It is pretty evident for regular readers of this blog that I am quite a Jeffrey Archer fan. So it does make sense to list out my favourite books of his. Do note, I do not dislike any of the others. Just that these four books have stayed with me for a long time after that last page was flipped over.
Tell Tale, is a fascinating collection of 14 stories, of people from across eras and far-fetched places. Having read Quiver Full of Arrows, his earlier story collection, I was eager to pick up his short stories again. And, I must say, I wasn’t disappointed in any way. The stories range from simple crime to whodunit pieces, to stories on life, a man’s hard work and, on infidelity. Archer readers may find the stories familiar (I blame it on Archer’s style of writing). But, trust me, the unexpected ending of each of the stories would ensure any such familiarity fades away.
A couple of standouts existed for me. I loved A Wasted House, where a young woman attending Stanford, hitchhikes a ride from an elderly man. The pleasantly interactive journey turns out to be a memorable one for her, with the most unexpected revelation. Who killed the Mayor was another tale that kept me hooked right until the final twist. With the unexpected endings, smooth flow of words and strong main characters, Tell Tale serves as a delightful book. If you seek a quick read, this book would be a good pick.
Kane and Abel
Jeffrey Archer surely has woven magic in Kane and Abel (the story has nothing to do with the Biblical Cain and Abel). This book has it all- history, romance, suspense and drama. Kane and Able is a masterpiece, all with its well-developed story line that draw you right into each page. It is the story of William Kane and Abel Rosnovski. They were both born on the same day in different parts of the world, totally unrelated. The two are distinctly apart, yet similar in many ways.
Where William is the son of a Boston based Billionaire, Abel is a poor Polish immigrant out in the world seeking fortune. And when fate makes their paths cross, there is hatred, and an all-consuming rage to build their empire. Who succeeds? Do they learn to survive or is it the inevitable-of destroying each other? The book is today considered an international success. Despite over 30 years of its release, it is still among the top on the New York Times best-seller list and among the top 100 list of best-selling books in the world. The sequel to Kane and Abel is The Prodigal Daughter, in which Florentyna Kane is the protagonist.
Sons of Fortune
Sons of Fortune is the story of twin brothers separated at birth, but when fate brings them together, they are rivals ready to rip each other apart. The plot of this book may seem similar in many a ways to Kane and Abel, but trust me, the ending will take you by storm. In typical Archer style the plot goes through its highs and lows, making this a lovely page turner.
Heads You Win
Heads You Win is a typical Jeffrey Archer fiction. He has this ability to build in a certain momentum towards the end leading up to the most unexpected final twist. Heads You Win comes with one such twist that will take you by storm. Cleverly executed in true Archer style. A tightly woven drama, with politics and history thrown in here and there, makes the book a pretty intense read. It is Leningrad, Russia and the year is 1968.
Alexander Karpenko the smart and intelligent young boy grows up in the warmth and care of his parents, living and learning like all teenagers around. But his content world is to be shattered soon, when his father is assassinated by the KGB. At stake are two lives- his and his mother’s. And before it is too late, they must leave the country. Their only way out is by sneaking into cargo containers that leave the shores of Russia. At a crucial crossroad, Alexander needs to decide- should he take the container that’s heading towards Britain or the one that’s America bound? How would his life turn out to be if he chose one country over the other? On the toss of a coin, his decision is made. From Leningrad, the two flee across the sea to find a new life. Over the next three decades, Alexander’s life is strewn with triumphs, failures, love and loss.
The beauty of this book lies in the dual story placed side by side. In alternate chapters, readers follow each of Alexander’s choices – Britain and America. So you have two distinct stories running simultaneously. Much as it may sound complex to have two points of views being portrayed together in one book, I must say it didn’t leave me confused. Nor did I find myself flipping pages back and forth. It all blended in so flawlessly that despite the plot progressing in a slow pace, my reading continued. Both lives of Alexander are laden with triumphs and defeats as he attempts to bury his past and accept his life as an immigrant.
Do you have a favourite Jeffrey Archer to add to this list?