Looking for something to read over the weekend ?
Nothing on your book radar that is screaming ‘read me’?
Take a look at my Friday Favorite. It may be new. It may be old. It may be written by a famous author, or by someone you have never heard of. But wherever in the spectrum it falls, it will be a book that is special to me, one that has captured both my imagination and my heart.
EXCERPT: Giles Barrington couldn’t sleep the night before he was due to fly to Berlin. He was up long before the sun rose, didn’t bother with breakfast and took a taxi from his home in Smith Square to Heathrow hours before his flight was due to depart. First flights in the morning were almost the only aircraft guaranteed to take off on time. He picked up a copy of the Guardian in the first class lounge, but didn’t get beyond the front page as he drank a cup of black coffee and went over Walter’s plan again and again.
It had one fundamental weakness, what he’d described as a necessary risk.
Giles was among the first to board the aircraft and, even though the plane took off on time, kept checking his watch every few minutes throughout the flight. The plane touched down in Berlin at 9.45 a.m. and, as Giles had no luggage, he was sitting in the back of another taxi twenty minutes later.
‘Checkpoint Charlie,’ he said to the driver, who gave him a second look before joining the early morning traffic heading into the city.
Soon after they’d passed the dilapidated Brandenburg Gate, Giles spotted the white Mercedes coach Walter had told him to look out for. As he didn’t want to be the first person to board, he asked the taxi driver to stop a couple of hundred yards from the crossing point. Giles paid the fare and began to stroll around as if he were a tourist, not that there were any sites to look out for, other than a graffiti-covered wall. He didn’t start to make his way towards the coach until he’d seen several other delegates climb aboard.
Giles joined the line of foreign dignitaries and political journalists who had travelled from all over Europe to attend a ceremonial lunch and hear a speech by Erich Honecker, the new General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party. He still wondered if he might once again be prevented from crossing the border and be left with no choice but to return on the next flight back to Heathrow. But Walter had assured him that since he was representing the British Labour Party as a former Foreign Minister, he would be made most welcome by his hosts. The East German regime, Walter explained, had been unable to open any meaningful dialogue with the present Conservative government and was desperate to forge some worthwhile alliances with the Labour Party, especially as it looked likely that they would soon be returning to power. When Giles reached the front of the queue he handed his passport to an official, who gave it a cursory glance before ushering him on board. The first hurdle crossed.
As Giles walked down the aisle, he spotted a young woman sitting alone near the back, looking out of the window. He didn’t need to check her seat number.
‘Hello,’ he said.
She looked up and smiled. He didn’t know her name, and perhaps it was better that he didn’t. All he knew was that she spoke fluent English, was an interpreter by profession, roughly the same age as Karin, and would be wearing an identical outfit to hers. But there was one thing Walter hadn’t explained. Why was she willing to take such a risk?
ABOUT THIS BOOK: Cometh the Hour opens with the reading of a suicide note, which has devastating consequences for Harry and Emma Clifton, Giles Barrington and Lady Virginia.
Giles must decide if he should withdraw from politics and try to rescue Karin, the woman he loves, from behind the Iron Curtain. But is Karin truly in love with him, or is she a spy?
Lady Virginia is facing bankruptcy, and can see no way out of her financial problems, until she is introduced to the hapless Cyrus T. Grant III from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who’s in England to see his horse run at Royal Ascot.
Sebastian Clifton is now the Chief Executive of Farthings Bank and a workaholic, whose personal life is thrown into disarray when he falls for Priya, a beautiful Indian girl. But her parents have already chosen the man she is going to marry. Meanwhile, Sebastian’s rivals Adrian Sloane and Desmond Mellor are still plotting to bring him and his chairman Hakim Bishara down, so they can take over Farthings.
Harry Clifton remains determined to get Anatoly Babakov released from a gulag in Siberia, following the international success of his acclaimed book, Uncle Joe. But then something unexpected happens that none of them could have anticipated.
MY THOUGHTS: Jeffrey Archer is a true story-teller. I swear he could take a shopping list and make a story of it.
This is an exciting mix of politics, history and family drama.
Cometh the Hour is the penultimate book in the Clifton Chronicles and I eagerly await the publication of This Was A Man later this year (2016). It is an excellent series and no less than I have come to expect from this author.
WARNING: You do need to read this series from the beginning and in order, otherwise you will not get the full benefit of the plot.
THE AUTHOR: Jeffrey Howard Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare (born 15 April 1940) is an English author and former politician.
He was a Member of Parliament and deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, and became a life peer in 1992. His political career, having suffered several controversies, ended after a conviction for perverting the course of justice and his subsequent imprisonment. He is married to Mary Archer, a scientist specialising in solar power. Outside politics, he is a novelist, playwright and short story writer.
DISCLOSURE: I borrowed a copy of Cometh the Hour by Jeffrey Archer, published by St Martin’s Press, from my good friend and fellow bookworm, Chris Adams. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1730360116