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This is the briskly paced tale of the rise and decline of a Greek shipping magnate and international financier, Kostas Levantikos, and the progress of those closest to him. His family had been victims of the Turks in the early years of this century and by the beginning of World War II he had worked himself up from poverty to the ownership of a couple of tankers and to being the Lt. Commdr. of a Greek Naval ship. It was in Washington, towards the end of the war, that he really began going and after the war nothing could stop him. Kostas was a charmer, a man who enjoyed power and his work, and something of a pirate and a fixer. Because he had an interest in shipping, he also had an interest in oil, and the scene moves from London, New York and Paris, to Cairo, Beirut, Cyprus and Athens, with Interludes in Cap Ferrat and cruising on the Mediterranean. Also involved are his alcoholic wife, the one woman for whom he really feels anything, that woman's husband, and the husband's family with large shipping interests in London and the Middle East. With all of the conniving and intriguing, the fast changes of scene, the mixture of tumultuous world events and complicated political and monetary affairs, there is little time for character development-but perhaps that is unnecessary in a book of this kind. Men should enjoy this financial romance, and perhaps some women as well.

Publisher: Knopf