Howard Hughes embodied the American dream: envied by powerful men, desired by beautiful women, Hughes lived his life larger than all who surrounded him and yet died an emaciated recluse. This makes him the perfect subject for red-hot biographer Alton Reece. Riding high on the wave of previous astonishing success, Reece sees Hughes as more than simply a name worth the seven-figure advance he's demanding from his publisher. He finds in Hughes a kindred spirit of greatness, a man misunderstood and beaten down by jealous inferiors. But even as Reece struggles to ' know' his subject, his own rapidly unravelling life keeps finding unexpected ways to intrude. The novel creates a picture of a Hughes who might have been, a biographer who can' t separate his subject from his own visions of grandeur, and a public that demands its heroes be larger than life - if only so they can be more easily torn down.