Friday, 29 March 2013

The Best of Jeffrey Archer

Jeffrey Archer has written two undeniable masterpieces, listed below as items 1 and 4. I have read several books by Archer, his collection of short stories as well as the books he wrote when he was in prison. But among all his books, these two caught my attention. For the sake of completion of the trilogy which started off with Kane and Abel, I have listed two other books which may catch your interest.

  1. Kane and Abel
  2. The Prodigal Daughter
  3. Shall We Tell the President
  4. A Prisoner of Birth

Kane and Abel
First and foremost, Kane and Abel is a must read for every single person out there. In my opinion, it is the best and yet, most simplest work by Archer. It is the first of the trilogy, which ends with item 3 in the list above.
A marvellous book revolving around two men, who were different in every manner except their day of birth and the zeal to succeed in life, it tells their stories in a gripping manner. Born on the opposite sides of the world, they are brought together by fate and a quest of a dream. To keep the readers hooked, Archer ensures that the two protagonists of the book are locked in a spiteful struggle to defeat the other and expand one's empire, thus making you, willingly or not, choose your favourite. It's a tough battle, trust me, but that makes the book a whole lot special.
This book has it all - thrill, mystery, drama, contemporary, historical fiction et al. It will take you through struggles, jealousy, hatred, love, inaccurate assumptions and misunderstandings, success and wealth, coincidences and accidents, and Life.

The Prodigal Daughter
This is the sequel to Kane and Abel. Another good book, but does not compete with its predecessor by a long shot. It depicts the struggles of Florentyna, daughter of Abel, as she sets the highest target for herself and strives to achieve it. This book depicts the difficulties faced by a working mother, how she tries to balance life and work and cope with the problems faced by her family while juggling the her business.
I found the book to be very drawn out, almost as if Archer wanted to meet some total page count requirement. It includes quite a bit of information on the political system and a great deal of historical fiction as well, since Archer used a lot of history and tied in actual names and historical occurrences within the fictional story.

Shall We Tell the President
This is a weird one. It was actually released before the above two books, with Ted Kennedy as the main role. But due to the success of the above two books in the years, it was rewritten and the main role was changed to include a character from the previous book to play as the main role instead.
This one, I haven't read yet, but since it was made a part of the trilogy, I doubt anyone would let it pass after completing the first two books. I don't have high hopes from this one though since it was added to the trilogy only due to the success of the first two books.

Truth be told, I would strongly recommend Kane and Abel only, in this trilogy. Having read The Prodigal Daughter, I wouldn't rule it out as a good read, but going from Kane and Abel to The Prodigal Daughter is a big disappointment.

A Prisoner of Birth
This is one of my favourites as well. You must know that I am huge fan of courtroom drama-mystery-thriller books. This one had them all, in a perfect mix too. I can recollect the book lucidly as I write this, it's a great book.
It is like reading The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, but with the events happening in the 20th century context. The initial half of the book is spent in depicting the event concerning the plot of the book and the legal discourse associated with it, while the later half is spent on planning and exacting revenge on the culprits (not exactly halves, but you get the picture...if you don't, read the book).
Aside from some very lucky coincidences happening to the protagonist, this book has no flaws and is a page-turner.

A list of other books from Archer that I plan on reading are:
  • Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less
  • As the Crow Flies
  • The Clifton Chronicles books
Some of his other books are either very similar in plot to the books listed above or are of the political drama genre and those tend to get too boring at times.

Happy Reading!