cover image Brothers No More

Brothers No More

William F. Buckley, JR.. Doubleday Books, $23.95 (294pp) ISBN 978-0-385-47794-9

Danny O'Hara is exuberant, generous, ambitious--and the grandson of the recently deceased Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Henry Chafee is quiet and deliberate, from a pleasant but undistinguished family. The two, former roommates at Yale, are sharing a foxhole on the Arno line in WWII when Henry turns coward and Danny saves his life. So begins this latest novel from Buckley (A Very Private Plot), who won the American Book Award for Stained Glass (1978) but is unlikely to duplicate that feat with this predictable, if glitzy, offering. Long flashbacks fill in the past up to the Arno incident; through these and subsequent passages, it becomes clear that Danny will manipulate people and events whenever he can turn them to his advantage. In adulthood, this blueblood becomes a crooked hotelier and worse, while Henry makes his mark as a journalist, especially during the Vietnam War. Eventually, Henry gets the goods on Danny and must make a difficult decision. Numerous cameos by the real-life rich and powerful enliven the proceedings (Georges Simenon plays a vital role); underneath all the provocative names and places, however, this is just a potboiler, deftly stirred but no match for Buckley's best. Major ad/promo; author tour. (Sept.)