Four Stars (of five)
Archer’s heptalogy continues with the fourth instalment of the Clifton Chronicles. The novel opens hoping to resolve the major cliffhanger after Sebastian is in a major car accident and someone has died. Harry and Emma rush to the hospital to get the news, which changes their lives forever. Emma cannot sit by idly as Barrington Shipping’s chairman resigns, leaving her the opportunity to fill the void. Don Pedro Martinez, a powerful new enemy of the Cliftons, uses his company shares in an attempt to place a hand-picked candidate in the chairmanship. While Barrington Shipping seeks to build its new luxury liner, the MV Buckingham, Martinez proves the masterful saboteur in hopes of bringing the company to its knees as a final act of vindication. All the while, Harry and Emma’s other child, Jessica, is making a name for herself in the art world and finding love in all the right places. That is, until another old rival, Lady Virginia Fenwick opens old wounds in an attempt to derail any happy future for Jessica and her extended family. Archer pits Martinez and Fenick against the Clifton and Barrington families in a set of adventures that will keep the reader wondering how long the fast-paced action can continue. Complete with another stunning Archer cliffhanger, the novel ends just as the reader is hopeless hooked. When Archer’s in control, anything is possible.
Archer continues the story so effectively, adding characters and plot lines at every turn. The story never stops and even the minor branch-offs prove highly entertaining and develop the ever-growing list of individuals whose lives become intertwined with the Cliftons and Barringtons. Archer’s constant development of ideas set against historical events proves seamless, though he uses said events only in passing, unlike Follett or Rutherfurd in their respective multi-generational series.
Kudos, Lord Archer for another stellar piece of work. Onwards to see what else you have in store.