Heads You Win: A Novel

Heads You Win: A Novel

by Jeffrey Archer

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250172518
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 11/06/2018
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 92
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

JEFFREY ARCHER was educated at Oxford University. He served five years as a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons and has served twenty-six years as a Member of the House of Lords. Now published in 97 countries and more than 37 languages, all of his novels and short story collections—including Kane&Abel, Only Time Will Tell and This Was a Man—have been international bestsellers. Jeffrey is married with two sons and three grandchildren, and lives in London, Cambridge and Majorca.


London and the Old Vicarage, Grantchester

Date of Birth:

April 15, 1940


Attended Brasenose College, Oxford, 1963-66. Received a diploma in sports education from Oxford Institute

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Heads You Win: A Novel 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
3no7 2 days ago
“Heads You Win” by Jeffrey Archer is a story of a mother and son who escape oppression and political conflict in Russia and struggle for success in a new land. It is a universal story with an unexpected twist. Alexander Karpenko and his mother Elena are escaping Russia by stowing away on one of two ships leaving a Russian port. Where will they end up? They flip a coin, heads; you win and go to… Herein is the twist, what if? Where did Elena and Alexander (Alex/Sasha) end up? How would life in New York be different from the life in Southampton? Readers follow the mother and son over the years in two parallel scenarios. Alternating chapters (conveniently labeled with location, date, and name) tell the story of Elena and Alex in America, and Elena and Sasha in England. They struggle; they have successes, and they suffer setbacks. Each storyline is a compelling and wonderful scenario on its own. Readers get vivid picture of the people, the events, the politics, and the balancing act that goes on continually in the life of an immigrant family in both locations. The characters are well developed and multifaceted; readers quickly appreciate the complex circumstances that are certainly different, and yet similar in so many ways. The characters ask themselves is, “Would things have been different if we had gotten on the other ship?” Readers know, but still an unstated problem hangs over every page, which situation is the accurate representation? The more curious question is will the two storylines intersect? Important details remain for readers to discover, but questions are answered as the story comes to an unexpected but satisfying. I received a copy of “Heads You Win” from Jeffrey Archer, St Martin’s Press, The Pidgeonhole Book Club, and NetGalley. It is different approach to character’s journey, and I was captivated by both stories. The ending was stunning, explosive, and thought provoking. It is an interesting journey for readers, and I absolutely recommend reading it.
Anonymous 3 days ago
Anonymous 9 days ago
My first impression of this book: typical Jeffrey Archer - a rambling story with lots of characters (think Clifton Chronicles - and I loved the references to the Barringtons and the Clifton novels) and lots of references to real people in history. But is also quite different. Beginning in 1968, the book opens in Leningrad. Alexander Karpenko lives with his mother and father, Elena and Konstantin, both of whom work at the Leningrad docks. Konstantin is not a member of the party but is surrounded by members who will do anything to gain favor. When Alexander’s best friend, Vladimir, overhears a conversation, he goes to the KGB and the tip results in an “accident” that kills Konstantin. Alexander and Elena are then assisted in escaping on a cargo ship that drops its cargo and leaves empty. There are two ships at the dock, one heading to England and the other to America. Which one should they get on? They decide to flip a coin. And then two stories ensue - one from each viewpoint in alternating chapters for the most part. The ship to the US is told from the eyes of Alexander while the ship to England is told from the standpoint of Sasha (Alexander’s nickname). Both are quite successful, one as a businessman and one as a member of government. And, while I had guessed the ending before finishing the book, it was an interesting way to end the story. Is this world class literature - no. Is it fun to read - absolutely. Thanks to St. Martins Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to review the ARC of this book.
lorimac 9 days ago
Heads You Win by Jeffrey Archer is absolutely on par with his other books I’ve read. He is a master story teller and this book proves it by the way he weaves the stories of one man into two very different lives. I usually don’t like politics and wouldn’t pick political books as my top choice to read, however, this book had me hooked from the very beginning. The research done is impressive (as usual) and the story kept my interest from start to finish. This is a tale of choices and without giving away spoilers, both choices are intriguing and lead to many twists and turns, ending in a way that really took me by surprise. I definitely recommend this book!
gmcootie 9 days ago
