Book Review: This was a Man, by Jeffrey Archer

Available now from bookshops nationwide.

cv_this_was_a_manThis is the final volume of the Clifton Chronicles. I felt rather sad when I finished reading this book as it was like saying good-bye to old friends.

Jeffrey Archer is a master story teller with many awards and accolades under his belt. This was a Man continues the story of the Barrington and Clifton families during the 1970’s.

The trigger is pulled and the victim dies instantly. Two bodies fall but one survives as she only fainted. Karin Barrington is lifted onto a stretcher and airlifted by helicopter to a private hospital in Turo.

Giles Barrington is informed of the shooting and told that John Pengelly, Karin’s “father” is no longer a threat. John Pengelly’s blackmailing of Karin and the hold he had over her are gone.

Emma Clifton is campaigning for Margaret Thatcher at the next election. When Thatcher wins, a surprise is in store for Emma – a very flattering offer that she can’t turn down from the newly elected Prime Minister. Emma has spent 10 years as Chairman of the Bristol Royal Infirmary and the experience she has gained, stands her in good stead for the new appointment and the challenges ahead.

Sebastian and Samantha Clifton’s very talented daughter Jessica is admitted to the Slade School of Fine Art and soon becomes infatuated with a fellow student Brazilian Paulo Reinaldo. Where does this leave Jessica?

Lady Virginia Fenwick continues to wreak havoc wherever she goes. Trying to raise funds for her continuing extravagant lifestyle she hones in on the newly widowed Duke of Hertford. Her wiliness and ingenuity is unbelievable as she limps from one financial crisis to another. She engineers the Duke into proposing and marrying her. However, her financial woes don’t stop there. Lady Virginia’s personality is one that attracts trouble wherever she goes.

Reading this book over the Christmas/New Year break I found it hard to put down, but I had to as having family to stay it would have been incredibly rude to have ignored them all so I could find out “what happens”. A fitting and sad end to a great series.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

This was a Man
by Jeffrey Archer
Published by Macmillan
ISBN 9781447252245

Book Review: Cometh the Hour, by Jeffrey Archer

cv_cometh_the_hourAvailable now in bookshops nationwide.

Jeffrey Archer has topped bestseller lists around the world, with sales totalling over 270 million copies of his books. His novels and short stories include Kane and Abel, A Prisoner of Birth and Cat O’ Nine Tales. He is the only author ever to have been a number one bestseller in fiction (nineteen times), short stories (four times) and non-fiction (The Prison Diaries).

Cometh the Hour is the sixth book in The Clifton Chronicles series with the seventh, This was a Man, due to be published later this year. I reviewed Mightier than the Sword, the fifth in the series last year for this blog, here.

I have read the previous books in this series so eagerly awaited the arrival of this one, and I was not disappointed. Jeffrey Archer captures the reader’s attention with a ripping good yarn, leaving me drooling in anticipation of the next instalment.

This book continues with the story of the Barrington and the Clifton families in the 1970s. The jury was out. The judge had asked the seven men and five women to make one final effort to reach a verdict. Emma Clifton (nee Barrington), Chairman of Barrington Shipping has been charged with libel. A suicide note from Major Alexander Fisher can clear her, but she won’t hear of it being read out in court, fearing the consequences.

Meanwhile, Emma’s husband Harry continues his campaign to have Anatoly Babakov released from a Russian jail and his book, Uncle Joe (about working for Stalin), finally published. Harry is working hard also to reunite Anatoly with his wife Yelena. Will he succeed?

Emma and Harry’s son Sebastian is still in love with his former partner Samantha and struggles to find peace within himself. So when he finds out that Samantha is finally free of her marriage, he sets about reuniting with her and getting to know his daughter Jessica.

Meanwhile, Emma’s brother Sir Giles Barrington falls in love with a Russian girl, Karin  – supposedly born to a Russian mother and a Scottish father. Is she genuine?

Lady Virginia Fenwick, Sir Giles’ ex-wife and daughter of the Earl of Fenwick is a socialite with a very extravagant lifestyle, and she is finding it difficult to manage on the very generous monthly allowance from her father. After selling her car and other personal items to raise money, she becomes desperate, and devises a scheme of entrapment.

I loved this book, the characters were fascinating , and it was terribly hard to put down. I can’t wait for the final book in this series to be released in November 2016.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Cometh the Hour
by Jeffrey Archer
Published by Macmillan
ISBN 9781447252191

Book Review: Mightier than the Sword, by Jeffrey Archer

Available at bookstores nationwide.

Jeffrey Archer has topped the bestseller lists around the wocv_mightier_than_the_swordrld, with sales totalling over 270 million copies. His novels and short stories include Kane and Abel, A Prisoner of Birth and Cat O’ Nine Tales. He is the only author ever to have been a number one bestseller in fiction (eighteen times) short stories (four times) and non-fiction (The Prison Diaries).

I have read many Jeffrey Archer books over the years, and realised after finishing this that I had read most of the earlier books in this series. This is the fifth novel in The Clifton Chronicles series, but is accessible as a stand-alone story.

A bomb is planted by the IRA during the maiden voyage of the MV Buckingham across the Atlantic. Emma Clifton (formerly Barrington) is the chairman of Barrington Shipping and between her and other board members they decide to release a story to the press that the Home Fleet were carrying out night-time exercises in the Atlantic and although they were several nautical miles away, on a clear night they would have sounded considerably closer.

Meanwhile, Emma Clifton’s husband Harry (a writer) visits his publisher in New York and learns he has been elected as the new president of English PEN. He has always been a supporter of Russian author Anatoly Babakov, who is imprisoned in Siberia, so becomes determined to use his new position to try to get Anatoly released from prison.

Emma and Harry’s son Sebastian works for Farthing’s Bank. He falls in love with an American girl, Samatha, whom he met on the maiden voyage of the MV Buckingham. We follow their relationship as it blossoms.

Elsewhere in the family, Emma’s brother, Sir Giles Barrington is a minister of the Crown. He has a number of adversaries, one being Major Alex Fisher, who once stood against him at an election.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I didn’t take it too seriously – it doesn’t really matter if you haven’t read the previous four books in this series. It’s a good yarn, Jeffrey Archer fans will enjoy it.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

Mightier than the Sword
by Jeffrey Archer
Published by Macmillan
ISBN 9780230748262