Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “As the Crow Flies” as Want to Read:
As the Crow Flies
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

As the Crow Flies

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  19,008 ratings  ·  757 reviews
Charlie's earliest memory is of hearing his grandfather's sales patter from behind his barrow. When Grandpa Charlie dies, young Charlie wants to follow in his footsteps. This is an epic journey through the triumphs and disasters of the century.
Paperback, 696 pages
Published November 1st 2010 by Pan Books (first published May 1st 1990)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about As the Crow Flies, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Sara The book lists the graduation ceremony where this exchange happened as occurring sometime between 1918-1921, which was during the reign of George V,…moreThe book lists the graduation ceremony where this exchange happened as occurring sometime between 1918-1921, which was during the reign of George V, but Percy refers to the king as "Bertie" which was a nickname for King George VI. Assuming that Archer played a little more looslely with the timeline than the nickname, it would make sense that the king's great-great-great-great-grandfather was George II. Following that logic, I think it's a safe bet that Percy's ancestor was Bonnie Prince Charlie, especially considering his Scottish roots.

I've been mulling over this question for years, since the first time I read this book. At one point in the early 2000's I actually emailed the question to the email address listed on Jeffrey Archer's web page. An assistant replied to me with words to the effect of "I have no idea, and I'm not going to ask my boss (who is a very busy internationally best-selling author) to identify a seriously minor character in a book he wrote years ago". I don't fault him/her for that!(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,008 ratings  ·  757 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of As the Crow Flies
Johnny Williams
Mar 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OH my what do I say. This book was published some 20 years ago but truly it is timeless. The joy in this novel is in the story telling -- all 600 pages of it devoted to draw you into the richness of the characters as they are woven into this saga spanning decades. Many authors have made their books long-- but end up just filling the pages with fluff....not so for archer--I relished each page and was sort of disappointed when I reached the end.

The character's individual parts are stories within
...more
Betsy
Feb 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a sucker for Jeffrey Archer, 20th Century London and epic novels, so it's no surprise that I've read "As the Crow Flies" a dozen times. Following the life of Charlie Trumper beginning at the turn of the century, the book takes readers on a journey through both world wars, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth and the swinging 60's. While the story is about Charlie's success in retail, the core of the story revolves around his wife, his son and his fierce rivalry with the Trentham family. This is ...more
Rob
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sagas
As The Crow Flies, first published in 1990.

This is a saga of the rags to riches life of Charlie Trumper. Not really a rags to riches story more the industrious boy from a working class back ground with big aspirations story.
The period of time is from the 1910’s to the 1960’s.
To say that Charlie’s life was colourful would be an understatement, from impoverished childhood with a fruit and vegetable barrow in the East End of London to the fields of France during the WW1. Then in WW2 he became
...more
Misfit
Depending on which browser I've opened to read this in (I do hate epub books and the Overdrive app that can never remember my login), I've made it to about 50% of this huge chunkster, so I'm counting this towards Mt. TBR of 2015 and the GR reading challenge. 400-500 pages is a full book in my world.

As far as I did get - the story begins around the latter years of WWI, and focused around a set of characters in the early years of building a financial empire starting with one store at a time -
...more
Jim Henry
This is a fairly good 200 page novel, hiding inside 600 pages. It was easy to read, but not very fulfilling. I was ready to quit on it at the halfway point, as I became tired of reading of each shop being purchased with great detail about how much it cost, and what a good deal Charlie got on each one. I continued on, and the story improved somewhat. I never felt anything for any of the characters. They all seemed one dimensional.

I did like the way that the story switched perspective from one
...more
Dianne
Jun 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a fun read this was. I'd never read any Jeffrey Archer, and had the impression that he was just a mystery/thriller writer. Imagine my surprise, then, to become immersed in this atmospheric novel that begins in the early 20th century in the East End of London and ranges through the years (and the continents!) until 1970, with chapters that focus on the main characters, one by one. Charlie Trumper begins life assisting his grandfather on his fruit and vegetable barrow in the East End. As he ...more
Nina
Dec 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was one book I couldn't put down but did so reluctantly. I would give it five stars. The characters seemed so real I felt they were people I knew.
Tracy
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this story! Charlie Trumper starts as a seller of vegetables and fruits on the streets of London. How he gets from there to WW 1 to working for Winston Churchill during WW 2 to running a multi million dollar store is all fascinating and entertaining. He has evil to overcome and he manages well.

