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. 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.
The wait for this novel had begun almost immediately after I completed the previous novel in the series; Be Careful What You Wish For. And the book was very much worth the wait.
What I liked:
- It was fast paced as every book of Jeffrey Archer is. The language is beautiful, the court scenes are interesting & keep you on edge, the cliffhangers make you desperately crave the next book.
- Emma Clifton, Chairman, wife, mother, sister. She is perfect in every role. The author has been very careful from start to finish while building this character. She is class personified, very dignified, very elegant. There is nothing I do not like about her. Nothing!
- Harry Clifton: While he had been sidelined in the previous novel, in this one he is back playing the hero with whom these chronicles started. He saves not just many lives but also years of hard earned reputation of the Barringtons when he identifies the dynamite in the vase. His writing down this entire incident in his William Warwick novel provided extra insulation to the company as if its mentioned in court, as Edward Makepeace said they would be mocked out of court. We must also admire his courage when in Russia where he never wavers from his resolve to help Anatoly Babakov.
- Sebastian Clifton: He is energetic & clever. As said in the book somewhere, he has got the best qualities from both sides of the family & hence I am sure will have a very bright future.
- Finally there was no Martinez in this book. While I was very happy to see him go in the first few chapters itself towards the end I think I missed him. Lady Virginia, Sloane, Mellon, Fisher, etc are no where in the league of Martinez.
What I disliked:
- Samantha: I found her an extremely boring character. And while I wasn’t exactly overjoyed when she left I didn’t think much about it either. Her father likens her to Emma. But I beg to differ. Sebastian is wrong when he goes back on his word & when she just left I was proud of her for being so principled. In that instant she was like Emma. After that, no! She was pregnant with Seb’s child & never bothered telling him about Jessica. This is something I have never been able to digest with most females, this ‘I am the mother. I have exclusive rights to decide for the child’ thing which many women do. Also, Emma wouldn’t have married any other man. Even a possibility of incest couldn’t make her stop loving Harry. Sam gave up on Seb too easily especially considering she has his child’s mother. Having principles is a great thing, but one shouldn’t overdo it either. I hope Seb finds a new woman in the next book & Sam stays where she has chosen to be…away from Seb, although that seems unlikely. 😦
- Giles Barrington was extremely boring. I skipped the entire election chapters & just forwarded to the results. Reading it was Fisher who won didn’t make me want to go back & check if I had missed something. His obsession with Karin just made me want to bang my head somewhere!
- How could he kill Cedric Hardcastle? 😦 I will mourn him as much as I mourned the deaths of Emma’s grandfather & mother & Jessica. 😦
- Harry escaping by signing as William Warwick & it even making to the front pages of all the newspapers worldwide seemed a bit far fetched to me. Can an entire government be fooled? Not everyone can be that blind. Or stupid. All they had to do was tally his signature with the one on his passport!
Overall I loved the book & cannot wait for the next one in the series. From what I read, the series will have seven books instead of the original five.
A 4/5 from me.