Read of the Week

Cometh the Hour

Jeffrey Archer

Macmillan

Review: Brian Joss

Jeffrey Archer left his legions of fans on a cliffhanger in Mightier than the Sword, the fifth in the series that follows the fortunes of the Clifton-Barrington families, as he did in the preceding books Only Time Will Tell, The Sins of the Father, Best Kept Secret, Be Careful What You Wish For and Mightier than the Sword (all reviewed), and he does it again in Cometh the Hour, the sixth and penultimate in the series, which covers the 1970s.

The seventh, This Was A Man, will be launched in November. In Mightier than the Sword, readers were left waiting for the outcome of the trial in which Lady Virginia Fenwick was suing Emma Barrington for libel and the result hinged on whether the suicide note left by Major Alex Fisher would be allowed as evidence.

The answer comes within the first few pages and the rest of the chronicle follows the machinations of a desperate Lady Fenwick who has been cut out of her father’s will and cons an American millionaire into marrying her; Emma’s husband, author Harry Clifton is still on a mission to free Russian writer Anatoly Babakov from the Gulag and have his book, Uncle Joe, published in the West.

Sebastian Clifton is now a big-time London banker who is still regretting the fact that he allowed his American fiancée, Samantha, to slip through his fingers. Even though he finds a new love, Priya Ghuman.

Meanwhile, Sir Giles had to resign his Labour seat after his “scandalous” relationship with an East German translator surfaces. But the woman, Karen Pengelly, who escapes from behind the Wall to England to be with Sir Giles, is not what she seems.

The usual suspects also feature prominently, including Desmond Mellors who is determined to sink Barrington Shipping.

And with Adrian Sloane, is engineering a take-over of Farthings Bank and they try to frame the chairman, Hakim Bishara.

Cometh the Hour ends on a nail-biter when Pengelly is staring into the barrel of a gun, with her stepfather, John Pengelly, behind it. All will be revealed in This Was A Man, in November. So you will have to wait until then to find out what happens to the Clifton-Barringtons, and if the other six books are any indication it will be worth it.

You can read Cometh the Hour as a standalone because the synopsis explains briefly what happened previously. But then you would miss out on all the action and there is plenty of it.