If you enjoyed The Clifton Chronicles, then I would highly recommend this book.
Laura
Jun 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was really good. It was a great story of one man and his entire life from the age of 0-75.
I loved the main character, his wife and his son.
There was a lot of scandal, drama, backstabbing, mystery and love.
It kept me wanting to know more and I had so many unanswered questions until the very end.
This book was recommended to me by my Nanny, my Mum and my Aunt. They all loved the book and I'm glad I can say I did too.

There was one part in the book that I didn't see coming. I was
...more
Susan


It's funny how our tastes change, I think that many years ago I would have loved this book, but now I have to admit that halfway through I found myself skimming sections of it....something I very, very rarely do.
It was a good story, that of a poor east end London boy, instilled with an excellent work ethic by his Grandfather, and blessed with brains and ingenuity, who makes good despite bereavement, war, and many other trials and tribulations, including making an enemy determined to undermine
...more
Debby
Aug 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-books
A great, intrically woven family saga set in Britain. It begins with a man who is a vegetable peddler who has a dream to do and be more and it's the story of his life and the life of his family. I couldn't put it down once I started reading it.
Reem
Jul 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-read
هو الراجل ده إزاي كده ؟
"Sometimes you read a book so special that you want to carry it around with you for months after you've finished just to stay near it."
~ Markus Zusak.
Luffy
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jeffrey Archer has proven himself many times. As The Crow Flies proves that he hit the ground running and was already a very good storyteller while young. He knows that even if he repeats himself, as long as there are enough new twists to the plot of any of his book, he'll be forgiven, and his works, enjoyed.

I was thoroughly entertained reading this book which has a few lulls, but which forced me to have stakes in the story at a time when I felt temporarily indifferent. After all why should I
...more
Carla
I'm pretty dissapointed with this book...can't believe I'm on page 500 and I just can't continue..is getting more and more boring, there are too many characters...and it's really annoying, because I loved the beginning, especially when the protagonist enlisted in the english army to fight against the Germans in the WW1!!!
What I hate the most is the fact that the narrator repeats the same things over and over..why?!!
I recommend this book to those who are more interested in ..I don't
...more
Mozmoz
May 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd rate it with 4 stars, but as it took me back to some British cities, their lifestyle and how they selll like in Sundays Markets, I definitely rates it with 5 stars. I've enjoyed most parts of it and read it with a smile drawn on my face especially when they talk in cockney or when i hear the words in Yorkshire accent.

However, i missed a great opportunity to read it along with a person who has a better background in history, world wars, and interest in documentary films. What even makes him
...more
Madhavi
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Great story, characters and style of story telling. However, the execution was appalling! So many loose ends! In a minute he changed Charlie's character from a strong family figure to someone who only cares about his company! It doesn't deal with the emotional aspect at all. And the part where Charlie tries to get from from Australia to London just goes on and on! It was almost like Archer got bored with his book and just decided to finish it quickly. Extremely disappointing!
Bethany
Jan 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: umm, everyone
Recommended to Bethany by: Cianne Wallin
This is a fascinating book about choices/consequences. It's also very interesting from a business perspective.


Note: mild language, one questionable scene with a barmaid (not critical to story)
Florence
Nov 09, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Such an overly long, convoluted story with a tiny payoff. There were no characters that held my interest. Everything was plot-driven. I like novels with a rich background so that you can lose yourself in the time and place. This fat novel was thin in substance.
Claire
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really entertaining soap opera that I always wanted to pick up. Also, loved the setting, England from 1914 or so until 1970.
Rebecca McNutt
This book is an intense thrill-ride of mystery, friendship and the grit and grime of street life, following realistic characters coping with the hardships of the city and the loss of family.
Tex
Sep 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
Jeffrey Archer is a master raconteur, pure and simple, and he has turned that talent to tell the story of Charlie Trumper in "As The Crow Flies".

