In the third volume of Sir Jeffrey Archer's Clifton Chronicles, the Cliftons and the Barringtons are now officially united, but sweet matrimony brings no end to either family feuds or legal dramas. As usual, master tale spinner Archer artfully juggles multiple story lines while dispensing telling insights about how British parliamentary systems really work. An episode of a multi-generational series that will leave you wanting more.
The third installment (after The Sins of the Father) of Archer's five-volume "Clifton Chronicles" resumes in 1945 with the Lord Chancellor delivering judgment in the case of Barrington vs. Clifton, regarding the rightful inheritor of the Barrington shipping fortune. In typical Archer style, an ongoing mélange of sensational cliffhangers and disputes propels the Barrington's family feud. Giles struggles to retain his seat in the House of Commons, and brother-in-law Harry becomes a popular mystery writer. While raising the hyperactive and gifted Sebastian, Emma and Harry also adopt an artistic daughter, Jessica, who strikingly resembles both Emma and Sebastian. Giles's colorful political and private life disrupts the controlling interests in the Barrington empire, and Alex Fisher, a former detestable acquaintance of both Harry and Giles, returns to disrupt their financial security and professional lives. VERDICT Archer's consistent inclusion of trivial, autobiographical minutiae pertaining to parliamentary procedures and the election process dominates numerous chapters and belabors an already weakening plotline. Unlike the previous title, this chatty and tiresome volume lacks the captivating intrigue that is often a hallmark of Archer's writing. [See Prepub Alert, 9/17/12.]—Jerry P. Miller, Cambridge, MA
An artful blend of colorful characters, seething resentment, calculated revenge, and a shocking, tragic cliffhanger distinguishes Archer's third volume of The Clifton Chronicles. Picking up where The Sins of the Father left off, readers discover whether Giles Barrington or Harry Clifton will inherit the late Hugo Barrington's fortune. Harry becomes a successful novelist and marries his true love Emma Barrington; they adopt a daughter with a secret past to join their son Sebastian. Poor smitten, likeable Giles, fighting for his political life as a member of Parliament, is lovesick for the scheming, vindictive Lady Virginia, whom he marries. Sensing disaster, on her death bed Lady Elizabeth Barrington writes Lady Virginia out of the will, prompting the unpopular Lady Virginia to enlist Giles' nemesis, Major Alex Fisher, as she plots her way to the Barrington fortune. Sebastian becomes a young man, sowing his wild oats and naively getting mixed up with a school chum's nefarious father and his sketchy business. Business-savvy Emma earns a college degree, intending to join the family shipping empire. Archer provides a pitch-perfect continuation of the Clifton family saga; his shrewd twists and turns are addictive from the get-go, and he stuns with his signature series sign-off, a cliffhanger leaving readers longing for its resolution. (May)
“Archer's storytelling combines history, romance and intrigue, and the audiobook is outstandingly read by Alex Jennings and Emilia Fox.” Inside Jersey
“[Archer's] well-drawn characters are outstandingly portrayed by readers Alex Jennings and Emilia Fox.” The Star-Ledger
“Alex Jennings and Emilia Fox's dual narration captures a range of intriguing characters and a variety of English accents…the narrators' polished performance of the family's escapades keeps the listener engaged.” AudioFile Magazine
In this third of this much-like Downton Abbey series, Archer (Sins of the Father, 2012, etc.) takes the Clifton Chronicles into the post–World War II era. Employing a prologue, Archer slaps a final coat of paint on Volume 2, with the Lord Chancellor awarding the Barrington title to Harry's brother-in-arms, Giles, a Labor MP. Harry and Emma, Giles' sister, are finally free to marry. The two already have an out-of-wedlock son, Sebastian. In this installment, Emma and Harry discover Emma's cad of a father sired a young girl now living at a local orphanage. The Cliftons do the paperwork and the interviews and adopt Jessica, a budding artist, without revealing to her or Sebastian that she's blood kin. Meantime, Harry's become an acclaimed author of detective novels, and Emma meets a Pulitzer Prize–winning author who is impressed with her intellect and decides to help her obtain a degree. When family matriarch Lady Elizabeth dies, she disinherits Giles because he intends to marry Lady Virginia, a greedy, rhymes-with-witchy aristocrat. There's a divorce when Giles regains his senses and then a family reconciliation. And much more. Archer spins sufficient narrative threads for six novels, complete with ample money, Old-Boy connections, intrigue and a deus ex machina. What-will-happen-next reading best approached after picking up the series' first two entries.