1917. President Woodrow Wilson is about to lead the country into the Great War in Europe. In California, a new industry is born that will irreversibly transform America – moving pictures. Caroline Sanford, the alluring heroine of Empire Studios, discovers the power of moving pictures to manipulate reality as she vaults to screen stardom under the name of Emma Traxler. Just as Caroline must balance her two lives – West Coast movie star, East Coast newspaper publisher and senator’s mistress – so too must America balance its two power centers: Hollywood & Washington. This history as only Vidal can recreate it: brimming with intrigue & scandal, peopled by the greats of the silver screen & American politics.┬áVidal was born into an upper class political family. Constantly surrounded by controversy, as a political commentator and essayist, Vidal’s primary focus was the history and society of the United States – as a novelist, he explored the nature of corruption in public and private life.