St. Martin’s Press, $27.99, 386 pages
An appealing narrative about a young boy in Bristol, England, Harry Clifton was raised by his mother after his father was killed in World War I. As a precocious boy he skipped school, preferring to go to the docks where his uncle worked. Harry was the soloist in the choir of his church and won a choral scholarship to attend St. Bede’s, a prestigious private school. He attends school with members of the upper crust of his community revealing questions about Harry’s family. Throughout the story, there are many mysteries that unfold about Harry’s life and existence. Many secrets were kept from him his entire life. What happened to Harry’s father? Who was Harry’s father? These questions are further complicated when Harry falls in love with a girl. Will family secrets keep them apart? While Jeffrey Archer tells the story through the perspective of multiple characters and gives the reader a full understanding of the plots surrounding Harry’s life, the overlap gets repetitive. By the end, between the many mysteries to be solved and the hopeless situation in which Harry finds himself, the story seems so contrived it was clearly meant to begin a series.