For those of you who are new to Archer’s books, look out! I will have a really hard time finding anything wrong with him. He does leave this one a little open ended but I forgive him – ha ha. You really have to read all he has written. Kane and Abel is one of the best novels written about generational drama and that is one of the few that has a follow up novel as well. Archer is one of the authors who got me through endless boring textbooks in college as I would reward myself with one of his books after assignments (one of the others being Ludlum).
This story centres on young Harry Clifton who begins his life in poverty with a mother, a deceased father and a particularly horrid uncle. He bunks off school so he can go and hang around the docks watching his uncle and many others build boats. He has many questions about who is father was and how he died but is very careful to not mention anything in front of said uncle as he is liable to get his ears clipped. By a twist of fate, found only in fabulous novels such as this, Harry has a gift; that of a beautiful soprano voice. This enables him to try out for a scholarship to a prestigious school and, for his mother, some hope of a life better than hers. He meets a boy who will become a lifelong friend but also is faced with prejudice he has never known before.
Thankfully he is mentored, albeit in a very sneaky way, by an old man who has secrets that he keeps hidden. This man has a wealth of knowledge that he shares with Harry; he encourages Harry to do his best and to go for the scholarship with all his heart. Obviously still waters run deep and this man proves to be more than just an ally for Harry, he becomes a true friend.
His story alone is such great reading and you really want to know more about him but alas this is about the Clifton lad. We go back to the Great War and follow Harry’s mum and how she met Harry’s dad and also some of the mistakes she made along the way and we also get to see Harry mature and also fall in love.
There are many turns in the book and Archer does his best to help us become truly endeared to the characters. As you expect, due to the timeline, the beginning of World War II is also part of the story. I won’t give anything away as you wouldn’t believe it. Bravo Mr. Archer and when is the next book?