Most helpful critical review
71 of 80 people found the following review helpful
This was a good Archer novel but not a great one!
on May 12, 2012
So, why not a great one? Well, firstly it is obviously the middle book in (at least?) a trilogy as you will see by the ending, but that's OK. I do, however, look forward somewhat to what I hope will be the finale! Any longer and we will be approaching an "exploitation" scenario! Firstly, some kudos! It was a nice touch by Mr. Archer for naming a character in the book, after presumably a friend who passed away, and a good guy at that and that's all I'll say. Secondly the book is highly readable, and like other Archer books, one that is hard to put down for mundane stuff like eating and sleeping! However, it does have some relatively big faults! I was somewhat disappointed that 2 of the main characters in the book (I'll not tell you who they are so as not to be a spoiler; you can work it out for yourself) are IMO "short changed" in that one of them literally disappears for 4 years, out of a 6 1/2 year time span for the book, and the other for three, with only a brief explanation over their "missing" years before they appear again, which I found to be very annoying. They disappear for years then pop up for the last few chapters, frankly IMO just to "whet your appetite" for the last book. It seemed to me this was also to keep the book to a "short" 339 pages which is also an annoyance, when you consider the 500-700 page length of most of Mr. Archer's other books! I also dislike this trend among authors of taking a good sized novel and adding a middle book as a "filler" to create a trilogy to extend/increase their revenues and Mr. Archer does that here, and as I said before, this novel is just a bridge to a final one! I find this crassly exploitive of reader's loyalties! At least with an author like Bernard Cornwell, and, for example his series like the "Saxon Stories" and the "Grail Quest", you know upfront that there are more books coming in the series but each one is a separate novel in itself with a hard and satisfying ending that still leaves you really wanting the next chapter/book in the series! At least Mr. Archer, so far, writes all the books himself, unlike other authors, such as James Patterson, who puts his name to some of his co-authored books that I believe are largely written by other authors, who quite frankly would have a hard time getting their ideas published, another pet peeve of mine.
So overall a decent "bridging" book and read but an expensive one (for its length/plot), but hopefully the final one will be much, much better. I think 3 stars is a very fair rating for this book, at best!