Jeffrey Archer’s ‘This Was A Man’ is the closing chapter of the Cliffton Chronicles, a book series of seven novels published in a span of five years. The series follows the events of the fictitious Clifton and Barrington families, starting in the 1920s. It is full of unexpected twists and turns characteristic of Archer’s style. At times the story is tragic and sad. Other times it is hopeful. Still other times the tale is funny, even hilarious.
This final installment essentially ties up the loose ends. Emma rises high in her career as she is appointed the Minister of Health by Margaret Thatcher's government. Meanwhile, Harry decides to begin his final William Warwick novel which he wants to accomplish as per his late mother’s wish. Giles finds out about Karin’s secret. Lady Virginia refuses to get out of their lives. Little Freddie is a young boy now who idolizes Giles, primarily for his flair in cricket. Seb is busy tackling Desmond Mellor and Jim Knowles as they resurface again. Jessica wins her place at the prestigious Slade School of Fine Arts but unfortunately falls into bad company and risks her career being compromised.
The thing with a series is that picking up any of the installments at random can be a risky affair. Though mostly all the books can be read as standalones, the flavor as a whole gets lost somewhere. At least it does for me. I’m a die-hard fan of Archer’s short stories. I would even swear by them if that were possible. But I never had the opportunity to read one of his novels. This is a first for me. To be honest, I felt a little lost with what was happening in this book. There was so much I didn’t know. There was so much I needed to know before I could process this saga. So I did the next best thing I could do other than binge read all the six previous installments. I Googled the books and armed myself with all the essential knowledge. Then I was good to go.
The story is superb. The writing is flawless to say the least. The characters seem so real that their trials and tribulations become the reader’s own. The narrative is highly absorbing and free flowing with a smooth pace as the author peels away layer upon layer until the readers get to the very depth of the story line. It chronicles an absorbing and affecting family journey across generations.
Ina a nutshell, this novel is an amazing offering, full of memorable characters.
About the Author:
Jeffrey Archer, whose novels and short stories include Kane and Abel, A Prisoner of Birth and Cat O' Nine Tales, has topped the bestseller lists around the world, with sales of over 275 million copies. He is the only author ever to have been a number one bestseller in fiction, short stories and non-fiction (The Prison Diaries). The author is married to Dame Mary Archer and they have two sons and two grandsons.
I'd like to thank the author for letting me review the book. I do hope you end up liking the book when you read it. Thank you so much for stopping by, and happy reading!
* I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
** Picture courtesy: Amazon.in