Book Reviews

‘Imprisoning’ the Reader

Book: A Prisoner of Birth
Genre: Crime Thriller
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Rating: 4.8/5
Reviewer: Stavyah Vatsarah

Jeffrey Archer knows the knack of expressing even the most mundane of thoughts in a humorous manner. And his book entitled ‘A Prisoner of Birth’ only stands testimony to that. While the best part about the book is the element of mystery that begins right at the start and continues up until the very end, the author does an impressive job of interweaving elements of love, friendship and trust with hate, revenge and betrayal. 

While one might argue that A Prisoner of Birth is not as real as his other works have been, in the sense that in this book are events that won’t generally transpire in the real world, I opine the author does a satisfying job of attaining a superb hold on his reader’s attention, thus ensuring they believe the story, without raising any questions. 

Be that as it may, will the end of A Prisoner of Birth be promising? Is it how the reader would expect it to be? Or will the book leave the reader discontented? Well, you’ll have to read the book to see that for yourself! Anyhow, the twists in the plot do seem well thought out, and the words the author employs throughout are those that a person with an intermediate level in English will be able to comprehend without having to use a dictionary. And as Jeffrey Archer likes doing, he plays with the language, giving new, wondrous meanings to words that we tend to use in everyday conversations. 

What’s the Story About?

The story of A Prisoner of Birth revolves around a man named Daniel Arthur Cartwright aka Danny, who gets charged with the murder of his best friend and fiancee’s brother. Things, as one might well imagine, go downhill for the protagonist, and the story, for the most part, deals with the proceedings of this very case. The author does a great job of developing the characters as the story progresses, and he brings in subtle elements of humour in even the most worrying sentences. Eventually, the reader is seemingly made to yearn to get to the bottom of the matter, and flipping fast through the pages could conceivably become the norm.

The relationship between the protagonist and the antagonists, nonetheless, changes over time, and a period comes when they even end up friending each other. And as can be expected from a Jeffrey Archer novel, there is violence, death, prison, and most importantly, escape, an escape from a prison deemed inescapable. There are murders, no doubt, both inside the prison and outside of it, and a subtle element of love and romance exists almost as if to guide the script. Oh, and there are lawyers! 

While friendship and love reign supreme, towards the end, the story takes quite a few turns, some anticipated, a few unexpected. Also, with the turning of each page, the story tends to move faster, and some portions become repetitive. Not repetitive enough to bore you, however.

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What Did I Enjoy the Most? 

I personally found the events transpiring in the Belmarsh prison quite interesting. A kind of friendship blossoms here that one might seldom expect to blossom in the outside world. There are moments when you may end up weeping, but as I have mentioned already, the moments you’ll guffaw will be a lot more. On a lighter note, this part may better resonate with you if you have known people who have been sent to prison for a crime they did not commit!  

Besides, the portions that have got to do with the court hearings are fascinating, to say the least. I eagerly awaited the hearings as if they were happening in my own life. And that’s what I liked. I could live the life of the protagonist and see through things as he sees. The innocence of the protagonist astounded me for sure, and the element of suspense kept me turning the pages. 

Should You Read A Prisoner of Birth?

If you love reading crime fiction, you should not miss reading A Prisoner of Birth. You’ll most probably enjoy the read though we are not sure if you’d want to continue reading once you get to apprehend what the climax will possibly be. Nevertheless, the book will not disappoint you. Very importantly, you’ll learn the art of storytelling, of which Jeffrey Archer is sure a master. 

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