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The Heir

The Heir

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by Barbara Taylor Bradford

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At the age of thirty-three, Edward Deravenel, having survived harrowing years of betrayal, threats from ruthless enemies, countless lovers, and a war that ravaged his country, is finally king of his company. It’s 1918, an influenza pandemic is sweeping the country, and Edward has a family and a business to protect. He must thread his way between his loyal


At the age of thirty-three, Edward Deravenel, having survived harrowing years of betrayal, threats from ruthless enemies, countless lovers, and a war that ravaged his country, is finally king of his company. It’s 1918, an influenza pandemic is sweeping the country, and Edward has a family and a business to protect. He must thread his way between his loyal brother, Richard, and his treacherous middle brother, George, an alcoholic bent on self-destruction . . . but not before he tries to ruin Edward and his good name. Meanwhile, the wrath of his ever-jealous wife, Elizabeth, is reaching a boiling point as suspicions about Edward’s relationships with other women arise.

Politics of inheritance are intense, and different family factions vie for honor over the years. An heir is needed to keep the Deravenel name alive, but tragedy and death remain obstacles at every turn. The choices include a loyal caretaker, a jealous rumormonger, a charming young woman, a sickly boy, and the scion of the family Edward ousted from power years before.

Barbara Taylor Bradford triumphs once again with a novel about passion, treachery, marriage, and family, and the compromises we’re forced to make for power and love.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Bradford (The Ravenscar Dynasty; Voice of the Heart) presents the serviceable second chapter in her Ravenscar trilogy, a dynastic epic spanning the 20th century. In 1918, 14 years after assuming control of the family company, 33-year-old Edward Deravenel has "built it into the greatest trading company in the world," with business interests ranging from French wine to Persian oil. Edward is also blessed with the sprawling Ravenscar estate and a son he hopes will eventually take the company helm. However, Edward has enemies on all sides, most notably his "treacherous" younger brother, George, and jealous wife Elizabeth. Even Edward's trusted youngest brother, Richard, may not be all he seems. A series of scandals threatens to ruin Edward's heirs' claim to the company, though much of the action feels muted. The plot gains much needed direction and momentum after Edward is felled by a heart attack, his two young sons disappear and the company's fate falls on the shoulders of his oldest daughter, Bess. The last third carries the book and makes up for the plodding earlier sections. This isn't one of Bradford's better books, but it should tide over her fans. (Nov.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

This second novel in the insipid trilogy that Bradford started last year with The Ravenscar Dynastypicks up where Dynastyleft off in 1918. Edward Deravenel is now in his thirties and running his family's business empire. The premise sounds good: family saga, rivalries, lust, riches. Unfortunately, the writing is no better than what might be found in a beginning creative writing class; most of the dialog is dreadful. Not a single character is sympathetic; Harry's fixation on creating an heir almost repels the reader. It was a chore to get through this long novel, and those thinking they will get a book on par with Bradford's stronger earlier works (e.g., A Woman of Substance) will be disappointed. Recommended only for large libraries because of Bradford's name. [See Prepub Alert, LJ7/07.]
—Marianne Fitzgerald

Kirkus Reviews
Second in the Ravenscar trilogy (after The Ravenscar Dynasty, 2007) draws more tortured parallels between the uber-rich Deravenel clan and the Plantagenet and Tudor monarchs. After wresting control from the Lancaster Deravenel-Grants, Edward "Ned" Deravenel is firmly at the helm of Deravenels, the family's global trading company, and, like any effective totalitarian, he's restored a modicum of peace to the organization. On the surface, his amply staffed households, including Ravenscar, the family's ancestral Yorkshire castle, run smoothly. World War I has just ended, and Deravenels forecasts an even more profitable peacetime. But beneath the opulence is the reality: Ned's beautiful wife Elizabeth is an enervating shrew, but an alluring one-witness their ever-increasing brood, including the obligatory male "heir and spare," and level-headed elder daughter Bess, the designated alternate heir. George, Ned's younger brother, is a dissolute lout who runs up gambling debts and embarrasses the firm. Ned manages to contain these threats, until Elizabeth tars his family with vicious gossip, and George claims to be the true heir to Deravenels. Elizabeth is easily cowed, and George is exiled to the Burgundy branch of Deravenels, where, like his Plantagenet predecessor George, Duke of Clarence, he's done in by killer wine barrels. Edward succumbs to a heart attack, and youngest brother Richard becomes conservator of Deravenels until Edward's heirs reach majority. Emulating his avatar, Richard III, he exploits his regency to launch a corporate bloodbath. Edward's young sons disappear while fishing off Ravenscar's cliffs. And tramping Ravenscar's grounds, Richard runs into serious trouble. Bess,meanwhile, agrees to cede her birthright to her husband, Henry Turner (aka Tudor), scion of the supplanted Deravenel-Grants. Cut, vertiginously, from 1928 to 1970, with only cursory mention of interim cataclysmic events. Harry Turner, analog of Henry VIII, still can't get a divorce. Bradford's plodding exposition-she's no exponent of late-in, early-out scene-crafting-makes for novelistic terrain almost as rock-strewn as Ravenscar.

Product Details

Macmillan Audio
Publication date:
Ravenscar Series, #2
Edition description:

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Meet the Author

Barbara Taylor Bradford is the author of more than 25 bestselling novels, including Playing the Game, Breaking the Rules, and The Ravenscar Dynasty. She was born in Leeds, England, and from an early age, she was a voracious reader: at age 12, she had already read all of Dickens and the Brontë sisters. By the age of twenty, she was an editor and columnist on Fleet Street. She published her first novel, A Woman of Substance, in 1979, and it has become an enduring bestseller. Barbara Taylor Bradford’s books are published in over 90 countries in 40 languages, with sales figures in excess of 82 million. Ten of her novels have been adapted into television mini-series starring actors including Sir Anthony Hopkins, Liam Neeson, Deborah Kerr and Elizabeth Hurley. She has been inducted into the Writers Hall of Fame of America, and in June of 2007, Barbara was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II for her contributions to Literature. She lives in New York City with her husband, television producer Robert Bradford, to whom all her novels are dedicated, and their Bichon Frise dogs, who sit under her desk while she writes.

Brief Biography

New York, New York
Place of Birth:
Yorkshire, England
Christ Church Elementary School and Northcote Private School for Girls in Yorkshire, England

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