'He saw his responsibilities as his rights; he believed in the illusion, 'This is mine', as children believed in Father Christmas; not knowing yet that nobody was yours, that your loves, flawed by belief in ownership, were not loves at all.' Charismatic newspaper tycoon J.G Baron is lauded as a tough-minded but fair businessman. His favoured employees, invited to his country house at weekends, are envied; his children 'still rich and safe and spoiled', appear to lead a charmed existence. The success of his reputation is such that Baron believes it himself. Only Celia, his eldest daughter, knows that beneath this facade her father weaves a thread of tyranny which ensnares and damages all who come close to him- his son Tobias, whose affections disguise his sense of inferiority; Liz who struggles to meet her father's perfection; the upright Anthony Carey whom Baron regards as a touchstone of truth, and even Harry Levitt, himself a seasoned dissembler. For those who are shadowed by a man whose power rests on hypocrisy and self-deceit, inevitably become tarnished by the same qualities.