"Mr. Vidal demonstrates a political imagination and insider's sagacity equaled by no other practicing fiction writer I can think of. And like the earlier novels in his historical cycle, Empire is a wonderfully vivid documentary drama." —The New York Times Book Review
In this extraordinarily powerful epic Gore Vidal recreates America's Gilded Age—a period of promise and possibility, of empire-building and fierce political rivalries. In a vivid and beathtaking work of fiction, where the fortunes of a sister and brother intertwine with the fates of the generation, their country, and some of the greatest names of their day, including President McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryan, William and Henry James, the Astors, the Vanderbilts, and the Whitneys, Gore Vidal sweeps us from the nineteenth century into the twentieth, from the salvaged republic of Lincoln to a nation boldly reaching for the world.
Lustbader (The Ninja, Shan) seems here to be attempting a combination of Shogun and The Godfather, with some Ludlum tossed in, but it doesn't work. Philip Doss, assassin for a secret U.S. agency, dies in a car wreck in Hawaii. Top Japanese gangsters, a Japanese business cabal and the U.S. agency all try to discover the culprit. Masashi Taki, head yakuza (Japanese Mafia) has plans to bomb China; the businessmen want to recover a secret diary wthat would expose and ruin them; and the secret agency is trying to find a very high-level mole. Doss's son Michael, painter and martial-arts ace, is recruited by his father's boss to solve the mystery, which, we are told in long flashbacks goes back to 1946 occupied Japan. What seems like a cast of thousands thrashes through 40 years of operatic plot that ends with a plop. We move across the Pacific, the past and the present, but the scenery never changes. Even with all the violence, the cardboard characters and inane plot have as much punch as cotton candy. (May)