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Kane and Abel

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Overview

On April 15, 1906, two baby boys entered the world. One was born to a life of prosperity and ease, the other to a world of hardship and struggle. On different sides of the globe, they grew up - one shaped by a luxurious upbringing, fine schools, and a history he read; the other well tempered by war, slavery and the history he was part of.

William Lowell Kane, scion of a Boston banking family, and Abel Rosnovski, penniless Polish immigrant - one is gold, the other steel. ...

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Kane and Abel

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Overview

On April 15, 1906, two baby boys entered the world. One was born to a life of prosperity and ease, the other to a world of hardship and struggle. On different sides of the globe, they grew up - one shaped by a luxurious upbringing, fine schools, and a history he read; the other well tempered by war, slavery and the history he was part of.

William Lowell Kane, scion of a Boston banking family, and Abel Rosnovski, penniless Polish immigrant - one is gold, the other steel. Rosnovski is Kane's ultimate adversary, while Kane embodies everything that Rosnovski stands against. In their relentless battle, both men know that there can be only one victor - and one vanquished.

Across three generations and around a rapidly changing world, their war rages unchecked, for the love of a dream, the loss of an empire, and the lure of a fortune.

Two men, born on the same day into different worlds, both rise to success and fame -- but neither will be happy until the other is destroyed

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A master at mixing power, politics, and profit into fiction.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Archer is a master entertainer.” —Time

“One of the top ten storytellers in the world.” —Los Angeles Times

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312942724
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/3/2009
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: 30th Anniversary Edition
  • Edition number: 30
  • Pages: 653
  • Sales rank: 91,463
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey Archer

Jeffrey Archer was educated at Oxford University. He became the youngest member of the House of Commons in 1969, was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party in 1985, and was elevated to the House of Lords in 1992. All of his novels and short story collections - including Kane and Abel, Honor Among Thieves, and To Cut a Long Story Short - have been international bestsellers, selling over 120 million copies worldwide. Archer is married with two children and lives in England.

Biography

Few contemporary writers can lay claim to as many career highs and lows as Jeffrey Archer -- bestselling novelist, disgraced politician, British peer, convicted perjurer, and former jailbird. And whether you view his misfortunes as bad luck or well-deserved comeuppance depends largely on how you feel about this gregarious, fast-talking force of nature.

Born in London and raised in Somerset, Archer attended Wellington School and worked at a succession of jobs before being hired to teach Physical Education at Dover College. He gained admission to Brasenose College at Oxford, where he distinguished himself as a first-class sprinter and a tireless promoter, famously inveigling the Beatles into supporting a fundraising drive he spearheaded on behalf of the then-obscure charity Oxfam.

After leaving Oxford, Archer continued work as a fundraiser and ran successfully for political office. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1969 but was forced to step down in 1974 when he lost his fortune in a fraudulent investment scheme. He turned to writing in order to stave off bankruptcy. His first novel, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, was published in 1976 and became an instant hit. It was followed, in quick succession, by a string of bestsellers, including his most famous novel, Kane and Abel (1979), which was subsequently turned into a blockbuster CBS-TV miniseries.

On the strength of his literary celebrity, Archer revived his political career in 1985, serving as Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The following year he was forced to resign over a scandal involving payment to a London prostitute. (He admitted paying the money, but denied vehemently that it was for sex.) In 1987, he sued a British tabloid for libel and was awarded damages in the amount of 500,000 pounds.

Despite the adverse publicity, Queen Elizabeth (acting on the advice of Prime Minister John Major) awarded Archer a life peerage in 1992. The Conservative Party selected him to run for Mayor of London in the 2000 election, but he withdrew from the race when perjury charges were brought against him in the matter of the 1987 libel trial. In 2001, he was convicted and served half of a four-year prison term. (He turned the experience into three bestselling volumes of memoir!) Since his release, Lord Archer has expressed no interest in returning to public office, choosing instead to concentrate on charity work and on his writing career.

Controversy has dogged Archer most of his adult life. Claims still circulate that he falsified his paperwork to gain entrance to Oxford; and, at various other times, he has been accused of shoplifting, padding expenses, insider trading, misappropriation of funds, and financing a failed coup d'état against a foreign government. Needless to say, all this has kept him squarely in the sights of the British tabloids.

