Archer (Mightier Than the Sword, 2015, etc.) has great good fun with the sixth volume of his Clifton Chronicles, this one covering the 1970s; his characters move from peril to peril, mostly financial or political, while occasionally straying into territory where bullets fly.
That’s no worry for Harry Clifton, World War II hero and bestselling author; or Emma, his wife, chief of family-owned Barrington Shipping; or Sebastian, their son and big-time London banker; or Sir Giles Barrington, Emma’s brother and Labour politician. Following a short, thorough synopsis, the Clifton-Barringtons move onto new crises, including Harry’s impassioned effort to free Russian writer Anatoly Babakova (think Pasternak or Solzhenitsyn) from the Soviet gulag. Barrington Shipping stabilized, the once apolitical Emma meets and admires Margaret Thatcher, inspiring cliché—"Emma found the atmosphere in the corridors of power electric." Sir Giles rescues his East German lover, but the relationship is haunted by the ghosts of Philby, Burgess, and Maclean. And the villain who simply won’t go away, Lady Virginia Fenwick, an utterly corrupt schemer once married to Sir Giles, gets her hooks into a Louisiana cannery heir. Grown-up Sebastian—"gone were the rough edges of greed"—copes with a stiff upper lip when his bank’s new owner, Hakim Bishara, is framed, arrested, and tried, a scheme engineered by "The Unholy Trinity," a group of forgettable villains. After a complicated-turned-tragic love affair with a beautiful young Indian woman, Sebastian has opportunity to reconnect with long-lost American love Samantha thanks to the parent-trap machinations of their superprecocious preteen daughter. Archer spins out dialogue that’s spot-on, judging by Downton Abbey or Call the Midwife, and his settings will inspire thoughts about the cost of tickets to London.
Another artful Archer telenovela, readable as a stand-alone family drama but more a treat for those captured by the series.