The next two books in the Clifton Chronicles by Jeffrey Archer were fairly quick reads because of Archer's writing and the fact that I couldn't make our book club for two months.
Harry Clifton has joined the British Navy and after his ship sinks, he assumes the identity of Tom Bradshaw. As a result, he is sent to prison to serve Bradshaw's term for desertion. Emma Barrington, believes that he is still alive, having read The Diary of a Convict that was published by another inmate in his name. She sets out to find Harry. In the mean time, Hugo Barrington, possibly Harry's real father, fathers another child by Olga. Hugo refuses to admit to it and Olga murders him and then commits suicide, leaving the daughter as an orphan. As a result of Hugh's death, Giles and Hugo were both contenders to inherit the Barrington estate and title. The novel ends with the judge pondering which of the men is the true heir.
Best Kept Secret opens with the judge's decision that Harry is not Hugo's son. Giles is the
rightful heir and that leaves Harry free to marry Emma. Emma is determined to track down the child of Olga and Hugo. Meanwhile, Lady Barrington changes her will to only recognize Emma and her sister, Grace. Giles is omitted from the will because of his marriage to Lady Virginia. This sets up one series of revenge moves.
Sebastian becomes involved with one of the most sinister figures in all of literature - Don Pedro, the father of his best friend at Cambridge. He is unknowingly enlisted to help smuggle counterfeit money into England from Argentina. The plot is foiled and Don Pedro seeks his revenge against the Cliftons and Barringtons. The novel ends with a tragic car accident in which Sebastian is killed, or is he?
I love books in series like this. Although sometimes predictable, it is definitely entertaining. There are three more installments and it will be interesting to see how far Archer takes the revenge theme.