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Heads You Win
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Archive: Other Books > Heads You Win, Jeffrey Archer; 4 Stars

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Hahtoolah | 405 comments Heads You Win, by Jeffrey Archer (2018)

This novel begins in 1968 when Alexander Karpenko is a 16-year-old living in Leningrad, Russia with his parents. His father has plans to form a union for dockworkers, but his plans are thwarted when he is assassinated by the KGB. Alexander suspects that his former friend, Vladimir may have had a hand in the assassination.

Knowing that their lives are in danger, Alexander and his mother must escape Russia. Alexander’s uncle has a plan for their escape ~ to hide in a crate intended for a container ship. Alexander flips a coin, which will determine their destination ~ England or America.

From here, the story takes a turn. We go back and forth between both alternatives. One alternative finds Alexander, now known as Sasha, in England. His mother starts her life as a cook, and ultimately the owner of several restaurants. Alexander is a stellar student and finds himself at Cambridge University. Eventually, he enters politics and becomes a member of parliament.

In the other alternative, Alexander, lands in New York City and becomes known as Alex. Life in New York is more hard-scrabbled. He quickly becomes a hustler and runs several stalls in a market, before being shipped to Vietnam in the war. After his stint in the army, he becomes involved in the banking industry.

Both versions of Alexander, however, retain an interest in the political intrigue occurring in his native Russia. After 30 years, both feel the pull to return.

There is a “surprise” ending, however, all the hints to the ending are scattered throughout the novel and I guessed the end.

This was a fun read. Not high literature, but an easy and enjoyable book.

4 Stars


message 2: by Karin (new)

Karin | 6877 comments Wow, he's still writing! I've read a couple of his because my dad used to be a real fan. Now that he's in his 80s he primarily reads nonfiction, though.


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