Two brothers, as different as night and day: one, charming and ruthless, buys his way into Harvard, Wall Street, and high society; the other brother remains by his mother's side and makes his way to the top without the influence of money or prestige.
Raised in separate worlds, these brothers are bound by a bitter rivalry for riches and power, but mostly, for the exciting, wildly captivating woman they fight all their lives to possess, a woman whose passion for one destroys her love for the other.
Their story consumes an American century, spanning decades of splendor, struggle, upheaval, and war. It's an absorbing saga of innocent dreams and green desire corrupted by gilded temptation.
About the Author
While attending Harvard University, Anton Myrer (1922-1996) enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps immediately after the Pearl Harbor attacks. He served for three years during World War II until he was wounded in the Pacific. He is also the author of the novels The Big War, The Last Convertible, and A Green Desire.
Read an Excerpt
They moved hurriedly down Church Street in the late afternoon chill. Chapin swung their strapped books like a pendulum against his legs; Tipton was carrying the samples box carefully under one arm. In the long field across from Horace Crowell's store Mr. Hunnacutt and the hired man were bucking up an apple tree that had gone down in the big wind storm that September. The blue blade of the two-man crosscut whined in a harsh rhythm, thin and trivial against the hollow roar of the falls. The saw seemed to control their lunging figures, as though it were animate and the men its obedient machines. Behind them the orchard rose steeply to two wooded hills capped by Macomah Mountain; black with firs, it blocked out everything but the depthless gray wall of sky.
Chapin kicked at a piece of ice and sent it skittering ahead of them. The mud ruts of the road -- the deep one in the center where the horses' hooves broke it down, the narrower grooves on each side where the carriage wheels cut their way -- were stamped in waves and ridges by the cold.
"Going to snow before morning," Chapin said. He scowled up at the mountain. Both boys had the high-bridged Ames nose and narrow, wedge-shaped jaw; but there the resemblance ended. Chapin was slender and good-looking, but there was a hint of uncertainty, of vexed impatience in his curiously pale eyes. Tipton's face was bonier, rougher; there was a stubborn buoyancy in the way he moved. They wore corduroy knickers and pea jackets. Tipton's cap sat jauntily on the back of his head; Chapin had pulled the visor of his down over his eyesagainst the wind.
"--I hate winter", Chapin said with sudden low violence, and kicked at another piece of ice; the breath burst from his mouth in small jets of steam.
Tipton glanced at his older brother mildly. "It's not so bad."
"Ice and snow, ice and snow -- cold and more cold... Who'd ever live here if he didn't have to?"
"Well, just kiss it so long, then," Tipton answered -- and was instantly sorry he'd said it. Chapin's eyes flashed at him hotly, his face turned sullen. You and your big mouth, Tipton told himself.
"Well, you can always try Tonga," he rambled on. "Live on coconuts and mango juice. They don't have any ice. Imagine if you could figure out a way to ship ice to the South Pacific -- you could name your price!"
"Well, you can't."
"Somebody will, Chay. You'll see... Here's Mrs. Gilman's: I want to try her again."
Chapin looked at the Federal house set back from its dun patch of lawn. "Mother told us to be back by four. Aunt Serena's coming out on the Boston train."
"We've got time."
"We better be getting on home."
"Come on, Chay -- you're always backing away from it."
"No, I'm not."
"Yes, you are. Mrs. Gilman's a first-rate customer. Come on, now."
Without waiting for Chapin he unlatched the picket gate and started up the brick walk. The Gilmans' dog, a powerful Newfoundland, rose from his place by the stoop with a low growl and advanced toward them; one step, then another.
"Tip, wait--" Chapin was whispering from the gate.
But there wasn't that shuddered wrinkling in the muzzle, the stiff legs, the lowering of the head that meant trouble. Tip had learned the ominous signs long ago. The big dog was simply waiting to see what his move would be. Prince would do the same thing in their own yard.
"He's all right," Tip said, going forward again, slowly, dropping his voice to a gentle sing-song. "Aren't you, boy? You know me. Of course you know me..." The animal barked once -- a short, sharp signal, greeting and warning both; then his tail began to swing ponderously. Tip patted him on the head and ruffled his ears, turned again to Chapin, who was easing up the walk now, on the far side. "Come on, Chay. It's your turn."
Chapin swung back the storm door and slowly twisted the flat key of the iron doorbell. There was no answer.
"Guess there's nobody home," he said quickly. "Why don't we--"
"No -- now, wait. Give her time to finish up what she's doing. Now. Ring again."
The door opened. A strange face, angular, hair bound up in a wild turban of yellow muslin, chamois cloth in one hand. What kind of woman would be house-cleaning at three-thirty in the afternoon? Piercing blue eyes flaring behind steel-rimmed glasses, jaw you could hang a lantern on. A perfect stranger.
"Mrs. Gilman?" Chapin asked almost inaudibly.
"No -- I'm her sister. Staying with her. Who are you?"
"I -- we're Chapin and Tip Ames." Chapin glanced apprehensively at his brother, and then the dog. "Could we -- speak to Mrs. Gilman?"
"She's upstreet visiting, I don't know when she'll be back. What is it you boys want?"
"Well, we're -- the thing is we're, uh, going around taking some orders..."
The woman's eyes narrowed still further, she was scowling now. All wrong. Chay was going about it all wrong. As usual. Couldn't he see? You had to make it attractive, exciting, a kind of adventure -- you had to make a prospect feel she was taking part in a ceremony, a voyage of discovery soon to be filled with visions and wonders. It was like the ceiling of that church in Ravenna in Miss Abbot's stereopticon -- all those little colored pieces winking and flashing, making up the whole design... They were going to lose a sale; it was as plain as the nose on your face.
"Orders?" the woman was saying impatiently; she was feeling the cold now. "Orders for what?"
"Well, you see it's..."A Green Desire. Copyright © by Anton Myrer. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a great read with a stunning conclusion.
SIMILAR TO CAIN AND ABEL. HOLDS YOUR ATTENTION TO ITS VERY SUPRISING ENDING. TERRIFIC READ.