“In Jeffrey Archer’s masterful hands, you will be taken on a journey that you won’t want to end, even after you’ve turned the last page of this unforgettable yarn…” says the Book’s Back Cover.
That’s so true. Minutes after reading the 388 pages on two two-hour flights, I was already hoping that the sequel would be written up quickly!
In a unique experiment, the story of the Cliftons and Barringtons – set between the first and the second world wars – has been told by six different characters from their own perspectives.
With his latest book, Jeffrey Archer does full justice to the phrases, “rapid page turner” and “unputdownable” once more, with a series of twists and suspense.
Here are some interesting lines from the Book:
Miss Monday, our choir mistress, warned me that men only wanted one thing, and once they’d got it, they quickly lost interest. I often wondered if Miss Monday spoke from experience.
My grandpa rarely offered an opinion on anything, but then he was deaf as a post so he might not have heard the question in the first place.
I was sent to Merrywood Elementary when I was six and I thought it was a complete waste of time. What was the point of school when I could learn all I needed to at the docks?
I could go for days without being found out, as long as I avoided coal barges and was standing by the school gate at four o’clock every afternoon, my mother would never be any the wiser.
On Sundays I was transported into another world, but I feared this state of delirium could not last forever.
This daily routine in the Clifton household never varied. When you’ve only got one outside privy, one sink and one towel, order becomes a necessity.
How different he was from Uncle Stan, who repeated the little he knew again and again, whereas Old Jack introduced Harry to new words, new experiences, even new worlds every week.
‘No,’ chuckled Old Jack, amused by how quickly Harry’s inquisitive mind could switch from subject to subject.
During the next term, with the aid of the candle, he studied for hours that until then he hadn’t realised existed.
“If you run away every time you come up against the Fishers of this world, you’ll end up like me, one of life’s also rans”
Sometimes it’s an advantage to be disadvantaged.
“One thing is for certain, BGS aren’t going to offer me a choral scholarship while I am like a horse with broken leg,” said Harry. “Snap out of it,” said Old Jack, “It’s not that bad.” “It’s worse,” said Harry, “If I was a horse, they’d shoot me and put me out of my misery.”
Parents, Maisie, had learnt over the years, may be considered an unfortunate necessity by their offspring, but more often than not they are also an embarrassment.
Elizabeth retreated into the comparative safety of silence, as she had so often done recently.
“And be warned, if Mr Hugo has made up his mind, it will take more than Giles to shift him”
“The English are the biggest snobs on earth, and most of the time without reason. The lesser the talent, the bigger the snob, in my experience. It’s the only way the so-called upper classes can hope to survive. Be warned, my boy, they don’t care for upstarts like you who barge into their club without an invitation.”
He cared nothing for worldly goods, and shared even the little he had with those less fortunate than himself. If he were to be canonized, he would surely be the patron saint of vagabonds.
As a child, he remembered asking his father why he always travelled third class, to which he had replied, “Because there isn’t a fourth class.”
No son could have asked for a better mentor or friend. When he looked back on his life, all his actions, judgements and decisions were nothing more than a pale imitation of his father’s.
If you make a deal with a fool, don’t be surprised when they act foolishly.
“I’m not in the habit of travelling third class,” said Giles as the train pulled out of Temple Meads. “Well, you’d better get used to it while I’m paying,” said Harry.
“You’re rather good at this,” said Harry. “I do have a built-in advantage,” said Giles. “I am my father’s son.”
We are always the importunate suitor, and in the end we will be spurned.
He could have taken the easy way out and simply declined our invitation to the wedding, but Victoria Cross winners don’t walk away.
Some people stand by you in your darkest hour, while others walk away; only a select few march towards you and become even closer friends.
It may have been inconsiderate of me not to respond to those who had only kindness in their hearts, but sometimes an abundance of sympathy can be more overwhelming than solitude.
By the time Harry had reached the front of the queue he’d been reminded of who had given him his boundless energy, uncritical enthusiasm and a spirit that didn’t contemplate defeat. How would he ever be able to repay this remarkable woman for all the sacrifices she had made.
I find I don’t learn a lot while I’m talking.
Harry followed in the captain’s wake, aware that a dozen suspicious eyes were watching his every move.
“By the way, Mr Bradshaw,” said Havens, “one of our tasks on this voyage will be to teach this young pup everything we know, so that when we return to Bristol in a month’s time the crew of HMS Resolution will mistake him for an old sea dog.”
He didn’t even have a wash basin to be sick in, or a pot hole to be sick out of.
Jim Patterson’s ghostly complexion made him look as if he’d spent most of his life below decks, and his paunch suggested he spent the rest of the time eating.
What impressed him most about the lad was that he never asked the same question twice.
After ten days at sea, the captain was almost hoping for a storm, not only to stop the endless questions but also to see if there was anything that could throw this young man off his stride.
“Mr Clifton, keep your eyes peeled and tell me the moment you spot anything.”
Dressed in Richard’s sports jacket and shirt, a little too large, the captain’s Bermuda shorts, a little too long, and the doctor’s shoes and socks, a little too tight, Harry couldn’t wait to go ashore.