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The ruthless accumulation, the spending, and the ultimate disposition of a great New Orleans fortune furnish the motive force in Shirley Ann Grau's brilliat novel of three American generations whose lives are caught up in and shaped by the currents of southern power. As his family hovers around him, heirs apparent, the ninety-five-year-old multimillionaire, Thomas Henry Oliver holds court. While leashing his torrential energies, it has suffocated his daughter Anna, who has retreated into religious fanaticism, and turned his younger daughter Margaret into a shrewd businesswoman. Robert, the poverty-stricken Cajun boy whom Oliver raised to be the son he never had, is possessed by the money. Of everyone exposed to Oliver and his gold, only the secretive black chauffeur, Stanley - the legendary condor of the title - appears to have held himself intact.</p>