Emma's family business, Barrington Shipping Company is moving forward trying to keep up with changing times as well as competing with rival companies. Against Emma's better judgement, the board has decided to contract the building of a luxury liner, the MV Buckingham, which they expect to be a floating palace with new, modern comforts. Its maiden voyage is planned for New York and even the Queen Mother is to name the ship several weeks prior. The cost of this new vessel will be high, but hopefully, the rewards even higher. As the building of the ship progresses, Don Pedro will stop at nothing to bring the family down, leaving no one out of his reach.
With any series, there is a risk of the stories getting redundant or stale. At the beginning, I wondered whether that might happen here, but it didn't take long for that thought to leave my mind completely. The vendetta Don Pedro has against the Barrington's and Clifton's could have gotten tiresome but Archer, being the wonderful writer he is, made sure that didn't happen. I can easily say this is my favorite book of the series hands down. It has everything, but what stood out for me even amongst all the sabotage, political maneuvering, and complicated relationships was the unexpected humor. Jeffrey Archer showed such wit with some of the characters and included funny capers that literally had me laughing out loud. But then just as quickly, the story would turn serious again. I enjoyed this book so much, I just didn't want it to end.
There are a lot of characters in this book, most from previous installments and new ones, but they are not at all hard to keep straight. They are so diverse and original, some even quirky, but all great. In addition to his knack of creating good characters, I also really enjoy his style of writing. Experienced mystery writers know exactly how to ensure there is always that doubt or question in the back of your mind and Archer does it very well. For example, when a chapter begins, you may not know exactly which character is doing what but when it is revealed, there is always that Aha! moment. I love that about his books. And that is not to mention the cliffhangers. There are small ones throughout the book but the biggest and best is always left for the end. I can't believe I have to wait until next year to find out what happened!
I am so thankful to Anna from Diary of an Eccentric for introducing me to Jeffrey Archer and this series. I won the audio CD of the first book from her several years ago and I have been hooked ever since. I've listened to the first three installments but this is the first one I've actually read. Though I really love the narrator of the audios, I enjoyed reading this one every bit as much. If you are considering reading this series, which I hope you will, you must start start from the beginning to fully understand what is going on and who all the players are. Since there's only four books so far, it wouldn't be hard to get caught up at this point. To sum it up, Jeffery Archer completely entertained me with this newest book and I can't wait for the next chapter.
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Published: March 11, 2014
Length: 400 pp