WRITING STYLE: 5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4.5/5
“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. But 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?”
And so begins what I believe to be Jeffrey Archer’s finest work, A Prisoner of Birth. This is a story about Danny Cartwright who is wrongly accused of his brother-in-law’s murder and is sentenced to 22 years in prison. There, he meets the enigmatic Sir Nicholas Moncrieff and they become friends thereafter. Nicholas teaches Danny how to ‘be & do’ right while Danny tries to model himself after Nicholas. A murder attempt goes wrong, killing Nicholas, which gives Danny the chance to escape prison in the guise of soon-to-be-released Sir Nicholas Moncrieff. From there begins Danny’s journey for revenge and redemption.
A Prisoner of Birth is, basically, a retelling of Alexandre Dumas’s “The Count of Monte Cristo”. However, whether you have read that classic or not, you are bound to enjoy Archer’s version. Every character in the book is portrayed beautifully and they are bound to stay with you long after you have finished reading it. Not even once would you feel bored or want to skip any part of the book. Archer, in his usual engaging style, keeps the reader completely engrossed in the story. The final court case is exceptional and if you are reading it on the way back home or in a public place, be prepared, as you will draw attention to yourself when you let out audible “oohs” and “aahs”!
The best part about the book is the way Jeffrey Archer used the beauty of the English language to weave the story. The language is simple and yet it is brilliant in that, it takes your breath away. Whenever I think of this book, there is always one quote from it that always comes to my mind: “We all suffer in our own different ways from being prisoners of birth”.
While the word “un-put-downable” is one bandied around for almost every book, this is one novel that truly deserves it.