I know I’m well behind the times with my reading of the Clifton Chronicles, being only on book 4 when already we are awaiting installment 7 coming soon, however I’ve been really good and not read anything about the books still to be released so I’ve avoided any ‘spoilers’ for want of a better term.
As we enter book four in the series it’s clear Archer is making the assupmtion the reader is familiar with the first 3 books in the series and therefore doesn’t waste any time in revisiting old ground or recapping on characters or their back stories, only ocassionally filling in odd bits of information. We are immediately thrown into the cliff hanger left at the end of book 3, where Sebastian Clifton has been involved in a serious car accident and we are unsure if he is alive or not. His friend, and son of dodgy Argentine businessman Don Pedro Martinez is in the car with him and we know one has died but aren’t sure which.
Resolution of this cliff hanger takes but a mere few chapters before the story moves back to the boardroom of Barrington’s shipping company, the family empire where Sebastian’s mother hopes to become chairman of the board, and indeed much of this book is dedicated to the world of Barrington’s and it’s fortunes moving forward, it all revolves around the decision by the firm to build a cruise liner in order to secure it’s financial future and move it in a different direction. Archer builds a story which is familiar to his readers of previous books of corporate dodgy dealing and politics designed to unseat the hero or heroine of his tale.
There is actually nothing groundbreaking in the story for this fourth installment, I found the characters on the board to have changed a little with focus moving away from the man who till now has been the central character, Harry Clifton, and instead we are focused on his son, Sebastian. In fact I could safely say Harry seemed to have been consigned to the’served his purpose’ bin and therefore appeared in way less of the book than I would have liked. Fortunately for Emma Clifton, Harry’s wife, she seems still to merit Archer’s time and attention if only on account of the fact she as a female character can portray for him the changing attitudes and views towards women in business.
I also anticipated certain characters within the book to have potential to fulfil a bigger role in the story than they eventually did have. In fact one of the biggest Clifton family secrets, and a storyline that should have provided much more writing material was dealt with very swiftly in this book in the course of less than 2 chapters and was for me a strange way to manage a story which seemed to have been waiting to explode in previous books. Made me feel the author had started down a path then changed his mind and had to apply a sledgehammer to the area to ensure it wasn’t explored again.
I can’t say I loved this installment in the series,whereas others have had me gripped and page turning till I was done, with this one I kept picking it up and reading a bit then going ‘meh’ with a feeling that it wasn’t pulling me in because it was all just a little predictable.