With As The Crow Flies, Jeffrey Archer has created another enthralling novel on a par with his earlier works. Introducing the reader to the world of Charlie Trumper, the novel follows his rise from the vegetable barrows of the East End of London to the biggest department store on Chelsea Terrace - "only about a couple of miles, as the crow flies." From pre-World War I to 1970, the pace remains constant and the narrative is flavored with the spice of mystery. However, the true force of the story lies in the strength of the characters, in their conflicts, and in the story's underlying message.
The main characters of As The Crow Flies are some of the strongest created in recent fiction. Perhaps what is most remarkable is that they fit so well into the plot and are utterly believable. Their achievements are often extraordinary, yet their characters are so well established that it seems only natural that they achieve what they do. The underlying message of the novel, because of its very simplicity, makes an impact on the reader's consciousness. With each obstacle Charlie overcomes, the novel endorses the theme, "Where there is a will, there is a way." And the conclusion can leave no doubt in the reader's mind that Archer is saying that wherever we might end up in life, we are never very far from our roots, the source of our contentment.
As The Crow Flies is another superbly crafted novel from the author of Kane and Abel. Fans of Archer will find this book as rich and enjoyable as his earlier books, and for those who haven't yet tried Archer's books, it is an excellent introduction to a master storyteller. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.