The Sins of the Father by Jeffery Archer

The Sins of the Father

“The Sins of the Father” is another best seller delivered by the skilled writer, Jeffery Archer. He has authored a number of novels, Kane and Abel, A Prisoner of Birth and Cat O’ Nine Tales to name a few. Once again, he prepares a thrilling novel that takes you from the streets of Bristol in England to Manhattan in the United States of America.

The story picks up from when Harry Clifton, the male protagonist, disguised as Tom Bradshaw is arrested for murder of his brother in the year 1939. That is when Harry learns that the sharpest lawyer in Manhattan, Sefton Jelks, willingly promises to offer his services with the acceptance that he will get nothing more than a lighter sentence. Harry accepts this offer to protect the woman he loved more than his life, Emma Barrington. But it doesn’t turn out the way he expects it to be. He is tried and proven guilty and immediately Jelks disappears into the dark. Harry spends months at Lavenham prison writing diaries about his life and his experience as the deputy librarian. One day he gets an offer to complete the rest of the sentence serving the Fifth Texas Rangers under the leadership of Colonel Cleverdon.

At a parallel pace, Emma Barrington puts in all her effort to search for Harry, who is believed to be dead. She leaves the safe walls of Bristol and moves to New York leaving her son, Sebastian behind with Masie Clifton, Harry’s mother. She meets everyone who were associated Harry to find out that he has been arrested. She is moved to tears but this increases the urge to not only find Harry but also release him from prison.

Giles Barrington, Emma’s elder brother and Harry’s best friend, enrolls himself in the army leaving Oxford half way through. The Second World War is progressing and Giles proves himself as a very capable officer and is awarded the position of the lieutenant of the major regiment. Hugo Barrington, Emma’s father accepts divorce from his wife, Elizabeth. He makes use of Olga Piotrovska, a Jew having escaped from Poland after German invasion for his survival and lays his cards carefully before her. He employs a detective to keep a close watch on her and soon she learns that he is a married man whose father to Giles as well as Harry. She conceives a baby girl and puts forth her demands in front of him. He loses control and attempts to kill her and in turn gets killed.

Emma is put through all trials & tribulations and finally finds Harry. Harry is proven to be Hugo’s and Masie’s son. As Sir Walter Barrington and Hugo Barrington are now dead, there is a trial held as to which of the two sons finally inherit the property and also leaves Emma’s and Harry’s marriage in the near future a big question. On this note, Jeffery Archer leaves his readers on the urge to know what bound to happen to Emma and Harry. On the whole it is a very entertaining novel that keeps you turning its pages till the very end. It dives into the realms of time and unravels many secrets which proves to the turning point of the story. I personally find the book worthy of reading as Jeffery Archer again waves his wand to produce the magic seen in his first installment, “Only Time Will Tell”. Many are very much enthusiastic to read the final installment of the Clifton Chronicles, ”The Best Kept Secret”.

R. Aishwarya


My Family And Other Animals – Gerald Durell

My Family & Other Animals

Gerald Durrell never misses an opportunity to amaze us with his books, and I absolutely fell in love with the story of his five-year sojourn that he and his family made on the Greek Island of Corfu, simply titled, “My Family and Other Animals”. An extraordinarily brilliant book which paints a vivid picture of the enchanted island, Corfu, it has been one of the best books that I have ever read.

The story begins with the family’s migration to Corfu, the family being Larry, the eldest and the most reprimanding of the lot, Leslie, a serious and occupied young man, Margo, the youthful maiden on the lookout for exotic and romantic escapades, Mother, who insists Gerald to explain that she is a widow, for she so penetratingly observes, “you never know what people might think”, and finally Gerry, who is at the time, a tender and impressionable age of ten. They are befriended by a merry taxi-driver named Spiro, who with his hilarious grasp of the English language, helps them find a villa in a peaceful countryside to move into. Gerald calls it, “The strawberry pink villa”. It is here that Gerald brings all his new pets that he finds in the wild. He explores his surroundings with his dog Roger and gets to know the local villagers and peasants, whom he names interestingly based on how they look or what they do, like “the rose-beetle man,” from whom he buys a little tortoise who he ironically names Achilles.

Gerald Durrell has this special ability to bring words to life as he invites you for a tour around the entire island. He lives in and describes three villas in the book, the other two being “The Daffodil-yellow” and “The Snow-White villas”.

He is initially tutored at home but later on is sent to the town to a new tutor, named Kralefsky. The tutor has an enormous collection of birds on his roof that fascinates Gerald. He also meets Kralefsky’s ancient mother, who he considers a queen, surrounded by a court of flowers, which he claims are alive and talking.

One of the most fantastic chapters is probably the last one, when the family plans a party. As the family is drowned with tasks and duties on the festive day, some wild animals are accidentally let loose. Snakes are found in the bathtubs, an albatross stalks the guest from under the dining table while the bees along with the dogs hysterically terrorize the garden and its visitors. The family is very accustomed to such occurrences but it always catches the guests by surprise.

‘My Family and Other Animals’ is an incredible book which would definitely spike the reader’s interest in animals and wildlife, it certainly did for me! It is part of a trilogy on the island – The Corfu Trilogy. I am currently reading the third book, and the amazement has not reduced one bit. In these very true words, Gerald would traditionally end his books, “A world without animals of every shape and size, would be one that I, personally, would not care to live in…” He strived for the protection of the environment and I think that all of us can associate with these words.

Ram kumar I