Yet, for all the salacious headlines and in spite of lukewarm reviews, Archer remains one of Britain's most popular novelists. His books will never be classified as great literature, but his writing is workmanlike and he has never lost his flair for storytelling. In addition to his novels, he has also written short stories and plays. Clearly, in "art," as in life, Jeffrey Archer has proved himself an affable survivor.

Good To Know

Archer was once a competitive runner and represented Great Britain in international competition.

Regarding the sex scandal that ultimately landed her husband in prison, Lady Mary Archer, the author's wife of 35 years, told reporters that she was "cross" with her husband but that "we are all human and Jeffrey manages to be more human than most. I believe his virtues and talents are also on a larger scale."

The prison where Archer was transferred for carrying out his perjury sentence in October 2001 is a "low security" jail on the Lincolnshire coast, a facility known for raising high-quality pork. According to one authority, "It is considered to be a cushy little place."

After his "fall from grace," Archer counted former Conservative PMs Margaret Thatcher and John Major among his many loyal supporters.

In the 1980s, Archer and his wife, Mary, purchased the Old Vicarage, Grantchester, a house associated with the poet Rupert Brooke.
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    1. Hometown:
      London and the Old Vicarage, Grantchester
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 15, 1940
    1. Education:
      Attended Brasenose College, Oxford, 1963-66. Received a diploma in sports education from Oxford Institute

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1
April 18, 1906, Slonim, Poland
She only stopped screaming when she died. It was then that he started to scream.
The young boy who was hunting rabbits in the forest was not sure whether it was the woman’s last cry or the child’s first that alerted his youthful
ears. He turned, sensing possible danger, his eyes searching for an ani­mal that was obviously in pain. But he had never known an animal to scream
in quite that way before. He edged towards the noise cautiously; the scream had now turned to a whine, but it still did not sound like any animal he
knew. He hoped it would be small enough to kill; at least that would make a change from rabbit for dinner.
He moved stealthily towards the river, where the strange noise came from, darting from tree to tree, feel­ing the protection of the bark against his
shoulder blades, something to touch. Never stay in the open, his father had taught him. When he reached the edge of the forest he had a clear line
of vision all the way down the valley to the river, and even then it took him some time to realize that the strange cry emanated from no ordi­nary
animal. He crept towards the whining, even though he was now out in the open.
Then he saw the woman, her dress above her waist, her bare legs splayed. He had never seen a woman like that before. He ran quickly to her side
and stared down at her belly, too frightened to touch. Lying between the woman’s legs was a small, pink animal, covered in blood and attached to
her by something that looked like rope. The young hunter dropped his freshly caught rab­bits and fell to his knees beside the little creature.
He gazed at it for a long, stunned moment, then turned his eyes to the woman. He immediately regretted the decision. She was already blue with
cold; her tired young face looked middle-aged to the boy. He did not need to be told that she was dead. He picked up the slip­pery little body that lay
on the grass between her legs. Had you asked him why, and no one ever did, he would have told you that the tiny fingernails clawing at the
crumpled face had worried him.
The mother and child were bound together by the slimy rope. The boy had watched the birth of a lamb a few days earlier and he tried to
remember. Yes, that’s what the shepherd had done. But dare he, with a child? The whining suddenly stopped, and he sensed that a decision was
now urgent. He unsheathed his knife, the one he skinned rabbits with, wiped it on his sleeve and, hesitating only for a moment, cut the rope close to
the child’s body. Blood flowed freely from the severed ends. Then what had the shepherd done when the lamb was born? He had tied a knot to stop
the blood. Of course, of course. The boy pulled some long grass out of the earth beside him and hastily tied a crude knot in the cord. Then he took
the child in his arms. It started to cry again. He rose slowly from his knees, leaving behind him three dead rabbits and a dead woman who had given
birth to this child. Before finally turning his back on the mother, he put her legs together and pulled her dress down over her knees. It seemed the
right thing to do.
‘Holy God,’ he said aloud, the thing he always said when he had done something very good or very bad. He wasn’t yet sure which this was.
The young hunter ran towards the cottage where his mother would be cooking supper, waiting only for his rabbits; everything else would be
prepared. She would be wondering how many he’d caught today; with a fam­ily of eight to feed, she needed at least three. Sometimes he managed
a duck, a goose or even a pheasant that had strayed from the Baron’s estate, on which his father worked. Tonight he had caught a different animal.
When he reached the cottage, he didn’t dare let go of his prize, even with one hand, so he kicked at the door with his bare foot until his mother
opened it. Silently, he held up the child to her. She made no immediate move to take the creature from him but stood, one hand covering her
mouth, gazing at the wretched sight.
‘Holy God,’ she said, and crossed herself. The boy looked up at her face for some sign of pleasure or anger, to find her eyes shining with a
tenderness he had never seen before. He knew then that the thing he had done must be good.
‘It’s a little boy,’ said his mother, taking the child into her arms. ‘Where did you fi nd him?’
‘Down by the river, Matka,’ he said.
‘And the mother?’
‘Dead.’
She crossed herself again.
‘Quickly, run and tell your father what has hap­pened. He will find Urszula Wojnak on the estate, and you must take them both to the mother. Then
be sure they come back here.’
The boy rubbed his hands on his trousers, happy enough not to have dropped the slippery creature, and ran off in search of his father.
The mother closed the door with her shoulder and called out for Florentyna, her eldest child, to put the pot on the fire. She sat down on a wooden
stool, unbut­toned her bodice and pushed a tired nipple to the little puckered mouth. Sophia, her youngest daughter, only six months old, would have
to go without her supper tonight. Come to think of it, so would the whole family.
‘And to what purpose?’ the woman said out loud, tucking her shawl around the child. ‘Poor little mite will be dead by morning.’
She did not repeat that sentiment to Urszula Wojnak when she arrived a couple of hours later. The elderly midwife washed the little body and
tended to the twisted umbilical stump. The woman’s husband stood silently by the open fire, observing the scene.
‘A guest in the house brings God into the house,’ declared the woman, quoting the old Polish proverb. Her husband spat. ‘To the cholera with him. We have enough children of our own.’
The woman pretended not to hear him as she stroked the sparse dark hairs on the baby’s head.
‘What shall we call him?’ she asked.
Her husband shrugged. ‘What does it matter? Let him go to his grave nameless.’

