Penny Vincenzi, Author . Overlook $26.95 (720p) ISBN 978-1-585

Expansively written and lushly detailed, this fast-paced sequel to No Angel follows the Lyttons, a prominent British publishing family, into the mid-20th century. It's 1928 as the book opens, and the Lytton heirs apparent—Giles, Kit and their twin sisters, Venetia and Adele—are more absorbed in their personal lives than in steering themselves toward future stewardship of the family empire. Giles, ensconced in a mid-level Lytton post, feels a professional and social failure; Kit is bright, but only eight; and the beautiful 18-year-old twins are more concerned with their court debuts than with learning anything useful about publishing. Lytton foster child Barty Miller, who graduated from Oxford with honors, might take the business seriously; she shows remarkable intelligence and drive, but not the gratitude that Celia Lytton, senior editor of the house and matron of the family, would like. The business and family survive the Depression as the Lyttons begin publishing cheaper books, the twins lose their virginity, Kit grows into a fine young man and Giles gets married. Then WWII comes along and snaps, if not sense, then at least some backbone into the Lytton children. But is it too late? As family secrets and the Nazis both threaten to crush the house of Lytton, Vincenzi tightens her grip on readers, churning out surprising twists that not only resolve current conflicts but promise delicious future crises. Agent, Clare Alexander. (Oct.)