Charlie grew up in the East End of London working with his Grandpa, who was a trader on the Whitechapel Road market selling fruit and veg from his barrow. When Charlie's grandfather dies so begins Charlie's journey to own a store that sold everything under one roof - the "biggest barrow in the world"!

Spanning seven decades Archer takes the reader
...more
Aditya Surti
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book expecting to get a flavor of first and second world war history amidst some Archerian fiction (somewhat similar to the Ken Follet century trilogy); however I wasn't much impressed with the history aspect of this book as much as it still kept me engrossed in the fiction. That being said I would consider this book to be a soap opera entertainer of fiction; I wouldn't consider it to be the best in terms of historical fiction; I would still consider it to be an entertaining ...more
Kw
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really, does anyone tell a story any better than Jeffrey Archer? I simply revel in his books, and this one is no exception. I may need to reread some of the old ones (not that this is new, just newly discovered).
Mike
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't do many fives. This may is not only a good writer but a great story teller. This is a long one but the story never gets slow and draggy.
Julie Holmes
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure about reading a Jeffery Archer book, but what a page turner it turned out to be. Wanted to find out about Charlie the main character and how his empire grows despite all of the ips and downs. I loved this book, wanting to read more of Jefftey Archer
Shalini M
Mar 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Review from January 2007

I started reading this book by Archer over the holidays. At the time I wondered if I would be able to finish the book before the holidays end. As luck would have it, the next day (and the only such day during the entire week) I was freed of my duties of supervising the workmen who held household captive for the rest of the vacation. It was a bright, sunny day - ideal to laze about. So I took a chair out in the sun, and sat down to read. And by late afternoon, I was
...more
Venkatraman Ramachandran
It was a different experience reading this novel "As the Crow Flies" written by Jeffrey Archer. Rags to riches story of a man from a roadside vegetable & fruit vendor to a globally known entrepreneur is quite fascinating if not very inspiring.

Qualities or attributes associated with the central character "Charlie Trumper" - Industrious nature, self-confidence, audaciousness, simple business acumen, hunger to achieve more, witty nature, strong leadership yet grounded in the approach etc.,
...more
Rachel
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love sagas. This book is the epitome of time and family saga. Beginning in early 20th century and going to the '60s, it follows the story of Charlie Trumper and his rise from a local street merchant to the owner of London's largest department store.

Told from multiple points of view, Archer does a great job of getting into the head and heart of the characters. He doesn't waste time with extraneous back story, but just enough to let us know what's going on.

He does start each character's story in
...more
Srinath Padmanabhan
Oct 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-have
The reason why many people love Jeffrey Archer is that his story always has life in it and is heartwarming and this book is no exception. He takes us through the lives of Charlie Trumper, Becky, Daphne, Daniel Trumper and their rivalry against Guy & Mrs Trumper. Reading this book gave me a feeling of living Charlie's life for 60 years. The great thing is that as a reader we know the suspense and only the characters are searching for answers but still makes it an interesting read.
If you like
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
One of the best of Jeffrey Archer if not the best 4 46 Jul 02, 2015 09:16PM  
Goodreads Malaysia: As the Crow Flies 8 69 Oct 13, 2010 06:41PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Shadow Hunter
  • Java Spider
  • The Burma Legacy (Sam Packer, #3)
  • Dark Angel
  • Scorpion Trail
  • Fire Hawk (Sam Packer, #1)
  • Paper Money
  • Skydancer
  • The Lucifer Network (Sam Packer, #2)
  • Kathmandu (Leo Keane International Thriller Book 1)
  • ROSEMERRYN.
  • The Deceiver
  • Master of the Game
  • The Citizen
  • Putting on the Style (Champion Street Market Saga Book 1)
  • In a Kingdom by the Sea
  • A Dangerous Fortune
  • She's Out (Dolly Rawlins, #3)
See similar books…
7,879 followers
Jeffrey Howard Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare (born 15 April 1940) is an English author and former politician.

He was a Member of Parliament and deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, and became a life peer in 1992. His political career, having suffered several controversies, ended after a conviction for perverting the course of justice and his subsequent imprisonment. He is married
...more
“إن سعيت لإخفاء أصلك فلن يعود عليك ذلك إلا بالندم” 7 likes
“إياك أن تتخلى عن حرصك” 4 likes
More quotes…