Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon
Released: August 1982
Series: The Game #1
Publisher: William Morrow & Co
Kate Blackwell, the enigma and head of Kruger-Brent Ltd is celebrating her ninetieth birthday with her (to put it mildly) dysfunctional family and starts to recall the scandals, blackmails, murders and ghosts from her past. Flashback to four generations of the McGregor/Blackwell saga, that begins with Jamie McGregor’s entry into South Africa as a diamond prospector and his feud with Salomon Van Der Merwe on the quest for attaining diamonds, and how he raises to power in South Africa with the help of his friend Banda. The storyline then continues with Kate Blackwell, Jamie’s daughter who becomes obsessed with the power of Kruger-Brent, and manipulates David Blackwell, Brad Rogers, and her own son Tony to doing what she thinks is best for the company, even if it means demolishing their dreams and desires. However, she is no match for her granddaughter Eve Blackwell, whose main aim is to plot devious ways of eliminating her twin sister Alexandra to get complete control of the empire.
This was the very first adult fiction book I read in my teens and re-reading it has the same impact on me now as it did back then. I absolutely loved it! This book is truly a page turner and you won’t be able to put it down once you start. The writing is simple, and the pacing of the storylines sweeps you off your feet from the get go. This book literally has everything! You want action and adventure, you get daredevil escapades of guys beating sharks, dodging land-mines and floating across deadly reefs. How about Revenge, Romance, Blackmail, murders, lust, greed, deceit, and betrayal with exotic locations of South Africa and Europe? This book has it all!
The characters are all larger than life and slightly unrealistic, but well written and makes the reader love them or love to hate them. I felt bad for Tony, and the way he loses control when he finds himself trapped in the web of lies. I despised Eve’s character, and kept thinking how low she would go to partner with someone who treated her like that. However, she was great fun to read her compared to Alexandra, who seemed to be a complete bore. As much as I detested Kate at times, she was by far my favorite in the book, as you can’t help but root for her when she determinedly keeps searching for the next heir to the throne. I was rather surprised by how raunchy some of the subject matter was, considering that this book came out in this early 80s. The character of George Miller just made my jaw drop and go WTF.
Most of Sidney Sheldon’s works from the 80s are over the top, soap opera styled novels that keeps the reader hooked, and he truly is a “Master of the Game” in writing this one. Overall, MOTG is captivating read, and has motivated me to pick up the next one in the series “Mistress of the Game”.