexual fancies of the characters have a varied range but a casual treatment. The dialogue is caustic, clever and vindictive but the novel remains a disenchanting stalemate.