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The Sins of the Father by Jeffrey Archer
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Jan 31, 2012

it was amazing

The Sins of the Father

Author: Jeffrey Archer

Reviewed by Fran Lewis

Love and breeding do strange things when trying to protect someone from being hurt. One family would rather not have Harry Clifton as part of theirs as his heritage is in question and the end result might not be what they hoped for. Harry Clifton decided to trade places with Tom Bradshaw to protect the woman he loved from knowing he was still alive. Would you agree to six months in prison for a crime you did not commit to clear the name of another man? Would you agree to assume his identity in order to protect someone you love? Emma Barrington must be someone worthy of Harry’s love and trust. So, why was he betrayed as the hearing? Why was he given 6 years and not six month? Why did he sell himself down the river? Why had his lawyer made a deal with Tom’s father to put him away for so long? In jail not for murder but desertion what would happen to this innocent man?

Learning the ropes on the way to the prison he is instructed by one of the inmates on survival skills. Winding up with Quinn his new cellmate not stroke of how well those in charge can be bribed. For ten thousand dollars he sold Harry down the tubes to get his son off of a murder charge. Would his lawyer send his mother the funds promised by his pleading guilty?

Hoping to get a job in the library with the help of the warden did not pan out as the officer or guard in charge made sure he would suffer for the first three months as a wing cleaner. But, a change of events and one manual would change his fate as he stands up to the prison guard and his entire sentence and stay turns for the better. Now, as deputy librarian he would have access to books and be free of Hessler and much more.

Let’s backtrack and explain how poor Harry became Tom. Before Britain declared war on Germany Harry Clifton decides to join the merchant marines and leave his life and past behind. But, you cannot always control your destiny and a U-boat sinks his ship but this is where his story begins. Rescued by an American cruise liner you would think his troubles were over. Harry decides to trade identities with an American who died during the night. The man, Tom Bradshaw, is in real danger and trading places with him places Harry exactly where he is at this moment.

Deputy librarian was just a start as he learned early on that many of the prisoners in Lavenham were illiterate and the head librarian did not care what positive initiatives he created as long as he did not have to do more work. Many prisoners record their days and so does Harry. Why would the head librarian want to read his journal and what would happen to it?

Next the author introduces the object of Harry’s affection Emma Barrington. We meet Emma and learn that she has Harry’s son without his knowledge. Seeing a letter delivered to her grandmother, recognizing the handwriting she realizes that Harry is alive and formulates a plan to find out more. Knowing that he might be alive and recounting for the reader that she and Harry might have the same father did not change her feelings for him. Imagine finding this out on your wedding day standing at the altar. Emma puts her plan in motion as she takes a job as a waitress with Harry’s mother, leaves asks for references and decides to leave her son and family to try and find Harry on the last known place he was seen The Kansas Star. But, learning that her contact was not on the ship but finding out the address of someone that might help her revealed the truth about Harry and what really happened to him.

Giles Barrington was Harry’s best friend and was inconsolable when he heard of his death. Deciding to join the armed forces was his solution. As the author takes the reader on his journey in the service from recruit to Lieutenant you learn more about his character and his determination to serve despite his first rejection.

The author has introduced the characters within the same time period 1939-1941. Now, let’s revisit Harry in prison. Landing the job as head librarian upon the other’s release from prison, Lloyd has an unusual request to continue reading his diaries and hopes Harry will forward them to his new address. As the war began and the world took on a different meaning Harry recorded the reaction of not only the warden but the prisoner’s reactions to the war in Germany.

An opportunity to serve his country comes up and Harry takes it. Although it will being him up front and close to the front lines he would never turn it down as Emma gets closer to finding him and learns the truth behind his death but not why. When Emma learns one thing and approaches a source the road is blocked and she must face the fact she might not find Harry so fast. Even though the police detective tries to help her the warden blocks her way and the information she seeks is not forthcoming. What is her next step?

Giles, Harry best friend is in the service and facing his own dangers too. Harry is in another unit facing other types of danger. Will the two ever meet again and what really happened to Tom Bradshaw? Just how powerful is this lawyer named Jelks and just where will this take Emma and Harry? But, Emma’s plan backfires and when she tries to get the upper hand on Max Lloyd for taking credit for writing Harry’s journal in the form of a diary, she learns the true art of deceit and deception first hand but she is far from done and will not give up until justice comes full circle. As Giles Barrington is imprisoned in a POW camp and learns to fend for himself he and his friend Terry Bates create an escape plan that should have been fool proof but the end result leaves one man to continue his journey home and the other loses his life.

The author introduces many major characters as well as minor ones that help create the suspense and keep it going until the last page is turned. However, Hugo Barrington does not want Harry to be alive. He has other plans for the money he feels he is entitled to and wants his job back as deputy chairman of Barrington Shipping. Not able to find a job and little money he would try and get some from his mother. But courting one Olga Petrovski might prove more lucrative. Maise Clifton could not bear knowing that Harry was gone. Maise is pursued by two men and threatened by her own brother. Taking classes to read and write English lands her with her instructor as she learns more about the estate left to her and the funds she might get if she sells some of it to an unknown buyer. Emma in the mean time visits her great aunt Phyllis and along with her son Alistair will investigate the author of the journal that stole it from Harry and hopefully finding him too. The publisher of the book The Diary of the Convict was skeptical about believing Emma. When the questions are asked and answered things begin to change for Emma and she learns the startling truth about Harry. But, Hugo was no businessman and the wealth amassed in his company was soon gone and he was looking under pillows for small change and more. But the right solicitor would change it all in his favor and what happens would have sent most to jail but Sir Hugo gets away scot free but gets much more than he hoped when faced with a harsh reality. Read the headlines.

A devious plan gone awry and a clever woman who would not back down and one high priced lawyer that just might have met his match. How this all plays out you won’t believe and who wins and loses you have to learn for yourself. What is the final fate of Emma and the diary? Will they put Harry’s name as the author of the diary or will Max Lloyd win? When the book comes out and the truth is told you won’t believe the end result. Emma is determined to find out what really happened to Harry but does he want her to know and why is her path blocked every step of the way. Just how far will someone go when they really care for another person? Just how much do they have to endure at the hands of the Sins of their fathers? Who will inherit the title and who will not? Giles or Harry? What is the final outcome of their birthright and will Emma be granted the right to marry Harry? Join the House when it reconvenes at ten-tomorrow morning and the Lord Chancellor hands down his judgment. The House is adjourned. Author Jeffrey Archer keeps the reader in suspense and leaves the reader wondering: what is next for Harry, Emma, Giles and the rest of the Clifton and Barrington’s as I hope he writes the next chapter in their story. Let’s hope part three of the saga answers these questions and much more. Lies, betrayals, deceit, murder and much more still to be resolved as Hugo but he left something behind. Author Jeffrey Archer leaves the reader wondering, spell bound and ready for the next chapter in this mult-generational five part saga whose characters will definitely endear you and whose fate you wait for with bated breath.

Fran Lewis: reviewer

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