Title: Mightier Than The Sword
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Series: The Clifton Chronicles (Book 5)
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Genre: Historical Fiction, Family Saga
First Publication: 2015
Major Characters: Harry Clifton, Sebastian Clifton, Giles Barrington, Emma Barrington, Lady Virginia, Major Alex Fisher, Anatoly Babakov, Adrian Sloane
Narration: Third Person
Preceded by: Be Careful What You Wish For
Followed by: Cometh The Hour
Book Summary: Mightier Than The Sword
Mightier than the Sword opens with an IRA bomb exploding during the MV Buckingham’s maiden voyage across the Atlantic – but how many passengers lose their lives? When Harry Clifton visits his publisher in New York, he learns that he has been elected as the new president of English PEN, and immediately launches a campaign for the release of a fellow author, Anatoly Babakov, who’s imprisoned in Siberia. Babakov’s crime? Writing a book called Uncle Joe, a devastating insight into what it was like to work for Stalin.
So determined is Harry to see Babakov released and the book published, that he puts his own life in danger. His wife Emma, chairman of Barrington Shipping, is facing the repercussions of the IRA attack on the Buckingham. Some board members feel she should resign, and Lady Virginia Fenwick will stop at nothing to cause Emma’s downfall.
“if you take care of the pennies, the pounds will take care of themselves.”
Sir Giles Barrington is now a minister of the Crown, and looks set for even higher office, until an official trip to Berlin does not end as a diplomatic success. Once again, Giles’s political career is thrown off balance by none other than his old adversary, Major Alex Fisher, who once again stands against him at the election. But who wins this time?
In London, Harry and Emma’s son, Sebastian, is quickly making a name for himself at Farthing’s Bank in London, and has proposed to the beautiful young American, Samantha. But the despicable Adrian Sloane, a man interested only in his own advancement and the ruin of Sebastian, will stop at nothing to remove his rival.
Jeffrey Archer’s compelling Clifton Chronicles continue in this, his most accomplished novel to date. With all the trademark twists and turns that have made him one of the world’s most popular authors, the spellbinding story of the Clifton and the Barrington families continues.
Book Review: Mightier Than The Sword
I have been a fan of Jeffrey Archer’s writing for many years and have read almost all of them. I’ve learned that while he sometimes has a less-than-stellar outing, I always enjoy his story telling. Mightier Than The Sword is no exception: I loved the storytelling even when large parts of the novel weren’t really advancing the overall story arcs of the major characters much beyond what we’ve seen before.
Mightier Than The Sword is the fifth novel in “The Clifton Chronicles” which describes the events of the Clifton and Barrington families throughout most of the 20th century, both in England and the US. The previous novel, Be Careful What You Wish For, ended in a major cliff hanger so thankfully this volume began with repeating the final chapter of that last book. Many of us have been waiting a full year to find out the resolution of that incident so it was good to have the details ready at hand. This novel takes the characters from 1964 through 1970, tumultuous years for the world at large as well as for these characters in particular.
“Like a blind man, unaware of race or religion, he quickly discovered that prejudice was often taught at the breakfast table.”
While there are some resolutions to some of the long-running plot lines, in general we see much more of the same continuing struggles of our two related families as they face off yet again with old foes in boardrooms, courtrooms, and political corridors. Even though we’ve seen all of this before, somehow Archer is able to hold my interest and keep me wondering what will happen next. He still provides a shock or two but most of the story is about shrewd one-upmanship among the various rivals.
One new plotline involving the quest to publish a biography of Stalin that had been confiscated behind the Iron Curtain and its author sentenced to 20 years hard labor was fun to read. And the way Archer weaves in and out of two separate court trials that are occurring on opposite sides of the globe at the same time is riveting. However, once again, the novel ends on a major cliff hanger. There are seven books in the series so there will one more novel still to be read with yet another unresolved ending before the final volume.