The real-life publishing-tycoon-turned-author Jovanovich continues the story he began in Madmen Must (1978) in this serendipitous, semiautobiographical novel--which opens during the waning days of WW II as John Sirovich, the son of a Serbian miner, begins his rise to power. Stationed in Mobile, John makes waves with the Navy brass by turning a do-nothing Supply Corps command into a going concern, just because Serbs can't abide a workless vacuum. There, he also meets the listless debutante Nancy Tuck Bowen, who casts her lot with John in spite of her gentrified family's misgivings. After V-J Day, young man Sirovich heads to L.A. to start a publishing venture, since he has rich connections there in the movie business. Soon Nancy, who's come along for the ride, lands a film contract (she's got what Hollywood wants, ""big eyes, big smile, big tits""), and John's started producing scholarly journals with names like the Journal of Engineering Lubrication; and everybody rejoices when Nancy and John finally wed after having consummated their relationship thousands of time, as the bride's brother notes wryly. John will eventually sell his thriving firm to a bigger company and wrest management of the corporate parent away from a growth-shy director, before succumbing to a heart attack, but not dying, leaving the field wide-open for a sequel. As vet-makes-good stories go, this one is reasonably spunky, full of mystifyingly oblique dialogue and characters delineated largely by the opinions they hold.