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Absolute reprisal

Jitomanyu Datta | New Delhi |

Jeffrey Archer’s novels are a perfect way of eluding the surrounding and transporting oneself into a different world. This prolific writer has written many series, novels and short stories. The eccentricity in his novels is highlighted through vivid portrayal of good, bad, conceit, pride or ‘honour’.

Honour Among Thieves, a fiction written in 1993, centred on the aftermath of the Gulf War (1991) is a sordid tale of avenging the brutality bestowed upon Saddam Hussein (president of Iraq) by America under the Clinton administration.

While the government is engaged in its domestic policies, a sinister plan is masterminded miles away by Saddam in Baghdad. He patiently waits for the right time and clandestinely formulates a plan to take revenge on the President of America as well as its people through the means of American Declaration of Independence.

By spinning a web of corruption, forgery and terror his plan to embarrass the U.S by stealing the most treasured historical document and destroying it publicly is faced with sedulous challenge by agents hired by the government. Scott Bradley, a patriotic, rising CIA star and the fearless Mossad operative with personal vendetta against Hussein, Hannah Kopec embark on their quest to protect the country’s ‘honour’ by averting the humiliation.

Easily comprehensible, Archer tries to build his narrative without revealing much, arresting the attention of the reader till climax unveils. One is surprised at the revelation only to be puzzled with the new turn of events. The dates, location and description of the action carried out in the book add to its authenticity. The excruciating distress that the Saddam regime carries out adds to the gory realism of the novel.

Well written in style, the author attaches superficial significance to the characters. He doesn’t dwell much into them which is seen through the case of Saddam and Clinton where no background has been established. In other cases a few have been well designated to lend volume to the plot. Avoiding excessive emotional indulgence, he focuses on one aspect of their lives which makes his audience intrigued with the plot and not by individuals. Therefore only what is essential is delivered, keeping redundancy at bay.

A brilliant read with an ingenious portraiture of dishevelling reality, highlighting unpredictability in the predestined is brought forth lucidly. The reader acclimatises slowly to the expanse of a maze only to be satiated at the end.

Coordinator, Class IX, Don Bosco School