Seeing that it is high summer, I thought to read a beach book with plenty of action and not much concentration involved. Archer first published this book in 1979 and after many many printings, he revised his novel for the 30th anniversary of the book in 2009. This book sold more copies around the world than Gone With the Wind. It is in its 100th printing and it is estimated that 100 million people have read it. With that said, how could I resist!
This is the story of two men who only meet once in their lives, but that meeting changes the direction their lives take. They were born a world apart and in vastly different circumstances on the same day.
William Lowell Kane, the son of a Boston Brahmin banker, Kane was destined for success. Well educated and brilliant at money making, when his father died at an early age, he was a natural successor to a life in banking. Abel Rosnovski was born under mysterious circumstances in Poland. Early in life he was adopted by a wealthy Baron. Though named his heir, he was imprisoned by the invading Germans in World War I and after a series of adventures escaped to America.
While they never meet, the lives of these two brilliant men of business cross again and again through the years. Abel nurses a grudge again Kane until the final chapters of the book. It began when Kane refused a loan to a friend of Abel. Abel blames Kane for his friend’s suicide after he loses all in the 1929 Market crash.
The novel is dense with action; short chapters, with cliff hangers at the end of each, encourage the reader to read on. I recognize that the book has given millions of readers pleasure, however, I am not one. I found it to read like a television serial which one keeps on watching with all its contrivances because you want to know how it will end. It is an easy read. The characters are stereotypes with little depth. The reader can predict how they will react. However, if you are looking for a quick read with plenty of plot, you could do worse. Definitely a good choice for the beach on a lazy summer day.