I am so glad to have discovered this "oldie" originally published in 1979 because it is one of the best books I have ever read. It has drama, suspense, romance, and enough plot twists to keep the most savvy reader breathlessly reading until the heart-wrenching conclusion.
William Kane and Abel Rosnovski both enter the world in 1906. One is born to a wealthy, socially prominent Boston family. The other is born in poverty in Poland to an unwed woman who dies during childbirth. They each have a remarkable life story that makes for spellbinding reading until the finale in 1963.
Abel is rescued from the woods beside the body of his dead mother by a hunter and taken into a peasant family. The Russian occupation of Poland, his fearful and solitary escape to Turkey and later America, will have you cheering this tough young boy.
Meanwhile, young William Kane is growing up in the lap of luxury, attending the finest schools, and winning every honor his father before him achieved.
You will be fascinated by Archer's storytelling and the vivid characters he portrays. You will root for Abel and take him to your heart. You will be fascinated with William and wish only the best for him. Unfortunately, when the two characters cross paths as young men, a fierce hatred erupts and they become life-long enemies, as Abel swears to destroy William Kane.
The author has made each of his main characters so endearing that the reader is torn and loyalties falter. Do you root for Abel? Do you root for William? Dare you hope they will work this out? Whatever you are thinking, you will be surprised. This is not one of those novels where you will see the ending coming, but you will be stunned, sad, and uplifted as a gamut of emotions play with your mind and heart.
I finished this late last night and have been thinking about Abel and William all day. I can hardly wait to start on the sequel, "The Prodigal Daughter."