It’s been a long time since I read a fiction book. The last one was John Grisham’s The Firm back in December. It was a very riveting read and reminded me of the series Suits. The one before that…I don’t remember. I got so engrossed in reading one Non-Fiction book after another and also Biographies that I casually put fiction at the back. Zero to One, Hooked, Personal MBA etc were some of the finest books I have read. You feel you are learning a lot (and you are) when you read a Non-Fiction, equipping yourself for the real world and that is quite addictive. Finally, after a gap of 6months I read two novels in a week. The first was Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer and the other being Tell Me Your Dreams by Sidney Sheldon and both of them being the crème de la crème of the novels I have read. Both being thrillers, I was completely hooked.
Kane and Abel (No Spoilers)
* The plot is about two characters who are born on the same day at different places. The 1st third of the novel covers the journey of protagonists through their childhood and teens. The tragedies they meet with will move you. It ends with both of them facing each other the first time and the start of their rivalry which goes on till the end. The 2nd third involves their individual success journey and midlife, respective marriages and some major confrontations between them. The final third involves a subplot concerning their children and the last major showdown between them.
* Jeffrey Archer doesn’t hurry in building the main characters- Kane and Abel. He carefully crafts their persona and builds them both into equally shrewd gentlemen on the outside but caring and loving on the inside and the circumstances that made them that way.
The storytelling covers many facets- Tragedy, Romance, Friendship, Patriotism, Rivalry, Karma, Deceit, Attainment, Love, War and Finally… Peace.
* Tragedies strike early in their childhood at equal points of time. You feel a lot for both the characters and the novel stings you in the heart at places. Be it concerning Abel’s sister and wife or Kane’s parents and best friend. You also realise that the world is very unfair and also very cruel. You have to be on your guard at all times and always have a card up your sleeve. These days, its more about Survival than Success.
* When the subplot concerning their children started, I assumed where it was heading and was a bit let down but my assumptions were wrong. The author maintained the edgy flow right till the end and gives a more than satisfactory climax.
* There are many twists in the story, most of them expected and a few unexpected like the war meeting, Kane’s last year at his bank, etc.
On the whole, a very gripping and complete read. I would give it a 4 out of 5
Tell Me Your Dreams (No Spoilers Again)
* The plot is about three main characters and their involvement with 5 murders at different places. In the 1st third, the author takes you through the life of the protagonists-their lifestyle, fears and insecurities and their romantic interests. It ends with the 4 murders happening and mention of a 5th. In the 2nd third, we see a court battle concerning 3 of the murders. The final 3rd involves the setting of a rehabilitation centre as a consequence of the court judgement. The circumstances of all the murders are revealed here. And comes the unexpected final twist and a befitting conclusion.
* In contrast to Kane and Abel, I didn’t quite feel for the characters here. You’ll feel a little bit indifferent to the characters. All of them. Be it the protagonists or the deputy or the lawyer. A less emotionally appealing read on the whole.
* Some settings are not built properly. The courtroom was the most important scene and it seems to be hurried and leaves you unsatisfied.
* There are many twists in the novel. You’ll have expected most of them but the climax is very much unexpected.
* The novel ends with the Author’s note regarding female abuse. Shocking figures regarding them. You see the plight of women, even from the people she trusts.
On the whole, another gripping novel and I would give it a 3.7
The next novels on my reading list are The Murder on Orient Express by Agatha Christie and The Prodigal Daughter by Jeffrey Archer. Back to Fiction indeed!!!
Hey there, if you find it too tasking to read complete books why don’t you read summaries of popular books instead. These are the ones I go across frequently
* Paul Minors
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