Heads You Win by Jeffrey Archer is a rich saga with strong, amazing characters and a stunning, explosive ending. It’s not often I read a book and sigh with such satisfaction at the end, glad I took the journey offered by the author. I hadn’t read anything by Jeffrey Archer in a while, so when I received a surprise copy of Heads You Win in the mail from the publisher I was thrilled with the win but not quite sure what I was in for. Well, what I was in for was a thrilling ride across exciting times in history and continents and cultures. Sasha and Alex settle in Britain and America but Russia is always a significant player in their lives. Alexander and Elena’s future looked bleak after Alexander’s father was killed. To be honest, their life seemed rather bleak even before that, but Alexander had such promise, such potential. What bravery it must have taken to decide to make that leap. I have to admit that it took me a couple of chapters to realize how the book was structured, that we would be jumping back and forth between Sasha and Alex now, but it brought a smile to my face knowing we would see the “What if’s” in the way only Jeffrey Archer can present them. In the beginning, especially, Alex and Sasha seemed very different. Were they shaped by their experiences on the boat and the way they were treated by each crew and those helping them to get settled in their new home? London was much gentler than New York; everyone seemed more authentic and less scheming, but there were challenges and rewards in both. And I couldn’t even begin to imagine how the two parts would come together. It wasn’t long, though, that I was so caught up in the story and the lives Sasha and Alex were leading that I forgot this was a What If and we didn’t know the result of the coin toss and instead just sat back and enjoyed the rolling tale of two lives. Heads You Win was a totally satisfying book with an ending I did not see coming. Alex/Sasha and Elena keep me engaged and wanting to know what would happen next and if their successes would continue or if darker forces would prevail. The supporting cast of characters – both good and evil – were well developed and believable. Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Jeffrey Archer for providing many hours of enjoyment. I was not required to submit a review and all opinions are my own.
Gailfl 9 days ago
Jeffrey Archer became a favorite of mine in 1979 when I read Kane and Abel. Tastes change, and over time I’ve found that admired authors have fallen to the wayside for various reasons: King scared the dookie out of me late one night, good-bye Steven; Patterson began co-writing and I felt that was a cop-out, ta-ta James; and so on. Not so with Jeffrey Archer. I loved his earlier books, I have reread his short stories several times each (still haven’t figured out one or two of the red herrings!), and I felt a real bond with the Barrington’s in the Clifton Chronicles. Another commendation to Lord Archer, he knew when to fold ‘em on that dynasty. Now almost 40 years later, Archer proves that he still has what it takes to write a compelling, complex and highly entertaining novel with enough twists to keep you turning pages relentlessly. Archer employs a parallel universe or sliding door theme in this book. Alexander Karpenko and his mother escape the docks of Leningrad after his father is murdered for political reasons. They have the choice to stow away on a ship going to either Great Britain or New York. The toss of a coin decides which direction they will go; thus Heads You Win. Archer employs the “what If” narrative to spin the two tales of Alexander and Elena—one in America, one in Britain. It is 1968, Alexander is young, smart, and driven to succeed. In both universes he overcomes obstacles, works hard and prospers. Archer takes the reader through the docks of Leningrad to the halls of Parliament, from the boardroom of a Boston Brahmin bank to the kitchen of a successful pizza chain, from the modern art world of Rothko and Warhol to the landscapes scenes of Canaletto and Turner, all with an aplomb that indicates that he knows his subjects well. He incorporates political intrigue from three powerhouses of the Cold War—Russia, Great Britain and America. And he ends this marvelous book with a gobsmack—how did I miss that! Don’t worry Jeffrey, your secret is safe with me. I’ll never tell the last sentence of this book (and fellow reader—don’t you dare go to the back before you get there.) My special thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Jeffrey Archer for an advanced readers copy of this wonderful book in exchange for an honest and fair review.
Rhonda-Runner1 9 days ago
I was really surprised at how taken in I was by this book from the very first few pages. The story begins in Leningrad where Konstantine Karpenko is murdered by the KBG. His wife Elena and son Alexander want to flee the country. Elena's brother works on the docks and has arranged for them to stowaway on one of the cargo ships. There are two, one going to America and the other to England. Elena's brother flips a coin and they begin their journey. The story parallels what would have happened if they had they gone to America versus had they gone to England and spans 30 years. There are lots of twists and turns in this riveting book and it was hard to put down. I would like to thank St. Martin's Press for the ARC of this fascinating book that I won in exchange for an honest review. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a fast paced, very interesting book.