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Having just finished reading Jeffrey Archers Prison Diaries, which I found to be informative and an fascinating insight to the life of a prisoner, I decided to pick up a copy of the book which he mentions he was editing whilst serving his time - Sons of Fortune.
I managed to find a copy for 20p at a local boot fair and am currently working my way through it and I have to say, as is often the case with Archer's books, I am thoroughly enjoying it. Despite seemingly being a bit of a scoundrel, there can be no doubt that Archer is a fantastic story-teller and is able to conceive wonderfully crafted naratives that encompass several strands entwined in a very gripping and extremely readable way. This has been the case in several of his novels and once again is the case here.
The plot centres around the parallel lives of twin brothers who come to be separated at birth and go on to both live successful lives. We follow them through high school on university and into their working lives as they make friends, find girlfriends, get married, start families and progress up the career ladder.
The two seemingly separate lives gradually become intertwined as events and fate unfold...what will the outcome be?
I have to say I don't know as yet what the outcome is as I have not finished the book but I can safely say that (as much as I hate the phrase) this is a real page-turner of a book! At the weekend I sat out in the garden enjoying the last of the good weather and read solidly for ages, the story is so gripping and good to read that it held my attention with ease. And I can't wait to get to bed each evening as I tend to read before going to sleep and this book is making that time very enjoyable!
Inside the front cover there are several quote from newpaper reviews, all of them extolling Archer as a great writer and story-teller and I have to say I agree with them. If you like a gripping and very readable book you could certainly do a lot, lot worse than this!
If you are an Archer fan already but have not read this, or if you are just a fan of a good story I would definitely say that you ought to give this book a try!
Jeffrey Archer is an infamous man, throughout his somewhat dubious political career there has been no doubt that he could write, readable, gripping and popular books. So when I came across his new offering, I read the blurb on the back and was really looking forward to a good story. Now if this had been the first Archer book I have ever read that is what I would have got. The plot in brief is two mothers gave birth at the same time, one to healthy twins and the other to a little boy who did not survive the night. As one of the nurses in the hospital was due to become nanny to the only child, whose parents were incredibly wealthy she switched the babies with one of the twins. So the two boys grew up separately from completely different financial backgrounds, but both end up in competing private schools (one on a scholarship) and have an overlapping circle of friends, including both falling for the same girl. Throughout all of this they do not meet, until one of the brothers is on trial for a murder he did not commit and the other defends him. They eventually end up fighting for the same political office as governor of the state. As with many of the Archer offerings there is a lot of what he knows in the book, private school, university entrance exams, election campaigns, that sort of thing. The problem is, we?ve heard it all before. There is a section in the book relating to bank takeover ? Kane and Able was centred around a similar thing. There are whole paragraphs in the book that could be exchanged with paragraphs from the Prodigal Daughter when they are in the midst of an election campaign and frankly if you changed the names no one would notice the difference. There are some elements of originality in the book, one of the brothers marries a Korean lady that he met during the Vietnam war, and she has a secret that naturally comes ou
t in the midst of the election campaign. This causes real problems for the family and ultimately ends in the murder, mentioned above. The brothers eventually find out about the switch towards the end of the book, when one needs to give blood to save the other. The book is very typical of Archer he uses the same phrases that we come across in many of his other books, ?He knew he would love her for the rest of his life?, being one of his favourites. The idea behind this book is good but I do feel that he could have made more of it, the brother issue only really accounted for a chapter of it at most, there were some good links between the two lives but again I think that could have gone further to make the brother issue more relevant. All in all this is an ok book, not great but if you have never read an Archer book before its as good as any to start with, although he has most definitely written better, and 4 years in prison with nothing to do but write I do think this is lacking in imagination. Current availability at Amazon at £5.59. Capital letters courtesy of: http://www.chuckleweb.co.uk/fixit.php
It is Greenwich, Connecticut, in the early 1950's, and a set of twins is separated at birth by a desperate nurse. The author of Sons of Fortune, Jeffrey Archer, is one of the most controversial figures of our age, both as a man and a writer. Jeffrey Archer triumphed over a well-publicised series of disasters to become one of the bestselling writers of the century, and a millionaire several times over. All his mishaps (both financial and personal) merely added to the public image of a writer as one of the great survivors--a man who took all the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and bounced back. His books were always his salvation--many readers were spellbound by his narrative abilities. In fact, Sons of Fortune has encomiums by four newspapers praising the author.