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Sunday, March 08, 2015

“Mightier than Sword” – A book review

This is the 5th Part of Clifton Chronicles, by the internationally acclaimed thriller novelist and bestselling author, Jeffrey Archer. As I hadn’t read the earlier parts, the dramatic opening of the novel with an IRA bomb exploding during the MV Buckingham’s maiden voyage across the Atlantic really confused me.

The novel revolves round
1.       Harry Clifton, the newly elected president of English PEN who launches a campaign for the release of a fellow author Anatoly Babakov, who is imprisoned in Siberia for a writing a book called “Uncle Joe”, the release of which is feared to seriously damage the iconic image of Stalin.

2.       Emma, wife of Harry Clifton, the chairman of Barrington Shipping that owns MV Buckingham.

3.       Sir Giles Barrington, the brother of Emma, a minister of the British Crown, whose diplomatic mission to Berlin didn’t end as a success and his political career is being challenged by his old adversary, Major Alex Fisher.

4.       Lady Virginia Fenwick, the former wife of Sir Giles Barrington, never giving up her efforts to bring down Emma from her position as Chairman of Barrington Shipping.

5.       Sebastian, the son of Emma and Harry, making a name for himself in banking and his beta noire, Adrian Sloane who wouldn’t stop at anything, to ruin Sebastian. There is a minor plot about the American Samantha with whom Sebastian was in love; but Samantha walks out because she doesn’t consider Sebastian to be a man of his words.

The novel plays around the on and off the courtroom battles between Emma and Lady Virginia to take control of the Board of Barrington Shipping and the battle between Adrian Sloane and Sebastian to control the bank that was taken over by Adrian Sloane using cruel and dubious means, even while Harry tries to get Babkov released from the prison. The novel takes a reader to London, Bristol, New York, and Berlin, before the collapse of the German Wall.

The first several pages of the novel appeared dragging to me, but then Archer gets control of the flow soon. The plots and counterplots thickens and intrigues, keeping a reader engrossed. However, a clever reader can make a reasonable guess of what is to happen. But the last para of the novel was something that baffled me and left wondering what really happened. A very important letter, written by Fisher, which could possibly compel the juries to come to an agreement in the libel case filed in the court by Lady Virginia against Emma, and carefully preserved from others seeing it by the Emma’s lawyer is found in the hands of Virginia’s lawyers. How come and what happened,I didn’t understand. Probably, I need to wait for reading the Clifton Chronicle 6 to understand.

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