Kane and Abel

Kane and Abel

by Jeffrey Archer

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312942724
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 11/03/2009
Edition description: 30th Anniversary Edition
Pages: 653
Sales rank: 75,156
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Jeffrey Archer was educated at Oxford University. He has served five years in Britain's House of Commons and fourteen years in the House of Lords. All of his novels and short story collections—including And Thereby Hangs a Tale, Paths of Glory and False Impression—have been international bestselling books. Archer is married with two sons and lives in London and Cambridge.


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

Read an Excerpt


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?’


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.

Table of Contents

Customer Reviews

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Kane and Abel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 188 reviews.
fr0zench1ck More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
taylor55 More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A classic generational novel. Story telling should always be this good.
Pappou More than 1 year ago
Jeffery Archer creates such wonderfully complete characters and the story line is so good I never wanted to put the book down.
MichelleMarie More than 1 year ago
I have read some great books in my life... However, this is by far the best story I have ever read. AMAZING!
CherryBlossom More than 1 year ago
"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
4grandkids More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great read, hard to put down at times. Fast reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed this book. I had a hard time putting it down. Great historical fiction.
williebug More than 1 year ago
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
rondl More than 1 year ago
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!!!
dprefer More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What an awesome book. The plot twists and turns like no other book I've ever written. Mr. Archer simply held me spellbound.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is excellent. The characters are extremeley well developed and the book has so many ironic parts as well as twists it is a must read!!! One of my favorite books
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so amazing. The whole week that it took me to read it, I was intrigued but I kept thinking I was some kind of genius because I was predicting everything. But I didn't see that ending coming. He keeps you so wrapped up in the details the big picture will just blow your mind. Recommended to the utmost degree.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first Jeffrey Archer book that I have come across, but be guaranteed I will read more. Kane and Abel is one of the best books I have read!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read novels from various authors in the past. I can only say this is the best story i have ever read. The plot is simply perfect. Jeffrey Archer remains unchallenged with 'Kane and Abel'. You got to read this book. You'll not regret.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is and by far will always be one of my favorites. Its one of those books you can read over and over again and never get tired of.
suetan on LibraryThing 2 days ago
It is quite a while since I read this book, but I can still remember the basic storyline and would recommend this book to anyone who likes this type of story. Both male characters are born at the same time (from different backgrounds and living conditions) and follows their lives and their inter-relationship.