Excerpted from Kane & Abelby Jeffrey Archer.
Copyright © 2009 by Jeffrey Archer.
Published in November 2009 by St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and
reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in
any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 167 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(108)

4 Star

(29)

3 Star

(14)

2 Star

(10)

1 Star

(6)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 167 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Well Crafted Story with Unforseen Twist!

    Having read a dozen of Archer's book this book is on par with the quality of writing that he shows in all his book's. If you like a well crafted story with several unforseen twist, this is a bokk to definately read. When you finish the book, you can pick up the next (Prodigal Daughter) that partially continues the story. However, reading in order is not neccesary as both books can stand out on their own.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Another great read from one of my favorite authors.

    "Kane and Abel" is a wonderful read. It brings together two people from two different backgrounds. Abel is a poor Polish immigrant who through many hardships comes to America to become rich and famous. Kane on the other hand is from a well established banking family and is already rich and famous.
    The story shows how the two men differ in their upbringing and the intertwining of their two lives. The two embrace their own friendships with two men they have known since a younger age. They both fall in love, marry, and have children.
    Abel, an orphan, lives a lowly life until he meets up with the Baron and is taken under his wing. He is tutored until war starts and Poland is under siege by the Russians. Abel is held captive and sent to a Russian camp far away in the cold icy north. He escapes and makes his way to America.
    Kane is raised in the style of the elite banking family of America. Generations of his family have been in the banking business with each new generation falling into the previous footsteps.
    The plot brings the two men together into a forceful and thrilling story.
    Without knowing what each men mean to each other, Jeffrey Archer, tells the story with a dramatic and touching dramatization. You must read this book to find out how Abel and Kane touch each others lives and the outcome. It definitely is a must read. I am now looking forward to reading "The Prodigal Daughter", a continuing story of "Abel and Kane".


