The latest volume in the mammoth Clifton chronicles by Jeffery Archer was launched in India recently, and I was lucky to read it within 3 days of launch. The book, like all other Archer novels was unputdownable. The story revolves around the second generation Cliftons now, and slowly focus shifts from Harry Clifton to his son, Sebastian Clifton and his life, first as a teenager and then as a young man trying to make his mark in the world.
The book is set mostly in England, and is an account of only 8 years (1957-1964), yet it contains many surprises and many ups and downs for the Cliftons. The book opens with Harry and Emma rushing to the hospital to find their son safe, which was expected. The book then follows the journey of Don Pedro Martinez, an Argentine smuggler who wants to better the Cliftons for reasons too numerous to list here. The story is beautifully paced with the Cliftons and Martinez efforts to belittle the other.
In this race, the Barrington Shipping Company is also put into the gamble and the company fights with gritted breath to stand on its shoulders with many elements coming into play. The legendary Irish Republican Army (IRA) also makes an appearance in the novel and the ending of this one seems to be fated on how good or how bad the IRA operatives are.
This book, like all other Archer books is full of murder, theft, romance and surprises. However, some part of the narration seems to be too sloppily written by the master author. At times, the reader is left with some of the story guessable and at times, we find that some parts of the narrative has no apparent connection to the whole of it. Still, it is a welcome addition to the already existing volumes of the Clifton Chronicles.
For the readers, who wish to read this volume, it is advisable that they first read the previous three books so that they come to terms with the story line, otherwise many parts of the story would seem Greek and Roman to them. In any case, Archer has enough twists and turns of plots to convert any non-believer in his folds. And like all of his novels, this one too ends in a cliffhanger where we are left to guess the fate of some of the key elements in the story. But the wait is not long, because the next volume of the series comes in 2015. Till then, happy reading.
Title: Be Careful What You Wish For
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Price: Rs. 399