I read “Kane and Abel” more than twenty years ago when I was still at college. Jeffrey Archer was one of the popular authors and this book was one of the most sought after. It must have been amongst the first few books that I enjoyed in popular English writing. When I started the blog, I wanted to write about the book but my memory of the whole story was very hazy and I did not want to do a poor copy-paste job with content from wiki. I finally read the book again last year and enjoyed it once again thoroughly.
This is a story of two men separated by distance, heritage, culture, upbringing but united in their destiny. One of them is born in Russia in very poor family and the other is born in United States with silver spoon. Both the men create their fortunes through grit and determination but are each other’s sworn enemies due to wrong information about each other. On top of that their children end up falling in love with each other. In the end everything falls in place but the story keeps you engaged till the end.
There are many sequences and characters that you like more than the main story and the protagonists. Abel’s friend George or his daughter Florentyna’s Governess really take you by surprise. They are shown as simple people but fiercely loyal and proud. Similarly, Kane’s love story and how he proposes to his wife and gets married is really interesting. Love and chivalry at its best. Another interesting sequence was where Abel tries to correct his daughter’s behaviour with help of her Governess and does not take his daughter’s side against his employees.
It is a great book to read with true heroes who show once again that grit, determination and strong character always pays you and even though there may be some bad people in the world, you will still find good people who will help you in tough times.
I also ended up reading the sequel “The Prodigal Daughter” but I will get to that story some other time.
I love to hate Jeffrey Archer. His ability to leave each chapter at a point where you want to read next chapter makes it difficult to put down any book written by him. But what can you do if he leaves his book at such point and you do not know when the next book in the series will come out. “The Sins of the Father” is the second book in “The Clifton Chronicles”. I had read the first book “Only Time will Tell” last year and waiting for second book was really difficult. But this time the book ends at real suspense.
In this sequel, Harry gets jail term in US for the crime he did not commit whereas his family in England believes that he died on the sea. But Harry’s girl friend Emma travels to US to find about Harry and finally manages to not only locate him but also gets him his due as a writer. This book ends when the question of inheritance had to be decided between Harry and his best friend Giles who could also be his brother.
I have really liked the character of Emma and Harry’s mother Maisie. Both of them are portrayed as strong woman who face hardships and dilemmas in life but their determination, hard work and common sense helps them to overcome all the odds in life. The character of Hugo Barrington is in different league altogether. He is portrayed as real villain doing everything with evil intent.
Most of all, I like the style of Archer’s writing. Each chapter is written from a particular character’s viewpoint and story moves back and forward depending on the time they are living in. The characters do not have grey shades. It is either good or bad. That makes the story very simplistic but the author has used the vast narrative to still keep it very engaging. Now a long wait for the next book to come.
I guess the author Jeffrey Archer had written this book after his stay in the prison and hence it is really good in details about the prison life. “A Prisoner of Birth” is a murder, suspense and legal thriller all combined into one. Written in usual Archer style, this book is difficult to put down once you start reading it.
The story is about Danny who is convicted of his friend’s murder that he has not committed and sent to life sentence in prison. Here in prison he makes friends with two people one of whom has a striking resemblance to him. He prepares himself in prison to fight his case again and at the same time starts learning more about Sir Nicholas who looks like him. With many twists and turns in the story, he is able to escape the prison, get the wealth of Sir Nicholas who died in prison and is also able to clear his name of the murder so that he is able to unite with his girl friend and child.
Some of the things that I really liked in the story are related to prison life. The author has been able to provide all the details about inside of prison. I also liked the character of his lawyer and then lawyer’s father who eventually wins the case for him. It is shown how the vast experience of senior lawyer comes to his rescue. The courtroom drama is amazingly portrayed. I also liked the relationship between Danny and his girl friend. It is very simple and not overtly romantic but the girl friends stands behind him through all the trials and tribulations.
It is so good to be back to write on blog once again and what better than writing about Jeffrey Archer’s “Only Time Will Tell”. According to author he is attempting something bigger than “Kane And Abel” this time and that is really something. The book is about life of Harry Clifton and in this first part it traverses his life from birth till around 20 years when he goes for world war II and escapes to US. I was probably expecting it to end at more logical point and I was really left for wanting more when it suddenly ended with Harry being captured by Police for crime he had not done on landing in US. That is typical of Archer’s style.
The book not only is a great story of perseverance of Harry and his mother Maisie but it captures the life and times of UK in that era beautifully. The concepts like fight between rich and poor, child or unwed mother, grit and determination of mother for her child, small society getting together to help precocious child are age-old and have been used in so many books. So it is the style of writing which has to keep you binding to the story and still keeps your interest alive at each chapter. You can almost feel the situations that Harry goes through in his life.
Another interesting aspect is how author has developed other characters as well in the book besides Harry and his mother. Old Jack and Emma are as essential to the story as are various teachers who influence Harry’s life. The fight is still between right and wrong, good and bad but then there are lines that get blurred. There are sensitive situations of Harry and Emma’s relationship that are expertly handled. I am surely looking forward to the next one in this series
I found this book to be of slightly different nature amongst many of the fictional books that Jeffrey Archer has written. He is known for writing thrillers with a twist which do not fall under fast paced suspense thrillers but still keep you hooked till the end. This book is different as the thrill and twist factor is missing here. It is one of the very simple story of a fruit and vegetable vendor or as Jeffrey Archer calls it “Barrow Costermonger” who goes on to create the biggest retailing business empire.
The character of Charlie is of most simple man who just wants to buy biggest Barrow in the world to sell his fruits and vegetables. Eventually, he ends up doing it as he creates biggest retailing empire. He is shown as a very nice guy and he meets in life some very nice people who help him in his business venture. The beauty of this book lies in its simplicity. How Charlie rises from being a barrow owner to a shop and then to expanding his business looks so simple from Charlie’s point of view that you feel that it was the most natural thing to happen in the world.
There is some twist in the story in the end related to the family succession but it all ends well in the end. The best part in the book is of-course in the end, when Charlie goes back to selling fruits and vegetables on a barrow because that is what he likes doing and that is what he is best at.
This is a very feel good story which brings up lot of hope for life, honesty and hard work. You need to have good common sense and not all the degrees in the world to be successful in life in whatever you do.