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I remember reading a children's novel in the 1980s. It had two main characters. One was an older man, who had retired a some kind of high-level governmental position off Earth; the other was a rich heiress, who had recently inherited a controlling share in one of the handful of companies who together control the Earth and its colonies.

The man is returning to Earth for his retirement. Somehow he meets the woman, and they become embroiled with a cult that is trying to overthrow her company's rule. (The corporate controlled world is, while not portrayed as ideal, not particularly dystopic either.) The leader of the cult is called "the Dolmen," after the giant concrete dolmen structure in which the cult meetings occur. When people are gathered there, they are fed jellybeans with tranquilizers and watch some kind of movies.

Somehow, the cult's plan is to subvert control over the population of the region around the temple and overthrow the company that owns the area. When the protagonists learn this, the cult tries to kidnap them. They flee incognito, eventually making it to the moon (where they encounter an annoying food droid "pushing prune whip," as the man puts it). They manage to make it back to the corporate headquarters and work to interrupt the cult's drug supply, eventually leaving to the group's downfall.

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Return to Earth by H.M. Hoover:

In a future world a diplomat returns to Earth to retire and finds himself involved in political intrigue and a disquieting friendship with a young girl.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, The University of Chicago Press, May 1980, Number 9:

A deftly constructed and nicely paced science fiction story is set in the year 3307, when Galen Innes, administrator of another planet, comes back to an earth governed by corporations, and meets the heiress to one of the most powerful of these, Samara. When her mother, director of the corporation, is killed and Samara and Galen are captured and taken to a desert to die, it is clear that the Dolmen, leader of a religious cult, has become more powerful and more ambitious than anyone had realized. Escaping, Samara and Galen fly to a moon colony to rest and plan their strategy; they return to earth, and use wit and wiles rather than confrontation to weaken the Dolmen's power.

  • Can you explain how this matches other than that it has an older man and a younger girl? – FuzzyBoots Oct 17 '17 at 20:32
  • For what it's worth, this is the answer. I remember the name now. – Buzz Oct 17 '17 at 20:45
  • @Ayshe: My apologies for edit clashing. I hope that the latest one is more in line with what you wish to say. I just added some links and proper formatting – FuzzyBoots Oct 17 '17 at 21:12
  • @FuzzyBoots: No worries and yes, it is, thank you. – Ayshe Oct 18 '17 at 9:38

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