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A Prisoner of Birth [Unabridged] [Paperback]

Jeffrey Archer
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (275 customer reviews)

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Book Description

16 Oct 2008
Danny Cartwright and Spencer Craig were born on different sides of the track. Danny, an East End Cockney, leaves Clement Attlee Comprehensive School at the age of 15 to take up a job at a local garage. He falls in love with Beth, the boss’s daughter, and asks her to marry him. Spencer Craig resides in the West End. A graduate of an English public school and Cambridge University. After leaving university he becomes a criminal barrister and is soon tipped to be the youngest Queen’s Counsel of his generation. Danny and Beth travel up to the West End to celebrate their engagement. They end the evening in a wine bar where Spencer Craig is also celebrating - his 30th birthday, along with a select group of university chums. Although the two young men don’t meet, their lives will never be the same again. For, an hour later, one of them is arrested for murder, while the other ends up as the Prosecution’s chief witness in an Old Bailey trial.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Unabridged edition (16 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 033046406X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330464062
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (275 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 101,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jeffrey Archer's writing career has spanned over 30 years. His first novel, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, was an immediate bestseller in 1975. He went on to publish a string of international market-leading bestsellers including Kane & Abel, A Matter of Honour, First Among Equals and most recently A Prisoner of Birth and Paths of Glory, both of which were number one bestsellers in the UK, Australia, Canada and India. His volumes of short stories, such at Quiver Full of Arrows, Twelve Red Herrings and Cat O'Nine Tales have made him arguably the bestselling short story writer in the English language. Now published in 97 countries and more than 33 languages, Jeffrey Archer remains firmly established as one of the biggest authors of his generation with continuing global international sales surpassing 135 million copies. He is married with two children and lives in London and Granchester.

Product Description


'My Perfect Sunday'
-- Sunday Telegraph

'This milieu suits him perfectly . . . The British John Grisham.' -- John Dugdale, The Sunday Times


'This milieu suits him perfectly . . . The British John Grisham.'

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
93 of 94 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another classic from Archer 13 July 2009
I'm a huge fan of Jeffrey Archer. You can say what you like about the perjuring old Tory...he writes a damn good novel!

East End mechanic Danny Cartwright proposes to his girlfriend Beth and they go to a pub in Chelsea to celebrate with Beth's brother Bernie. The night takes a sinister turn when a group of braying upper class young men start insulting the three revellers. Events culminate in Bernie being stabbed to death in the pub alleyway and Danny being wrongly charged with his murder.

At the ensuing trial, the four witnesses for the prosecution are a barrister, an aristocrat, a partner in an established firm and a popular actor. Danny doesn't stand a chance and is sentenced to 22 years in prison. Incarcerated in the highest security prison in the Country, he sets out on a quest for justice and revenge.

This is another epic from Archer. The courtroom scenes and descriptions of life in Belmarsh are detailed yet fascinating. Well, he is rather an expert! This is like three books in one. First you get a more refined, Grisham-esque court drama, then you get the Public-school take on Prison Break, then a brilliantly executed plan of revenge. Archer's mind is astounding.

My only criticism is the slightly high-handed treatment of the working class. I work in the east end described in the book, and I'm not sure that east enders talk the way they do in Prisoner of Birth. It's all cockles and mussels and cor blimey guvnors, which is a little wobbly. However, that aside, this is a hugely entertaining novel and I wouldn't hesitate in recommending it to anyone.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to his best 8 Mar 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Jeffrey Archer draws on all his prison experience to paint a detailed picture of the life of a prisoner, convicted of a murder he did not commit, who sets out to get his revenge on the unlikely conspirators who got him locked away for life. The plot is dependent on a remarkable degree of good fortune (like sharing a prison cell with someone who just happens to be his spitting image and also heir to a title and massive fortune), and also on an acknowledged similarity to Alexandre Dumas' "The Count of Monte Cristo". A legal adviser could have been usefully employed to help represent Court scenes more accurately. Having said that no one is better qualified to take an improbable story and make it convincing in a Court setting than Jeffrey Archer.
Despite its flaws, this book is a real page-turner about justice and revenge by an expert story teller on his best form. It is a thriller with lots of twists, turns and sub-plots. I metaphorically burnt through this book before passing it on to someone else. The short chapters make it ideal to advance through the action at every spare moment, and once you have got started that is what you are likely to be doing.
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103 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sleepless Nights 8 Mar 2008
I can not remember the last time I picked up a book by any author and literally couldn't put it down until I had read the last page. Such was my night last night when I began to read a copy of Jeffrey Archer's new novel 'A Prisoner of Birth' in the evening. I was hooked into the story and fate of Danny Cartwright from the first chapter and absolutely stunned by the last. I found the pace of 'A Prisoner of Birth' unstoppable and the twist and turns not only gripping but incredibly interesting and informative. I did not find any part of the book to be improbable -or at least no more so than the hidden treasure in the great Dumas classic, 'The Count of Monte Cristo' which 'A Prisoner of Birth' revives. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to read a novel that not only gives insight into prison life, but the thrilling sophistication in which revenge today can be carried out. I now look forward to catching up on the past books of Jeffrey Archer - although I not looking forward to the sleepless nights that no doubt will follow.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant read. 8 Feb 2010
Had this book recommended to me and to be honest turned my nose up at it as didn't think that I would ever enjoy a Jeffrey Archer novel. When I had nothing left to read, I decided to give it a go and was gripped from start to finish. A fantastic story, with a brilliant ending. Really enjoyed it and would put in the top 5 of books I have read.
Have just bought As The Crow Flies by the same author and is also a great story.
Highly recommended.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 'Count of Monte Cristo' updated 31 Mar 2008
You can't go far wrong in terms of plot if you update a classic, and here Archer gives us a modern version of Dumas' tale. Decent man is falsely accused and convicted of heinous crime, betters himself in prison and goes on to seek revenge on those who had him imprisoned.
This is a pretty good page turner which should be enjoyed for what it is; yes, the characters are all stereotypes and Archer has introduced some improbable elements to his version of the classic tale, but overall it's a good yarn. The court scenes in particular are well done and provide the most focussed and enjoyable scenes in the book.
There's no point being sniffy about Archer's work - if you're after serious literary fiction, look elsewhere. But if you enjoy a bit of reading for pleasure, this is a decent bit of light entertainment and there's nothing wrong with that.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good story teller
Enjoyable reading, absorbing, not repetitive. Good story teller.
Published 15 hours ago by dorothy wharton
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant as usual
Published 1 day ago by Blanche
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A good read
Published 1 day ago by Mrs. Penny J. Odell
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Couldn't wait to finish reading this book, then had to decided what to read next, another Jeffrey Archer
Published 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A nice mix of crime, Romance and thriller
Published 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be missed!
Fantastically well written. One of those books that I just couldn't easily put down and really looked forward to the next time I started to read it again. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Shep
5.0 out of 5 stars After reading the amazing Steig Larsson trilogy I found it very...
After reading the amazing Steig Larsson trilogy I found it very difficult to get into another book. However, Jeffrey Archer is a great writer and captures your interest... Read more
Published 13 days ago by Gillian H.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
first class reading enjoyed the series.
Published 14 days ago by Bill R
5.0 out of 5 stars ... Archer book that I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it! So much...
This was the first Jeffrey Archer book that I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
So much so that I bought another copy as a gift for a friend. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Quilting Gee
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous read
Jeffrey Archer is a superb story teller, keeping the reader in suspense until the very last page. A truly fabulous read.
Published 22 days ago by Cherry
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