The Heir (Ravenscar Series #2)
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The Heir (Ravenscar Series #2)

3.0 23
by Barbara Taylor Bradford

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The Deravenels: Their business empire is worth billions, their influence stretches across the globe. And Edward, the dashing and charismatic chosen son, is the king of his company at last. He has survived harrowing years of betrayal, threats from ruthless enemies, and countless lovers—his demanding wife among them. But the most dramatic event of Edward's


The Deravenels: Their business empire is worth billions, their influence stretches across the globe. And Edward, the dashing and charismatic chosen son, is the king of his company at last. He has survived harrowing years of betrayal, threats from ruthless enemies, and countless lovers—his demanding wife among them. But the most dramatic event of Edward's life is still to come…

A worthy heir is needed to keep the Deravenel dynasty alive. But for this family, tragedy and death remain obstacles at every turn. Now Edward must navigate a dangerous collision course between his two brothers: the loyal, beloved Richard and his middle brother, George, an alcoholic bent on ruining Edward and his good name. Or he could pursue an entirely different option—one so desperate, and scandalous, that it would leave the world of the Deravenels forever changed….

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.
From the Publisher

“Rife with dastardly struggles, smoldering, illicit passion, and cowardly insidious betrayals…Fans of Bradford's trademark brand of panoramic, multigenerational historical dramas will have plenty to sink their teeth into as the feuding Deravenels continue their rivalry.” —Booklist

“The queen of the bestseller list still rules with The Heir.” —Miami Herald

“Bestseller Bradford's dynastic epic spanning the 20th century should tide over her fans...” —Publishers Weekly

“Bradford's characters are so real, readers clamor to know them better.” —USA Today

“A juicy family saga….” —BookPage

“Barbara Taylor Bradford triumphs once again.” —Fantastic Fiction

“This expertly crafted epic novel further explores the triumphs and tragedies of the Deravenel family. It will enthrall readers with its vivid characters and fast-paced, larger-than-life plot.” —Romantic Times BOOKreviews (4 ½ stars)

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Ravenscar Series, #2
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.60(d)

Related Subjects


Meet the Author

Barbara Taylor Bradford is the author of 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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The Heir 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
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It is amazing how Barbara Taylor Bradford creates a story! At first it was a little difficult keeping the characters straight and following the family lines, but once you get absorbed in the story, it becomes clear. The story itself has everything - romance, family jealousies, tragedy, and a taste of business "politics." I was a little disappointed in the ending and how we found out the final "heir".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As the second part of a trilogy, this volume was entertaining but not as full-bodied and well plotted as the first. Short shift was made of several of the people and plot lines that made one feel slightly cheated. Overall, it is an OK read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found the book a little slow in the begining, but I did not read the first book. About half way into the book I really started to enjoy reading it but then the main character died and I lost a little interest. I know have the first book and will read it before summer's end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NoMoSno More than 1 year ago
Not being British, I did not realize that the Ravenscar Dynasty was nothing but a fictionalized version of the War of the Roses. Even the first names of the characters remained the same in most cases. It was not until I got to the end of The Heir and saw the transparent fictional account of Henry VIII, his wives and daughter, Elizabeth, that I went back and did some research. Not being a quitter (or perhaps I'm a glutton for punishment), I am now reading Being Elizabeth, the final book in the trilogy. Although I have only just started it, it is easy to see that the history lesson continues. It is again a thinly veiled biography of Elizabeth I. I am deeply disappointed in Barbara Taylor Bradford, who created such wonderful characters in the Emma Harte series. Or, perhaps we should study history further to see if those characters were not really her creation either.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although I enjoy reading Ms. Bradford's books, I felt like I had read this before. I kept wondering if they just changed the cover. I usually find her books to be good for my summer reading list and I picked this one up off of the discount table and I am glad I did not pay full price for this one. There was not any WOW to it for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read all of Barbara Taylor Bradford's books and have enjoyed all of them. This book left me very disappointed though. I thoroughly enjoyed the first part of the book but then at the end we were suddenly in 1970 with characters we did not know. I thought that was a very disappointing way to end this book. Alot of questions were not answered and we were left wondering just what happened.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I listened to The Heir, not realizing that it was a second installment in a series. As a stand-alone story, there were too many unanswered storylines - what happened to the two sons who disappeared, what about a number of suspicious deaths, what ever happened to Edward's lover, Ann, etc. The story jumps from the 1920s to the 1970s--for me, there are just too many open issues.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
After his splendid performance of the audio edition of The Ravenscar Dynasty who else to give voice to the second in Bradford's trilogy than British actor and playwright John Lee? His delivery is again impeccable as he successfully brings to life a large cast of characters. His voice is deep with a slight British accent - all the better to read these roles with. Listeners who have felt withdrawal symptoms without a Bradford saga to lose themselves in have shown they're delighted with the trials and tribulations, maladies and machinations of the Deravenel family. Bradford is deft at plotting stories of multi generational families and The Heir is not an exception as the now 33-year-old Edward Deravenel struggles to hold his company together in the midst of an influenza epidemic, and the plotting of brother George. As if this were not enough, he finds no solace or comfort in the arms of his wife Elizabeth. While Bradford's storyline is unsurprising, it's pure magic for many. - Gail Cooke
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was a great fan of the Emma Harte saga until the final book (Just Rewards) That book was so shallow it was amazing. The Heir is the first of this saga I have read and it started out wonderfully - not up to the par of the Harte books but good. Then we reached the end chapters and my god how gross. To tell you the truth if she was aiming for comedy it was a comedic tour de force. If not she should stop writing until she gets fresh material. To make it parallel the life of Henry the VII is just too funny. Puleze after the Harte books we expect better of you.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1918 England Edward Deravenel successfully runs the family business empire with the help of competent loyal assistants. With the pandemic influenza, however Ned worries about the health of his heir, five years old ¿Young¿ Edward, and his spare two years old Richard but also loves his other offspring including out of wedlock Grace Rose. Although he loves his wife Elizabeth, he has issues with her hurtful speech and feels more comfortable with his mistress Jane Shaw. His youngest brother Richard is very loyal while their odious middle brother George is ambitious and jealous. Ned accepts some of George¿s antics because his mother has asked him too.--------------------------- Ned sends George to negotiate with Ian MacDougall over buying the Scottish distillery at the same time that dedicated assistant Will asks Amos to investigate George as rumors of womanizing, drug abuse and gambling debts abound. Will and manager Alfredo tell Ned what Amos learns. Ned worries about dying so he begins to take care of those he cherishes. George¿s behavior with Ian makes it critical he fixes who inherits the business as the Scotsman complained about his wastrel brother. Ned pays off George¿s debts and tells him he owes him the money. George is angry and scared.---------------- The above two paragraphs highlights Part One of a four part family saga similar to the author¿s Harte tales. Segments two and three take a deep look at what happens to the extended family. The last part leaps to the 1970s with some musing on the in between decades. All four segments are well written with strong characters dealing with family conflict and there is a clever interesting use of names that imply historical persona. Although the last segment feels like padding and wives die off making it easier for the lead protagonists to fix problems while two key mysteries are left unresolved, fans will enjoy Barbara Taylor Bradford¿s latest epic.---------------- Harriet Klausner