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Kane and Abel

By Jeffrey Archer

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Book review written by Mrs Treena Ruwhiu, Assistant Head of English

This novel has been around for decades, since 1979 in fact, but I never had much desire to read it when I was younger. I just happened to be cleaning out the garage and stumbled upon my husband’s copy. For some reason, I decided to give it a go and I’m so glad I did. Despite the controversy that surrounds the author (an ex-politician in the UK who was once imprisoned for perverting the course of justice) I can see why Archer was so revered as a novelist and such a commercial success.

The novel focuses on the lives of two young boys, from their birth until their eventual deaths, much like the biblical story. With alternating chapters that follow each of the boy’s journeys, you will need to decide which character you appreciate more. William Lowell Kane is born into a wealthy and powerful Boston family, whereas Wladek Koskiewicz (re-christened as Abel Rosnovski) is born into poverty in Poland. Eventually Kane and Abel’s lives will cross paths and their rivalry will consume both of them.

This is a character-driven novel that delivers a narrative punch; it is a cliché, but you will not want to put this novel down, to the detriment of everything else you need to get done! I also loved the history that was woven throughout the story with references to the two World Wars, the Great Depression and the election of John F Kennedy. This is the type of novel you want to take on holiday with you so that you have the time to fully immerse yourself in the saga.

Archer, J. (1979). Kane and Abel.

Book review written by Mrs Treena Ruwhiu, Assistant Head of English