In this, the sixth in Jeffrey Archer's Clifton Chronicles, the master story teller continues the saga of the triumphs and tribulations of the Clifton and Barrington families. The dynasties that began in the 1860s have now reached the 1970s.

The decade begins with a libel case between Emma Clifton and Lady Virginia Fenwick that will have wide-ranging effects on members of both families. Archer manages to keep the various strands of the somewhat complicated narrative going as his characters travel from the gulags in Siberia to Downing St, London.

It's a vast saga in the world of wealth and power inhabited by some very twisted people indeed. It can be difficult to keep track of who is who - about half a dozen people were introduced on the first page alone - but Archer does take the time to rehash what went on in the previous five novels in the series.

That might make it boring for those who have read them but jumping into the narrative at novel number six may make the story a little difficult to follow.


Archer is in his element here, with a complex, involved and far-arching tale of complicated family ties, his trademark twists and turns maintaining enough interest to go on to the next page. It's a good, although less-than-gripping read, as one expects from Archer. Just when you think you know what is going to happen next, it doesn't. The book ends on a cliff-hanger in preparation for the final novel in the series, due next year.

Cometh the Hour
By Jeffrey Archer
(MacMillan $49.99)