Reviews of the book were generally positive. Publishers Weekly noted that "While it's not as good as some of their earlier efforts, it's still pretty darn good.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the Preston and Child thriller.
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Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikiquote. Robert confides to Ginevra that following a friend's death in a mountaineering accident, he is terrified of the prospect of dying, especially more so now that Lionel is dead. Robert eventually decides to retire to Oxmoon with Ginevra, but even then that is not the end of their tribulations. Robert suddenly contracts an unnamed degenerative neurological disorder described in 'Hal' as multiple sclerosis that first manifests itself as unexplained tremors, later intensifying into full-blown paralysis over the next nine years.
By the end of Ginevra's story, Robert is wheelchair-bound and realises his condition will only get worse.
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Feeling she might be happier married to someone else, Robert offers his wife a divorce but Ginevra declines, vowing to stay on by Robert's side till the bitter end, saying "I could always walk out on a husband. But I could never turn my back on a friend.
Back in Oxmoon, John Godwin, one of Robert's surviving brothers, begins planning to take over as the heir of Oxmoon as Robert's disease begins to take hold, but more deaths soon take place. Bobby's wife, Margaret, suddenly dies following a party, upsetting the balance of the family and unhinging Bobby, who then takes on a mistress, Milly Straker, who turns out to be a gold digger intent on seizing Oxmoon from the Godwins.
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As Bobby lapses into senility and falls under Straker's control, John, Robert, and their younger brother Thomas vie with her for control of Oxmoon. Due to Bobby's mismanagement a workers' strike breaks out, forcing Straker out of Oxmoon, leaving the mansion and the lands back in the hands of the Godwins. John is also personally affected when his young wife Blanche passes away from a congenital cardiac defect, and his nephew Robin falls to his death through a window.sarocamfclusan.tk/map11.php
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In the immediate aftermath of this, John caves in to his "inappropriate" feelings for his housekeeper's sister, Bronwen. He resumes his business life in London with his brother Edmund and falls under the spell of a powerful American millionaire, Armstrong. He's given a choice, marry Constance Armstrong, his American employer's daughter and advance his family's commercial and social standing, or follow his heart and spend the rest of his life with the working-class Welshwoman Bronwen, who is, he feels, the only person who knows his true self.
John marries Constance but finds his marriage emotionally unsatisfying, so after finding out he has fathered a child with Bronwen, he leaves Constance, choosing love and ostracism over profit and respectability. He struggles socially while making his living through market farming with Thomas' help.
The supportive Bronwen convinces John do the right thing, to relinquish his personal claim to Oxmoon, and to help aid his nephew Kester to succeed Bobby as master of Oxmoon, now that both Robert and Bobby are dying. Home-schooled by Ginevra and living a somewhat sheltered life in a house with a dying father and a sainted deceased older brother, Kester Godwin survives an awkward adolescence to become an author.
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His recollections reveal that he has inherited his mother's emotional intensity, her propensity for melodrama and sensual excess, as well as Robert's competitive spirit and obsessive nature, leaving Kester with a manipulative streak that becomes more apparent in Harry and Hal's stories. Upon his father's passing, Kester's Uncle John, whose brave romantic decision made him a hero in Ginevra's eyes, makes good his promise to the now deceased Robert and attempts to help Kester prepare for his role as the master of Oxmoon.
Once Ginevra dies, Kester comes into his inheritance, but is an incurable romantic who prefers writing over farming, choosing to invest money in indulging his taste for art and sculpture rather than properly running the estate, much to the disgust of his uncle Thomas, and evoking the envy of his cousin Harry, John's son. Harry's jealousy stems from the fact Harry felt that his father should have inherited Oxmoon instead of Ginevra and Kester. Kester's relationship with Thomas becomes more heated and violent when he marries Anna, a German Jew on the run from Hitler's Nazi regime.
With the Oxmoon estate in arrears thanks to Kester's mismanagement, John and Thomas are forced to seize control of Oxmoon's management from Kester and Anna.
Naturally, Kester vows vengeance to retake back Oxmoon, and on Thomas for having publicly humiliated him and insulted his wife. Harry is seen as the perfect boy - handsome, clever and tough - but we learn he is a lost soul, wanting to follow music and desperate for his father's approval. After Bronwen leaves her beloved John to go to Canada to escape their socially-derided relationship, John resumes his London life with Constance and Harry silently melts down at boarding school.
John's absence from Wales gives young master of the castle Kester more room to live an idyllic life at Oxmoon, which infuriates Harry. He finds some solace in a local, distant relative, with whom he has nothing in common but sexual attraction. They later marry and have four mostly accidental children who cause Harry more trouble than joy.
Desperately unhappy, he volunteers for military service to get away from his pain. A moment of pure joy awaits Harry upon his return — since his stepmother Constance died two years ago his father rekindled his relationship with Bronwen, the woman Harry considers his mother and his guide towards the good. He arrives at the estate to find her there waiting, and after a tearful reunion, he sees John and Bronwen finally marry.
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