Mightier Than the Sword

Written by Jeffrey Archer
Review by Ann Chamberlin

On the maiden voyage of a transatlantic liner, Emma, the chairman of the board of Barrington’s, the owner, and her husband Harry Clifton foil a bomb placed in a congratulatory vase of lilies, purportedly from the Queen Mum. This is the rare thriller sort of action in a tale of sprawling time frame mostly sited in boardrooms, courtrooms and the Houses of Parliament. This fifth in a series easily brings the reader up to speed with on-going characters and, though the promise of terrorist plots vanishes, we are compelled by more subtle conflicts by the bestselling author, who obviously knows his craft and his subjects, if he cannot always keep his own political nose clean.

My biggest contention is with calling this a historical novel. For some readers out there, the 1960s and 70s may seem like prehistory, but they are not for me, nor are they for Archer, who predates me.