Review

Sidney Sheldon's Mistress of The Game

by Tilly Bagshawe

In the tradition of the posthumous Robert Ludlum novels, Tilly
Bagshawe, a successful author in her own right, has been charged
with the Herculean task of continuing the epic Blackwell family
saga from MASTER OF THE GAME in the voice of the late, legendary
Sidney Sheldon.

MISTRESS OF THE GAME picks up where MASTER OF THE GAME left off.
It's 1984. The powerful and scheming Kate McGregor Blackwell, the
woman who made her family's company, Kruger-Brent, one of the
largest and most successful in the world, has died. It's not long
before her remaining heirs start to scheme, fight and squabble over
who will take over. Kate's two granddaughters, Eve and Alexandra,
could not be more dissimilar. Alexandra is sweetness and light, in
love with her husband and children. Eve is a black-hearted viper
who will take on anyone who stands in the way of getting what she
feels is rightfully hers. Even her plastic surgeon husband, who
destroyed her beautiful face, leaving her to spend most of her time
cloistered in their New York apartment planning her revenge, cannot
stop her.

When Alexandra dies in childbirth, Eve sees her chance to take
over controlling interest in the company, but it's a long-term plan
that she must set like a mousetrap. Her young son, Max, is the last
peg in her scheme to overthrow her treacherous relatives. She just
has to hope that his allegiance to her will supersede all others.
Lexi Templeton, the young daughter whom Alexandra never got to
know, has been raised within the confines of the family business
all her life. After her mother's death, her father Peter was
coerced into taking over, although he hated the time away from her
and his increasingly remote older son, Robbie.

One horrible night, Lexi is kidnapped and held for ransom. An
elaborate escape plot that includes bombs are tripped in the
kidnappers' escape, rendering Lexi deaf but thankfully alive.
Because of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her kidnappers,
and the disability she was now left with, Lexi vows not to let
these things impede her chances of success. After ambling through a
typical teenage rebellious stage, she grows more serious and
focused as she learns about all aspects of the family business. She
and her cousin Max are being groomed to one day take over as CEO
--- but only one of them can be named the successor. Which one will
it be?  

As the Blackwell family's saga plays out against the most
exclusive backdrops around the globe, Gabe McGregor, a poor,
distant relative to Jamie McGregor (Kate Blackwell's father and
founder of Kruger-Brent), is determined to rise above his humble
beginnings. His family was overlooked by Jamie's good fortune and
has been bitter about it ever since. Gabe decides to follow in his
ancestor's footsteps and make his own fortune in Africa. After a
rocky start that includes a drug addiction and jail time, Gabe
finally finds a foothold in the South African housing market, and
soon his fortune rivals that of Kruger-Brent. And this is when his
path crosses with Lexi's, whose relentless ambition and 16-hour
workdays has honed her into becoming a true “Mistress of the
Game.”

It's never an easy feat for an established author to take on the
mantle of an even more established (and beloved) writer. But
Bagshawe knows exactly the audience she's writing for with MISTRESS
OF THE GAME because it's precisely the audience she herself writes
for --- those readers who love an engrossing, over-the-top family
saga with all the trimmings. Much like Sheldon's earlier works,
such as RAGE OF ANGELS and BLOODLINE, this story features
cut-throat business tactics, kidnapping, adultery, disfigurement,
incestuous relationships, murder, sex, and even a wink and a smile
that lets you know the book doesn't take itself too seriously:
“This time Max's icy hands slipped under Lexi's shirt,
grabbing hungrily at her breasts. All Lexi's feminist instincts
told her to push him away. But her groin must have missed the
Germaine Greer lecture.”

It's fun, over-the-top, and at times, yes, even a little
ridiculous, with lines such as “Remember when you proposed to
me? At the abortion clinic?” There's also a sexual
relationship between cousins that no one seems to be bothered by at
all. But the far-fetched aspects of these stories are one of the
many tenets that make them popular. Bagshawe triumphantly carries
on the tradition of Sidney Sheldon, to the delight and relief of
his many fans, and will even encompass and embrace readers of
Jackie Collins, Judith Krantz and Bagshawe herself.

Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller on January 7, 2011

Sidney Sheldon's Mistress of The Game
by Tilly Bagshawe

  • Publication Date: June 1, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Harper
  • ISBN-10: 006172839X
  • ISBN-13: 9780061728396