01 August 2015
Jeffrey Archer: Kane and Abel
This is a classic tale of hatred and misunderstanding between two rich and powerful individuals who never forgive and never forget. Their feud infects their business and private lives for decades and threatens the very foundations of their families. Jeffrey Archer is one of the world's best storytellers and this is one of his best and most memorable tales of two powerful people from very different backgrounds.
William Kane was brought up in a world of wealth and privilege and was expected to to follow his late Boston millionaire father's footsteps and become a banker - which he did. Abel Rosnovski grew up in abject poverty in Poland, survived and escaped from a Siberian prison camp and came to America as a penniless immigrant. Through his native talent Abel climbs from being a minor hotel employee to part owner of a Chicago hotel. Then the crash of 1929 brings both of them together as William's bank tries to foreclose the ownership of the bankrupt hotel with tragic consequences. This fires a lifelong feud between the two men that threatens their businesses and their families.
I first read this book in the 1980's when it was first published and have read many of Archer's books since then. While this book still showcases Archer's storytelling skills I didn't find it as compelling the second time around, possibly because there have been so many other top storytellers around since this book was first published.