Cometh the Hour: Book Six Of the Clifton Chronicles
Six chronicles down, one to go, and then, maybe, the Clifton-Barrington families will finally be at peace. Court cases, business dealings, politics, international rescue attempts dominate Jeffrey Archer’s <i>Cometh the Hour</i>. Somehow, the bad guys on the other side are always the same; the evil Lady Virginia Fenwick, Desmond Muller, Adrian Sloane, Alex Fisher. They’re always on or off the boards of Barrington Shipping, chaired by Emma Barrington Clifton, and/or Farthings Bank, where Sebastian Clifton occupies high places.
Fisher has been a nemesis to Giles Barrington and Harry Clifton since grammar school. He was in one of their units in World War II, is a perennial Conservative candidate against Labour Party representative Giles in Bristol Docklands, foil of Fenwick and her cabal, and threat to Emma’s chairmanship at Barrington Shipping, departs at the end of Book 5 when he commits suicide. But, he leaves a note that could be critical to deciding the libel case Fenwick has brought against Emma. Sibling loyalty is tested as the letter could exonerate Emma, but could damage Giles. Letter read, Emma acquitted.
<i>Cometh the Hour</i> takes us from 1970-1978, so Harry and Giles age from 50-58, Emma from 49-57, and Sebastian from 30-38.
Giles undertakes a rescue mission to East Germany to rescue Karin, his interpreter at a previous conference there, with whom he had a tryst and fell in love. He thinks he’s reuniting her with her English born father. Is Giles the one that’s been conned? Is she a spy and for which side?
Not to be outdone by his uncle, Sebastian, who has had few relationships since his fiancé Samantha Sullivan left to return to America, falls for an Indian woman. Her father takes her back to India because she has already been promised to another. Sebastian heads to India to rescue Priya, but is tragically unsuccessful.
From book 5, Sebastian knows that Samantha is married and lives in Washington, D.C. with Sebastian’s daughter, Jessica, obviously named for Sebastian’s adopted sister, another who died a tragic death. (Actually, the older Jessica was the out-of-wedlock daughter of Giles and Emma’s father and a Jewish refugee.) The younger Jessica shares the older Jessica’s talent for art. Sebastian had visited the school, but made an agreement with the principal that she not tell Samantha and Jessica he had been there. Then, the principal informs Sebastian that Samantha’s husband had died a year and a half before. Sebastian goes to Washington to see Jessica’s art exhibition at the school and attempts to buy her paintings, including one, <i>My Father</i>, of a blank faced man, when Jessica corners Sebastian. The 10-year old has plans to get her parents back together. Will she be successful?
Sebastian is about to head for the dinner date, when he receives a call that his business partner, Hakim Bishara, who is about the become chair of the merger of Farthings and Kaufman Banks, has been arrested for trying to smuggle heroin into England from Nigeria. Sebastian doesn’t want to seem like he’s ditching Jessica and Samantha, but he must return to England. Of course, the drug smuggling is a nefarious plot of Sloane and Mellor. Another trial for the Clifton Chronicles.
As for the nefarious Fenwick, her latest scheme is to pretend she slept with a wealthy Louisiana businessman when he was in London, and then she shows up at his wedding allegedly pregnant. Considering, she’s around 50, this is not likely. No one says that. She retains a Louisiana lawyer, who gets the businessman to pay support and for the child’s education. Virginia uses the child of her butler and maid and stashes him at a boarding school. Will the ruse catch up with her and will she receive a surprise about her father’s inheritance?
Before Harry’s mother dies, she advises Emma to branch out in her interests. Emma joins the board of the hospital and becomes enamored of Margaret Thatcher, and vice-versa. Emma and Harry, despite his poor upbringing, are Conservative Party members, though, they always supported and worked for the election of Giles, who joined the Labour Party, despite his wealthy upbringing. Now, can peace reign in the family?
As for Harry, his decade long advocacy for the release of Russian writer Anatoly Babakov is realized when Babakov receives the Nobel Prize for Literature. This ends sadly. What does the final chronicle hold in store for Harry? Will he just continue writing his Detective William Warwick books or there is something else?
Yes, all kinds of story lines with the different characters, who are somehow always interconnected. Archer likes to separate the chapters by the characters and the years the narrative is to cover about that person.
The cliff hanger until Book 7, Karin is missing and what will we find out about her? Will Harry, Emma, Giles and Sebastian ever find out if they are more "closely related?"