Sidney Sheldon's Mistress of the Game
||This article consists almost entirely of a plot summary. It should be expanded to provide more balanced coverage that includes real-world context. (March 2013)|
Mistress of the Game
|August 4, 2009|
|Media type||Print (Hardback)|
|Preceded by||Master of the Game|
|Followed by||Sidney Sheldon's After the Darkness|
Sidney Sheldon's Mistress of the Game is a 2009 novel by Tilly Bagshawe. It is the sequel to Sidney Sheldon's critically acclaimed 1982 novel Master of the Game, which had debuted at number one on the New York Times Bestseller List and was later adapted into a 1984 television miniseries. Mistress of the Game continues the story of the powerful Blackwell family as the lifelong conflict between twins Eve and Alexandra extends to their children.
Wealthy Kruger-Brent chairwoman Alexandria "Lexi" Templeton celebrates her wedding in her great-grandmother Kate Blackwell's legendary mansion, Cedar Hill. Like what Kate did in the prologue of the first novel, Lexi, in her thoughts, humorously disagrees with all the praise given to her, and claims that even her own newlywed husband has no idea. Unknown to them all, Lexi is troubled by a threatening letter given to her and is expecting the police to arrive at any minute.
The novel goes back to the past, two years after the events of the first novel, where Kate Blackwell has finally died at the age of ninety-two. Many are present, including the family of her two granddaughters Eve and Alexandra, who are both pregnant. Alexandra Templeton, the beautiful and kind twin, is present with her husband Peter and son Robert "Robbie", while Eve Blackwell-Webster, the evil and grotesque twin, is with her husband Keith; Eve has become accustomed to a life hiding her face after Keith marred her face with his botched cosmetic surgery so she would never leave him, and (in contrast to the previous novel where it was mentioned she willingly became his slave as not to drive him away) secretly loathes him and plans to make her unborn child avenge her and take over the family company.
Weeks after the funeral, Alexandra goes into labor. She suffers blood loss and complications and dies on the birthing table while her daughter, Lexi, lives. Peter gets into a depression that slowly estranges him from Robbie and Lexi. Days later, Eve also goes into labor, and despite Keith's worry for his wife's life (due to believing that Eve could die as well, since Alexandra's death was similar to the death Eve and Alexandra's own mother had), she gives birth to a boy named Max. Lexi and Max live two different lives: Lexi is showered with love by her brother, nanny, and by her father when he is sober and is taught to be a kind and friendly child, while Max is raised with his mother's anger and obsession, and is taught to hate his cousins, his father, and everyone else who will stand in his way.
At one point in her childhood, Lexi is abducted by a group of men and taken to an abandoned building, where the men wait for instructions from their unknown leader, who is planning to smuggle Lexi out of the country and into Thailand and traffic her. To protect their identities from Lexi, they wear animal masks. She is later raped by the man in a pig's mask, despite the man's co-workers passively telling him to stop, and, after the rape, she is traumatized by him. Peter and authorities manage to locate Lexi and storm the building, but at a last-ditch attempt, the men detonate a bomb, which affects Lexi's hearing, turning her deaf. Meanwhile, Eve plots to use Max to get rid of Keith. Max, to win her love and approval, goes on a mountain expedition alone with his father and pushes him off an accident-prone cliff and claims innocence to the police when they question him. He secretly has nightmares of it, but he does not mention it.