    Cherry Blossom

    6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2011

    Highly recommended

    I have read so many novels, so far this book is the best. The characters were tough but full of emotion. I love the twist of fate of the major characters.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 13, 2013

    Kane and Abel was the book that introduced me to the writings of

    Kane and Abel was the book that introduced me to the writings of Jeffrey Archer many years ago. The story still haunts me today. Superb storytelling!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2013

    Classic

    A classic generational novel. Story telling should always be this good.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 4, 2013

    Excellent!!

    Another outstanding book by Archer. He never fails to deliver a blockbuster of a story. His story outline and dialogue grip the reader in the very beginning of his story. I felt a closeness and empathy toward the characters due to the trials and tribulations they faced in their lives. This book should be read before the Prodigal Daughter.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 26, 2011

    Highly recommend

    Jeffery Archer creates such wonderfully complete characters and the story line is so good I never wanted to put the book down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 21, 2010

    My Favorite of all times

    I have read some great books in my life... However, this is by far the best story I have ever read.

    AMAZING!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2013

    I read this book years ago when it first came out and think Jeff

    I read this book years ago when it first came out and think Jeffery Archer is a wonderful writer.I have read other books by this author and all of them where great reads.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2012

    Kane and Abel

    What a great read, hard to put down at times. Fast reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2011

    Didn't want to put it down!

    I very much enjoyed this book. I had a hard time putting it down. Great historical fiction.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 11, 2011

    Fantistic read

    Excellent story. A must read. The sequel to this novel is Prodigal Daughter. You must read the end of the Kane & Abel story. Dorothy Thompson

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 14, 2009

    My favorite book

    This is probably the best book I have ever read. And one of the few books I have ever read twice. Fantastic plot and nice twist. This is a MUST read!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    You won't put it down until you're finished reading

    A great, well-told story of two men, born worlds apart, whose drive to succeed at everything they do, leads to an intertwining of fates. Great characters, great plot, very well-written. Don't be surprised if, after reading Kane & Abel, you then want to read all of Archer's books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2005

    A Masterpiece

    Every once in a while, one comes across something that they adore so much that they long to tell everyone they meet about it, everyone in the world if they could, - this is it. I found this book incredibly entertaining I was enthralled from the beginning and absorbed into a world other than that in which I preside. The story also makes its readers realize aspects of their own lives that they never considered before from its numerous themes, some obvious, some quite subtle. Despite its seemingly large size, it won't be large enough by time you reach the end, for you get swept up into both the lives of Kane and Abel to the extent that you never wish to reach the last page.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2005

    best book ever read

    i read this novel when i was fifteen years old. since then, i've read it several times over and over again. jeffrey archer is magnificent in his writings...kane and abel is a masterpiece!!! i encourage all folks old and young to read this book. you will become envolved in the characters lives as it unfolds before your eyes. this novel is more than outstanding...its phenomnal!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2004

    18 year old fellow reader

    My mom has been trying to get me to read this book for years and finally she talked me into it. It was amazing! Archer is such an amazing writer that he made Abel and William's hate look so beautiful. He made hate an artform. Throughout the book I sympathized with William and greatly disliked Abel, he reminded me so much of Heathcliff from 'Whuthering Heights.' It was so easy to love and hate Abel at the same time. Even though i saw alot of the twists coming, it was so well written that they still surprised me. The end has some really good twists that you can see alot more in depth in 'The Prodigal Daughter.' It is one of my favorites.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2004

    UNFORGETTABLE

    I read this book about six or seven years ago and even though I forgot most of the story, I never forgot that this book had just swept me into another world. It had a tremendous effect on me. Archer did an excellent job. After all these years I looked up the book and I'm going to read it again. Its just unforgettable!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2004

    TOTALLY MANIFICENT !!

    Archer is truly a master story teller and while that title may sound trite -- its very REAL in this case. He flows and his characters come alive and his story is timeless. Its a long book but a very fast read because there is NEVER a good stopping place. A big fat juicy novel with real meat for everyone!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2003

    GREAT Book!!

    I love this book, besides the book that it took forever to read, but it's worth it. I loved how Jeffrey Archer connected everything and filled it with irony. I love books like that. This book has something in it that any kind of person would like.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 167 Customer Reviews

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