The House of Albrecht names a vast international company and also the family whose fall is chronicled in Rand's rambling tale of wealth, power and unhappiness. Ranging across the continents in which the Albrechts maintain mansions, chateaux and penthouses, the story follows the plot of Albrecht heirs, twins Ivan and Ann, to storm one of the family factories and wrest control of the firm from their mother Gretchen. (Their father died in ambiguous circumstances when they were young, though the world believes he is alive.) Using money, sex and prestige, Ivan and Anne pull others into their plot: polo-playing Teddy Beresford, who once ran the firm, his son Wilhelm who was the twins' youthful playmate and whose wife is Teddy's mistress, and Bruce Fox, the sexually proficient family photographer who narrates the tale. Other characters include Monsignor Cathcart, Gretchen's personal priest, and the Draytons, whose daughter is Ivan's paramour. Distinguished mainly by degrees of moral turpitude, the players in the battle for the House of Albrecht are more cardboard than convincing. Rand (Firestorm) tells more than he shows in this uneven, uncompelling novel. (May)
$17.95. f Twins Ivan and Ann Albrecht are determined to wrest control of the family's immense fortune from the hands of their predatory mother, Gretchen. In this larger-than-life struggle for power, they are aided and thwarted by a strange and quirky stable of characters. In fact, one needs a scorecard to keep track of who's on whose side. Adding to the confusion is the constant change from first person to third person, then back to first. Although the book's first half is confusing, the second part is more organized and is enhanced by Rand's excellent descriptive abilities. Still, the novel simply isn't satisfying enough for a serious investment of time and money. Lydia Burruel Johnson, Mesa P.L., Ariz.