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The Fourth Estate Mass Market Paperback – May 23, 1997

3.7 out of 5 stars 192 customer reviews

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Mass Market Paperback, May 23, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Utilizing his extensive theatrical experience, Martin Jarvis handles the difficult task of narrating Jeffrey Archer's bestseller, The Fourth Estate, quite admirably. As in his extremely popular novel, Kane & Abel, Archer has once again created dual protagonists--in this case, chronicling the parallel lives of two rival media tycoons, each bent on global domination of the newspaper industry. Because of this doubly complex plot device, the narrator must possess a very flexible voice to differentiate not only the two lead characters, but each of their large supporting casts as well. Jarvis tackles the challenge quite capably.

Although the work is billed as fiction, the personalities and events bear a striking resemblance to actual stories seen in headlines. So recognizable, in fact, that lawsuits were filed in an effort to halt publication of Archer's book altogether. Perhaps that can explain his relatively safe, methodical effort here. As usual, he has devised an absorbing and intricate plot, but the story follows the action forward so closely that there is little time allowed for insight into the character's motivations or for philosophical narrative. Still, Archer's considerable talent as a storyteller and the noteworthy performance by the very talented Jarvis make The Fourth Estate a compelling look at the cause and effect of ruthless corporate behavior and provides an intriguing peek behind closed boardroom doors. (Running time: six hours, four cassettes) --George Laney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Archer turns raw male ambition into fast and furious fun." -- -- Entertainment Weekly

"Archer turns raw male ambition into fast and furious fun." -- -- Entertainment Weekly

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch (May 23, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061092037
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061092039
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.5 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,888,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Vijay Krishna on September 1, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
To those who have read Kane & Abel, The Fourth Estate is a bit of deja vu. The plot is essentially the same. Two men - one a refugee from a war, the other an Ivy League-educated millionaire get pitted against each other and will not cease until the other man is driven out of business. The action is rivetting and makes the book a compelling page-turner.
The book is actually based on real-life characters, and a few real incidents too. Readers will find it tough not to see the similarity between Keith Townsend and Rupert Murdoch.
The way the story is woven is also reminiscent of Kane & Abel, however the book does not sag one wee bit in action. I assign five stars to this book because that's the maximum!
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Format: Hardcover
At last, Archer brings us back to the classic man-against-man novel, as in his successful "Kane and Abel". This is a must-read novel, full of wonderful character development, clever, yet manipulative story lines and riveting endings at each chapter.

From the opening chapter the reader is totally immersed in the two main characters -- Armstrong and Townsend, from two completely different backgrounds. Their lives seem lifelike, and not plastic and phony, like many authors characters. The reader becomes emotionally attached to one of the charcters, and cheers for their favorite one, right until the bitter end. The plot twists are so remarkable, and riveting, it is easy to read 200+ pages in one sitting!

One wonders how Archer continually comes up with such brilliant ideas. The only bad thing about this 750 page novel was reading the last chapter. If only all novels were this excellent
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By A Customer on July 9, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Jeffrey Archer is one of those authors - the kind that people love to hate. He writes fiction that requires no real thinking to get through, just a great sense of wanting to be entertained.
In the Fourth Estate, Archer describes the lives of two ficticious (although clearly based on some well-known real life moguls) newspaper barons. He explains their differing beginnings (one humble, one rich) and intersperses this with the story of a battle to win a business empire.
The story is every part the cliche "page turner", especially towards the end, when the climactic chapters and the way they build up a great sense of suspense is testament to the enjoyable experience you have reading this book.
This was my first Jeffrey Archer novel that I'd read - if you're in the same position it's a great place to start.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Not recommended. The story could have been told in far less than 742 pages. The first part was intriguing, as we were introduced to the two main characters -- two children in different parts of the world with vastly different lifestyles, both clever and entrepreneurial. Their devious ways were entertaining. When they became mega-business competitors as adults, it was mildly interesting. But by the time I was half-way through the book, I realized that I didn't care about either of them. There was a great lack of character development. As businessmen, they were ruthless and amoral; as people, they were uncaring and self-centered. There was nothing likeable about either of them. The last 300 pages were nothing but repeated plotting and scheming against each other, ad nauseum. But because I had read other books by this author that were exceptionally good, I plodded on, hoping for an exciting conclusion. Disappointingly, the ending was extremely ho-hum. The only bit of satisfaction for me was tossing this book into my trash can.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
... that make for a wonderfully absorbing tale then, this is the book for you.

Jeffrey Archer hits one out the park with The Fourth Estate. I'm a huge fan of Archer's and within his portfolio of novels are gems like this one. This story has two main protagonists born at the same time but worlds apart geographically and socially. One a peasant, one a son of opportunity. Both have a common trait, the desire to succeed. Within that desire is a skill with people, a sharp mind and a clear cut vision.

Archer colors in his characters by provenance. We follow the characters from their birth through their formative years and as we move with them, Archer teaches us about them. We follow them as they learn their various crafts and finally, when their worlds collide, we know all there is to know about them which allows us to, somewhat, anticipate their moves based on their individual motives.

This is the beauty of Archer's work. Obviously a highly intelligent man, Archer writes at a level that draws you in by bringing text alive in your mind and putting you in the rooms with the characters. Maybe I sound overly impressed? Well, I have to admit, he is my favorite author.

This book opens with what is, effectively, the last but one chapter then takes us to the start of a wonderful saga that spans many continents and many, many years. High finance is involved as our cast members evolve from humble beginnings to powerful positions in a more modern world. Initially driven by the desire to succeed, they clash over a business deal and one wrongs the other. So starts the feud. The feud fuels both men and, impulsiveness born of the desire to one-up the other brings about eventual downfall but ... who is the ultimate loser?

Read the book, enjoy it, absorb it then, go get yourself another Archer novel.

First class literature.
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