THE MAGNATES by Susan Crosland


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 A rather predictable mix of politics, power, and sex from London Sunday Times political columnist and author Crosland (Dangerous Games, 1992, etc.). American Miles Brewster and Englishman Lord Scrope are duking it out over the purchase of an English newspaper, the Express. Brewster wants control so he can further Anglo-American relations; bad guy Scrope owns a tabloid but needs a more respectable publication to help him oust the sitting prime minister. Scrope also runs an electronics company that wants to do big business with a Middle Eastern dictator but is stymied by trade restrictions that the PM and the American president have created. When he finally loses the Express to Brewster, Scrope wages a campaign of manipulation and intrigue to destroy not only Brewster but the British PM and the president. He seduces away Brewster's wife with his animal power (``I'm a thug,'' Scrope brags); outbids Brewster for key employees; redoubles his newspaper's attack on the character and policies of the prime minister; and attempts to ruin both Brewster and the president when he discovers their involvement in a Chappaquidick-like accident. Throughout, a writer named Zoe Hare is volleyed between Brewster and Scrope like a tennis ball: First, she's one of Brewster's top writers; then Scrope offers her the editorship of a big, New Yorker-style magazine; she accepts, only to resign when she finally realizes what a wretched man Scrope is (about 300 pages after everyone else has, characters and readers); and, by the close, she's back with Brewster, the man she realizes she truly loves. Decent pacing, meanwhile, but it's all too clichÇd ever to really interest (Brewster's wife is ``ravishingly English beauty with red-gold hair, green eyes, and luscious breasts...''). All the right elements for a revealing look into the lifestyles of the rich, powerful, and sometimes depraved, but reminiscent of a by-the-numbers painting--with most of the lines still showing.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-679-41506-8
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1995