Monday, April 4, 2011
A Prisoner of Birth by Jeffery Archer
If Danny Cartwright had proposed to Beth Wilson the day before; or the day after, he would not have been arrested and charged with the murder of his best friend.
And when the four prosecution witnesses are a barrister, a popular actor, an aristocrat and the youngest partner in an established firm’s history, who is going to believe his side of the story? Danny is sentenced to 22 years and is sent to Belmarsh prison, the highest security jail in the land, from where no inmate has ever escaped.
I actually left out the final part of the book’s synopsis from the above as I felt it didn’t really do justice to the book. The final paragraph on the book’s back cover says...'But everyone has underestimated Danny’s determination to seek revenge and Beth’s relentless quest to win justice'. While it is true that Danny was very determined to seek revenge and Beth works hard to win justice for Danny, it’s not what this book is all about.
To me, this book is about coincidence and design. It’s by coincidence that Danny and friends were in that bar that very day but it was by design that he was framed for the murder of his friends. It’s by coincidence that both Danny and Sir Nicholas Moncrieff were in the same prison but it was by design that they share the same cell. It was by coincidence that Sir Nicholas was murdered in jail (spoiler!) but it was by design that Danny decided to step into Sir Nicholas’s shoes. It was by coincidence that both Danny and Sir Nicholas look alike but it was by design that their lives were as different as night and day.
And if you want to do justice to the title, it’s both a coincidence and by design that we are unable to escape who we are. We are prisoners of our birth - according to the author (i think). Danny can pretend to be Sir Nicholas but he is not Sir Nicholas and it’s a matter of time bore he has to be Danny Cartwright again and he knew that but he made the best of what he can when he was Sir Nicholas.
This is quite an interesting book although initially, with a total of 600+ pages, I was quite reluctant to start it as I wasn’t sure when I would finish it especially so soon after reading another of Jeffery’s book. But being the good storyteller that he is, Jeffery Archer made me a prisoner of his book :).