In Crosland's (Dangerous Games) lively new novel about two rival media moguls, power-not money or sex-is the ultimate prize. Having added the Washington Express to his media empire, Miles Brewster, a 42-year-old upper-crust, reserved American, now plans to bid for the London Dispatch. Bidding against him is the charming yet ruthless Lord Gerald Scrope, 46, a self-made British mogul who owns publications on both sides of the Atlantic as well as a global electronics conglomerate. Scrope, who bears some resemblance to the late media baron Robert Maxwell, wants to buy the Dispatch to advance his cause in ousting the British P.M. (whose policies threaten Scrope's profits). After outbidding Scrope for the Dispatch, Brewster goes to London to become its editor, bringing with him the Express's best features writer, the ambitious yet nave Zoe Hare. In response, Scrope sets out to sabotage Brewster by hiring away his employees, seducing his wife and uncovering startling information about Brewster's past. Although Crosland introduces a number of other characters and subplots, Scrope and his fierce drive for power dominate this entertainingly melodramatic, but rarely lurid story. (June)
The entertainment press has called Crosland "the thinking reader's Jackie Collins." The result is the same: steamy novels about the rich, powerful, and glamorous. Her previous books, "Ruling Passions" (1989) and "Dangerous Games" (1992), were not only wildly popular, but had a bit of the roman aclef about them, owing to her insider status as the widow--and noted biographer--of former British Labor Party leader and cabinet minister Tony Crosland. She is now a London-based journalist, and besides the political figures, her stories are peopled with editors, columnists, and publishing executives. This third novel follows her same successful formula. A young Washington-based feature writer, whose attractions are both journalistic and sensual, is caught in the middle of a bitter rivalry between two media moguls, one a gentlemanly American and the other a scrappy, up-from-the-slums Englishman. Both have dark secrets. One involves a fatal car crash and an American president; the other, blackmail and a British defense secretary. Given Crosland's celebrity and the popularity of her previous work, "The Magnates" should do well at the circulation desk.