The grand, operatic gesture dominates Steel's 36th novel, a tightly crafted, if utterly unsuspenseful, tale that pits honor against ambition in high places. Peter Haskell has it all: a beautiful wife, three great sons, a satisfying job as president of the world's leading pharmaceutical firm--and the formula for a new drug, Vicotec, that promises to revolutionize chemotherapy. Awaiting the results of a French specialist's final testing of Vicotec, Peter also has a hotel room at the Ritz in Paris, which puts him in proximity to fellow guest Olivia Thatcher, the wife of a Virginia senator whose eyes are set firmly on the White House. Peter's world begins to spin apart when he learns that Vicotec is not the miracle he hoped for but a potential killer. But of what importance is such a turn of events in the face of l'amour? This is Paris, after all, the perfect setting for Peter to approach Olivia one night; on the steps of Montmartre, the two realize that they are soul mates, and that their marriages are, in fact, empty. All too soon, however, the lovers must return to reality--Olivia, to her husband's offer of $1 million a year to stay by his side; Peter, to untold millions if he'll just fib a little bit about those test results; and so both must face their own, ultimate moral test. Steel leaves no cliche unturned in this garden of predictabilities, but the fauna is glitzy--Catherine Deneuve and Clint Eastwood make cameo appearances--the flora is bright and, in the end, all's well that end's well, which is, after all, the only way her fans would have it. Major ad/promo; Literary Guild main selection; simultaneous BDD Audio; British, translation, first serial, electronic, performance rights: Janklow & Nesbit Associates. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/30/1995 Release date: 11/01/1995 Genre: Fiction
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