Harry and Emma are facing a libel suit against Emma set forth by Lady Virginia. A simple letter that Emma wants kept secret reveals the truth behind a suicide and sets in motion what happens next. As Sir Giles, her brother decides to withdraw from running for office and Sebastian her son is placed in a position of power in her company the Clifton and Barrington families face betrayals, deceits and secrets that keep the reader glued to the printed page. Harry’s story is told as we learn about his early years raised by his mother and uncle who worked for Barrington Shipping. The story continues in the 1970’s and now Emma Clifton is facing serious libel trial and hopefully will not have to withdraw as the chairman of her shipping company. Not wanting to reveal what is in this hidden letter she hopes that he jury will find her innocent. Harry is sidetracked with helping a Russian author named Anatoly Babakov, get his book Uncle Joe, published. The man has been imprisoned in a gulag in Siberia. But, things heat up when the trial beings and Lady Virginia Fenwick smart, astute and quite resourceful loses her suit, finds herself in financial difficulty but what she does is quite cunning. The author interjects a special meeting with Emma with Lady Margaret Thatcher adding to the authenticity of the times. Thatcher plays an integral role in this story. Next, we have Sebastian Clifton who falls for a woman not in his class range and whose parents would prefer to marry someone else. But, his heart as we learn early on is with a woman named Samantha who he hopes to reconnect with. Nadira is Indian and works in London but her parents do not approve of Sebastian.
Harry is hoping to get this book published but the publisher creates a plan that eliminates his contact, a merger that is just a scam to rid them of Aaron and the plot thickens as Harry decides to not go with Mulberry but is loyal to his friend.
Treachery, lies, deceits and just what were Sir Giles getting himself into with Karin when we learn about whom she really is and what her agenda might be. As Sebastian finds out that Nadira is about to marry someone else he finds help to try and stop what her parents have set into motion. Taking her captive, forcing her to marry the man of their choice, finding her and hoping to take her with him to England, the end result is more than tragic for both families. Sebastian is a banker and Giles a Labour politician who realizes that he should never have let his standing in the by-election go someone else. While he rescues Karin their relationship is anything but pure and there are three men who would like nothing better than to destroy the Clifton’s and Sir Giles. Hakim Bishara the new owner of the bank and Sebastian will run it together but three men called the Unholy Trinity, will stop at nothing to discredit Hakim and prevent the merger from going through.
Each chapter is devoted to another character expressing his/her viewpoints on the situations that involve them. As Emma has a special meeting with Margaret Thatcher and Harry learns the truth about Karin from another source, which explains why he is apprehensive about Giles’s relationship with her. But, things are not always what they seem and the final outcome will surprise readers.
Karin Brandt worked two sides of the fence and Lady Virginia Fenwick thought she was above reproach when making deals with Knowles and Mellor in order to keep her financially solvent. But, not everyone bought her story that the child she claimed to have belonged to Fenwick and his wife was diligent and smart trying to discredit her. Harry concerned that the author of Uncle Joe be released from prison. Emma concerned with becoming the new deputy chairman of the hospital , Sebastian finally reconnecting with Samantha and some harsh truths revealed as the ending is powerful, the consequences quite harsh as three men thought they could take over Farthing Kaufman bank but would soon learn the err of their ways.
Maisie Clifton was Harry’s mother and the chapter with the letter she penned to him and her family explains much of why she is really missed. However, she never got to write about Giles.
Within this complex plot each character has his/her own secrets and when all of them come to light Lady Virginia might well be surprised at what Cyrus’s wife decides to do and the outcome of her father’s will. Harry Clifton finally gets Uncle Joe to be recognized and the author receives the Nobel Prize for Literature. Anatoly Babakov would be released from prison but too late. Cyrus T. Grant got roped into thinking that Lady Virginia was having his child little did she know that those that were in cahoots with her had other agendas in mind and her welfare was the least of their concerns. Desmond Mellor, Adrian Sloane and Jim Knowles wanted to take over Farthing/Kaufman bank and their plan to ruin the new chairman almost worked. With the devious plan and a simple phone call they thought that Hakim would go away for an indefinite time for carrying heroine in his carry on bag on a plane. But, a simple tape and a smart lawyer just might foil the entire operation as the hour cometh and the bells toll and at 10A.M. it’s all over.
Within the trial of the bank’s chairman one witness would prove that not everyone was corrupt and his credentials impeccable. But, sometimes things spiral out of control and when you least expect it someone close to you might turn. Karin and Giles were now a couple so why was Harry not thrilled? What was he hiding that he learned about her and why was Karin feeling torn? An ending ripped right out of the headlines as Karin and someone close to her face off and a harsh reality is faced. While Mellor, Knowles and Sloan learn what happens when you cross a Clifton or Barrington. Sebastian and Samantha will they finally tie the knot and just how amazing is their daughter Jessica who steals the show at the end of the novel. What’s next for them when Sebastian takes on the role of Chairman of the Barrington Line, Emma steps down, decides to devote her time to the hospital and where will they finally wind up when the author pens the final chapter of the Barrington/Clifton Saga? Who lives, who dies and who will the author bring back again? With Lady Fenwick in dire straits, Giles about to come full circle with harsh true and enter politics again author Jeffrey Archer has left more room for more drama. An ending quite explosive which will make for a great start for the next novel. Cometh the Hour: You never know when the bells will toll!
Fran Lewis; Just reviews/MJ magazine