Mightier Than the Sword (The Clifton Chronicles #5) by Jeffrey Archer
Publication date : February 24th 2015
Publisher : St. Martin’s Press
Genre : Historical Fiction
Pages : 400
Stars : ★★★★☆
A bomb goes off, but how many passengers on the MV Buckingham have lost their lives? You will find out only if you read the opening chapter of Mightier than the Sword.
When Harry arrives in New York, his publisher Harold Guinzberg tells him he has been elected as the next president of English PEN, which will give him the opportunity to launch a campaign for the release of a fellow author, Anatoly Babakov, who is languishing in a Russian Gulag in Siberia. His crime, writing a book Uncle Joe, which gives an insight into what it was like to work for Josef Stalin. So determined is he to see Babakov released, Harry puts his own life in danger.
Emma Clifton, now Chairman of Barrington Shipping, is having to face the repercussions of the IRA bombing her ship.
Some board members feel she should resign while others, including Sebastian Clifton, newly elected to the board, are determined to see she remains as Chairman.
Giles Barrington is now a Minister of the Crown, and looks set for high office, but a trip to East Germany does not end as a diplomatic success, and once again Giles’ political career is thrown off balance by none other than Major Alex Fisher. Fisher decides to stand against Giles at the forthcoming general election. But this time who wins?
Sebastian Clifton asks his girlfriend Samantha to marry him. She happily accepts, but then later changes her mind after she discovers what Seb has been up to behind her back.
The book ends with two court trials: one at the high court in London, a libel case pitting Emma Clifton against Lady Virginia Fenwick; while another, a show trial, takes place in Russia after Harry has been arrested as a spy. Thus continues book five of the Clifton Chronicles, Jeffrey Archer’s most accomplished work to date, with all the trademark twists and turns that have made him one of the most successful authors in the world.
Previous books I read in series:
Mightier Than the Sword was perfect title for this book. Another stellar book in this compelling series that revolved around two family and their never ending problems. It was about, good vs bad, don’t get greedy, sticking to morals and principles will always be rewarding, fight for yourself at right time, fate, family, love and passion.
Writing was as usual gripping, engaging and fast paced that demanded attention in all chapters. Mightier Than the Sword, told from multiple perspective from Harry and Emma, Giles, Sebastian and Lady Virginia’s POV, was set in Bristol and London, occasional visits in U.S. but this time Harry travels to Russia and Giles to Berlin that changed their life.
Mightier Than the Sword started in 1964 picking up from the end of last book, Be Careful What You Wish For, and ended in 1970. It’s clear from the synopsis, no main character died in the blast on Buckingham’s maiden voyage but I will not tell more or what damage it caused. I was thinking how I should write the review as I don’t want say much but at the same time I don’t want end up saying little. Moreover, lot was going on in this book, turn after turn and many surprises. Each main character was facing enemy in this book and each were given equal attention so I will divide my review in what they were facing, what was good and bad with their situation.
As soon as Emma returned from states she was facing Libel trial filed by Virginia moreover some member of board were plotting against her and that included a new enemy Desmond Muller. It felt like she was running out of luck this time. Desmond was unscrupulous, clever and sharp enemy who gave Emma and company hard time and his timing of final strike was fabulous. For first time I feared for Emma. Court room session didn’t help in reducing that fear as Virginia’s lawyer was brilliant. I was curious to see how she was going to fight both of them at the same time and this time if she lose, she was going to lose big- her position, reputation and company.
Emma evolved a lot over four previous books of this series. Her impression as first woman chairman of public company was formidable. She was admiring, ethical, honest person with high morals and principles. She wouldn’t do wrong with anybody but at the same time wouldn’t let anyone harm her and her family.
Sebastian was fighting Adrian Sloane, his boss who planned to take over Farthings bank. This initial part was tense. Sloane was smart and most dishonest and greedy man. His plan was great, with time in his favor and took over the bank real fast that made Seb resign from his job but he was determined to get back to him. I was curious to see how he was going to fight him with no job and less money.
Seb was exceptionally brilliant but in getting revenge and money fast, living accomplished life, he messed up his personal life. Over the course of this book, he learned and developed a lot. He took one step at a time and climbed financial ladder, took all the opportunity at right time. It was looking like all Cedric taught to him finally came to its fruition when he saw name of Hakim Bishra. I liked that man and I loved how game of fighting Sloane turned from this point.
Giles was not happy family man in this. His son died at age 3 and that broke him and Gwyneth apart. He respected Gwyneth but love was drifting and when he went to Berlin to attend conference as a minister of Crown, he made a mistake that made him resign and once again fight election. Time was also not in his favor as again he had to fight against Fisher. I was curious to see what was the result of election and how would he face consequences of his mistakes. He was best example of sportsmanship and I loved him for being resilient and following his heart. I enjoyed every word and pages when he fought election and later when he supported Emma, but Gwyneth was best and I hope he don’t regret letting her go.
Harry was facing most dangerous situation of all. To begin with he was now president of English PEN and started a campaign for release of Anatoly Babakov, Russian novelist who was imprisoned for 20 years for writing a book on Stalin, titled Uncle Joe. He was curious to find out what was in the book and why Russian government destroyed every copy on publication day of Uncle Joe. He passionately felt for Babakov. But fight for his release meant fight against whole Russian government. First he went to Russia as a guest speaker of PEN- he delivered mind blowing speech (it was as good as Gile’s election speeches) and some work from cabinet secretary (which turned out real interesting). I didn’t know he had photographic memory until this book! Why it wasn’t mentioned before! He discovered location one last copy of Uncle Joe and had to visit Russia again but without protection secretary. Isn’t it just getting just better and better? I was curious to find out how he would locate it and how he would get away with or maybe not? What will happen if Russian caught him? This part was best on whole book.
I enjoyed every tricky situations every characters faced, how they fought their enemies- who won one or two small battle as well that made me worry for characters- and how they came out of it. I loved each of them for not losing hope, sought each other’s help and advice, fought keeping their morals and principles intact that ultimately rewarded them with best result.
I loved reading scenes that were based on historical events like Berlin wall and The Stasi of the East German communist government, imprisonment of Russian writer, and Stalin’s biography through Uncle Joe which was most intriguing.
Climax made me anxious, laugh, curious and awed all at the same time. Harry’s escape, Emma’s trial, and enemies’ plan all was pumping the adrenaline at best. I was holding my breath when finally end neared and then I cursed, ‘Damn Cliffhangers!’ At 3:00 a.m. I got up from bed pulled out sixth book and read few chapters to see the real end. And I tell you it was amazing.
Why 4 stars-
Honestly, I’m tired seeing Virginia and Fisher again. Cliftons and Barringtons are so nice and always do right thing so why they are having lot of enemies? It’s like wherever they go they made enemy. From 1919 to 1970 there wasn’t a year they didn’t face problem! It’s really far fetching.
Overall, Mightier Than the Sword was gripping, fast paced historical fiction and family saga, full of twist and turn and drama. I definitely recommend this to fans of Jeffrey Archer.
What do you think about the book? Have you read this already or any book in this series or same author? Have you read a book in which character has photographic memory?
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