A steadily mounting record of past sales- a succession of best sellers- Literary Guild selection for August,- all these factors combine to insure the new Taylor Caldwell novel numerical success. Just what it is that her readers find is hard to determine. Perhaps her ability to spin a yarn that has pace and movement. Perhaps her ability to recapture in minute detail the outward semblance of a period,- recognizable even in its monstrous ugliness, as in this novel. This is a story about unpleasant people; the one worthy figure in the whole cast of characters is Oliver, the adopted son of a ""man of the people"" become mighty in the power of his wealth and ambition. Even Oliver is not likable; he is a two dimensional plaster saint. Barbara, the youngest daughter of the mogul, is never childlike in her wry perceptiveness, her biting chastisement of her parents. Her sister Julie is a shallow, selfish jade; her brothers,- Tom, out for material acquisitions, Matthew, artistic, withdrawn, ingrown -- they, too, lack depth. The mother, Ursula, around whose strange, tragic love for her husband, William, the story is built, never loses the spinsterish thinness of blood with which William charges her. But for him, she accedes to the ruination of their children, the wreck of all their lives. Always she protects this man who thinks himself strong, from his weakness -- from the knowledge that the children he has worshipped are failures as human beings, and bear no shadow of love for him. There should be sympathy, regret, in the reader. But Taylor Caldwell lacks the touch that sometimes lends emotional values to less massive structures than hers. Only the vast, ugly brown stone house, in a Pennsylvania industrial town, with its tasteless monstrosities without and within, remains of what William Prescott had built. Here is one segment of the piracy of the lumber barons; but there is nothing of the talent that made Dynasty of Death a novel to remember....Nonetheless- the book will sell- and rent.