For their eighteenth birthdays, Lexi and Max celebrate it in a joint party that includes the board members of Kruger-Brent. Lexi has become a grown woman who tries to live a normal life but cannot due to her special hearing ailment as she can only read lips; Max has become a duplicate of his mother, a manipulative playboy. With all of Kruger-Brent Ltd.'s board members present, Max tries to charm them, but Lexi easily wins them over. Lexi tries to have sex with her crush, but her hearing problems, along with her trauma of being raped, causes her to feel uncomfortable. While alone, Max makes it clear to her his hatred and how he plans to make the company his. Meanwhile, Robbie, a homosexual piano prodigy, wants nothing to do with the company and willingly gives his share to Lexi. With Lexi having 2/3 of the company's shares (1/3 is still with Max) to her name when she turns twenty-five, Eve hatches a plan to destroy Lexi. She makes Max seduce his cousin and eventually begin a love affair. With her guard down, she willingly gives him the combination to her bedroom safe, and, when his mother tells him to strike, he takes a memory card from her safe and leaks the pictures containing her unsavory college pictures. The board members agree that Lexi has ruined her image as a professional and vote to kick her out. Max becomes the sole owner of Kruger-Brent, but feels regret.
The second part of the novel focuses a distant relative of the Blackwells. After the events of the previous novel occurred and Jamie became a wealthy magnate, he sent a large allowance to only his mother and sister. When his mother died and his sister married a well-off man and didn't need his assistance anymore, he cut off the funding, refusing to give to his brothers who had mocked him. One brother remained constantly bitter. The bitterness of having an unhelpful wealthy relative passed down to generations until Gabriel McGregor, who did not bother being bitter and decided to follow Jamie's footsteps to make his own wealth. He goes through the similar events of Jamie and eventually sets up a prosperous business in Africa called Phoenix. He marries a non-profit HIV doctor and they have two children of their own. Lexi, who has gained her hearing back thanks to a doctor Max introduced her to when he was seducing her, begins her own company called Templeton, and within a year, is more profitable than the similar departments of Kruger-Brent. Eve is upset with her son, calling him a weakling like his father whenever Lexi's company does a bold but profitable move and Max did not think about it first. She decides to open a branch in Africa, and eventually becomes the main competitor of Gabriel's company. Lexi is slowly attracted to Gabriel, but does not let her feelings get in the way, not wanting to ruin their unofficial partnership as well as Gabriel's happy marriage. However, Gabriel's wife and kids are slaughtered by a native who believes that she is killing natives and not curing them. Gabriel goes into a depression but Lexi manages to lift him up and they fall in love. Gabriel tries to convince her not to pursue Kruger-Brent anymore, and she lies, saying she no longer wants to.
A year passes, and Lexi decides to strike Kruger-Brent. Paying another person to do her work, she makes him slowly buy out Kruger-Brent's smallest subsidiary businesses and making them all the new subsidiary companies of a new company called Cedar International, and eventually buying out bigger businesses. She pays for it using her own company's profit and secretly taking Gabriel's charity fund. Eventually, Kruger-Brent goes bankrupt, causing Max to commit suicide. With no choice, the board members decide to take up Cedar International's offer to buy out the entire company, and, after the deal is closed, are shocked when they realize that Lexi was the owner of Cedar International all along.
Lexi finds out that she is pregnant with Gabriel's child. Just as she is about to tell him, he angrily berates her after finding out about the funding of her scheme was from the fund he would use for the poor. They break up, with Lexi keeping quiet about her pregnancy. She returns to New York, but not before sending him a letter with her apology and the truth of her pregnancy. Gabriel reads it just in time and he realizes that he loves her and, at the last minute, stops her from aborting and he proposes. They marry after the birth of their daughter Maxine. Eve, who has figured out how Lexi won the company back, sends a threatening note to Lexi and another one to the police. She dies shortly after, hallucinating and seeing Kate and Alexandra smothering her with a pillow. The police arrive, asking her to come with them to the police station, half-doubting senile Eve's letter. While in the station, they slowly connect the evidence to convict her of fraud, but Lexi, with the help of Gabriel and two loyal servants, help her escape. She, Gabriel, and Maxine hide out in her villa in Maldives, as there is no jurisdiction there. It is later revealed in the letter that Eve warned her that she knew and the game was still going on. She re-reads the letter and finally thinks to herself: "I haven't won the game. Not yet. But I'm still here. Still playing."
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