Anyone can be a good winner. The sign of a great man is how you handle defeat.
The third instalment of the Clifton Chronicles turns out to be as mesmerising as promised, with a flawlessly written story and enchanting characters coupled with a killer cliffhanger for an ending.
The book begins directly where Sins of The Father left out, with the House of Lords stuck in a tie as to who should inherit the Barrington fortune. (Archer seems to love tied voting situations. Reminds me of the epic square off in the Sons of Fortune and the hung jury in A Prisoner of Birth.) After a startling decision by the Lord Chancellor, Harry returns to America to try to earn a spot in the top 15 of the bestseller list, while Emma departs to search for the little girl found in Hugo's office the night he was killed. Giles returns to contest for a seat as an MP of Bristol Docklands and young Sebastian returns to school in hopes of earning a scholarship to Cambridge. But then, when do things go as planned? Sebastian is rusticated from school for his...ahem...'indiscretions'....
'He was caught drinking in his study with a serving maid.'
And that was considered worthy of rustication?'
I might have turned a blind eye, as it was last week of the term, but unfortunately neither of them had any clothes on.'
.....and he unwittingly becomes embroiled in an international art fraud. The book ends with a damning cliffy which would ultimately decide the fate of the Cliftons.
The book kept me on an edge from start to finish and at times had me marvelling at Archer's ingenuousness.
Best I have read in a while. Carefully thought out and perfectly executed with high doses of suspense and drama that kept me hooked on till the end.
*spoiler* pg 123- Elizabeth Barrington was one formidably lady, a force to be reckoned with. For readers who don't know any more Latin than Occultus Regere (like me), Elizabeth wanted the judge to know she was in her right mind when she made the second will. Compost Mentis is the anagram of Common pests I which literally means in my right mind. Only Archer could have thought of that little bit of genius.
Awesome as always. I particularly liked Sebastian- rebellious but not arrogant, definitely not family disowning or prejudiced, loyal and intelligent, quite a charmer. Giles married a cunt though- Lady Virginia was bitchiness redefined. Fischer also makes an interesting comeback to settle old scores.
Apt, to the point, distinctly British and quite flawless, as is characteristic of Jeffrey Archer.
Had my jaws on the floor for several seconds before I bothered to pick it back up, read the page again and repeated the procedure. Definitely had me begging for more!
So, a gripping tale, filled with action, intrigue, drama and suspense earns a well deserved 4/5 rating! Highly recommended for thriller/mystery enthusiasts!