Thursday, June 10, 2010

Kane and Abel

Disclaimer: The author of this blog considers himself a casual reader and claims to have a brain not any older than 20 and a half years. Hence the books being reviewed are done on their “value for time” criterion. There are certain handicaps about the author of the blog which the readers need to keep in mind. The writer is a mere engineering student and hasn’t read a single piece of Shakespeare in entirety, though he claims to have inherited the much needed sarcasm ( for any blog writer) from his few days in college.


Jeffrey Archer has produced bestsellers at an impressive rate. This particular novel was one of those which I wanted to lay my hand on since long.


The setting for this novel is the times from early 20th century. A story of two individuals born on the same day, one( Kane) in an emerging nation called USA and the other ( Abel aka Wladek) in a less celebrated European country called Poland. The author has very gracefully stitched all the major incidents of the early 20th century and weaved the story of these two people around it. From the world wars to the great depression of 1929 and to rise of USA as a strong capitalist economy and even to the drowning of titanic, you are in for a wonderful ride of fiction in a non fictional setting.


Two people, born on the same day, in different parts of the world, in contrasting circumstances. One with a silver spoon stuck his throat, the other bleeding in the woods. The first half of the novel is the time before they encounter each other. One struggling from the pangs of the world war I , the other living his dream. William Kane grows up to become the chairman of one of the biggest bank of the United States, Abel Rosonovak becomes a minority stake holder in an upcoming hotel chain. Everything was going on fine till the Great Depression of 1929 hits the market and they encounter each other in an unpleasant way. What follows is a series of actions by both kane and abel to strike each other down.
The story boasts about many other characters which stay on for certain part of the story. From some generations before to some generations after, it can very well be summed up as combined biography of Kane and Abel.


The novel takes you through the horrors of the world war and the heat of the boardrooms in an intriguing manner. As in his other pieces, Jeffrey Archer relies more on the twists of his story and high number of characters than over in depth description of the plot. What I likes most about this book was that it was fully in touch with the happenings of the then world. From the Nazis to the women, Wall street to gloated egos, one can relish popcorn while reading this.


One major weakness in the plot is the inadequate reason for the fight between Kane and Abel. In the middle the story goes through a point when everything is according to routine and nothing changes. Otherwise the story is pretty fast.

My RATING : 3.75/5

The scale is based on the markers given below:

0 -> My Electrical Sciences 1 text book
1 -> Read a railway notice board instead
2-> I can write better
3 -> Good
4 -> I strongly suggest you read this
5-> You are reading something in heaven.

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