Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Book Review : Cometh the Hour ( Jeffery Archer )

First the lament. My spirits soared at the sight of the beautiful sepia hued cover. It bears the illustration of the Gateway of India with a couple riding a scooter in the foreground. Yes, the action in 'The Clifton Chronicles' shifts to India. At least some part of it does. But does it turn out to be pivotal ? Sadly not . What could have been a meaningful subplot is cut short rather abruptly. Reason ? Honor killing. Accepted that the year is 1971 and we have come a long way ( really ?). But do we need to be reminded of our 'illustrious past' ? One more added to the list. Elephants, snake charmers, child prostitution ( dare you get me started on this ), honor killings, and it goes on and on. Yes, I am disappointed that Archer did not make much out of that 'India angle' except for imprinting the image of 'honor killings' in the minds of a global audience. So, remember never to judge a book by it's cover. Point made.

Moving on the job at hand ( mainly writing an unbiased review ), this is the 6th installment of the Clifton Chronicles . I have been following the series from the very first book and I find this one to be equally good though Archer's suspense bits are tending to get repetitive. It begins with the drama surrounding the Late Alex Fisher's letter. It's revelation paves the path for Emma's victory and the adversaries being routed .

The plot includes yet another takeover bid. This time it is Harry' publisher and a much bigger publishing house.There is a bit of small time drama in this section but nothing remarkable. The indisputable big stars in this plot are Lady Fenwick and Giles with Emma and Harry taking a step back from the limelight.

Giles ends up losing his political lead with the revelation of the letter. But that leads him to embark on a daring escapade to help Karin flee the oppressive regime in East Germany. This is one of the most engaging sections of the book and helps to further the plot. At least temporarily. One sees the two falling in love and then comes the revelation. Quite predictable and even I could see it coming.

But the most entertaining bits are provided by Lady Fenwick or more specifically, her shenanigans . One of the most scheming and plotting characters of this series, she manages to stay in limelight thanks to her despicable ( and also laughable ) antics. The way she takes Cyrus for a ride and still manages to extract her pound of flesh makes one squirm at her moral turpitude.

But the most heart breaking section is that of Sebastian.  The way he falls in love with another person, woos her, follows her halfway across the globe and then ends up losing her is quite saddening. Archer makes up for it towards the end of the book that sees him reuniting with Sam and Jessica. But not without the intervening drama that is Archers's hallmark.

A good read that promises more action with the last installment releasing in November 2016. Hope the final installment outshines the others and makes it worth the really long build up.

Note - Do not pick this up if you have not read the earlier installments . The plots for the Clifton Chronicles books are highly interlinked and one cannot really enjoy them standalone.

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