Jeffrey Archer shares his favorite books

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February 20, 2020

When Jeffrey Archer, author of international bestsellers Test you win, He was asked to come up with his definitive reading list, there were five books that immediately came to mind. Read on to discover the Sunday Times bestselling author’s best-selling books and storytellers.

“They all have one thing in common, not only are they good writers, but also great storytellers.” – Jeffrey Archer

A tale of two cities
Charles Dickens

A tale of two cities, a story of revolution, revenge and sacrifice, is one of Charles Dickens’ most moving novels. Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, it tells the story of a family threatened by the terrible events of the past.

Doctor Manette, unjustly imprisoned in the Bastille for eighteen years, is finally reunited with his daughter Lucie. Lucie fell in love with Charles Darnay, who gave up both wealth and title in France due to his political beliefs. When revolution breaks out in Paris, Darnay returns to the city to help an old family servant, but is soon arrested for the crimes committed by his relatives. Lucie follows him across the canal, thereby endangering all of their lives.

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Days of Malgudi
RK Narayan

Introducing this collection of stories, RK Narayan describes how in India “the writer has only to look out the window to find a character and therefore a story”. Days of Malgudi is the wonderful result. Here Narayan portrays an astrologer, snake charmer, postman, cake seller and chappatis – all kinds of people, drawn in color and eye-catching household details. And under his magician’s touch the entire imaginary city of Malgudi comes to life, revealing the essence of India and human experience.

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The Thirty-nine Steps
John Buchan

Richard Hannay finds a dead body in his apartment and is involved in a spy plot to precipitate war and subvert British naval power. Enterprising victim of a manhunt, he is pursued by both the police and ruthless conspirators.

The Thirty-nine Steps is a seminal thriller of ‘chase’, fast and vivid. It has been widely influential and often dramatized: the film directed by Alfred Hitchcock has become a classic on the big screen. This compelling novel also provides insights into the interplay between patriotism, fear, and prejudice.

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The Count of Monte Cristo
Alexandre Dumas

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas is the latest punishment novel. Based on a true story, it tells the story of Edouard Dantes, his betrayal and imprisonment in the sinister Chateau d’If. Years later, Paris is intrigued by the mysterious Count of Monte Cristo, who bursts onto the Parisian social scene with his millions. Meet the three main traitors of Dantes who thrived in the post-Napoleonic boom and, one by one, their lives fall apart. The book was a huge popular hit when it was first serialized in 1844 and remains the greatest revenge tale.

This beautiful abridged edition of the Macmillan Collector’s Library of The Count of Monte Cristo presents an afterword by Marcus Clapham.

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Beware of pity
Stefan Zweig

“A book that I have already recommended to many of my friends is that of Stefan Zweig Beware of pity, which combines great storytelling with wonderful prose. “- Jeffrey Archer

In 1913 a young second lieutenant discovers the terrible danger of piety. He had no idea the girl was lame when he asked her to dance: her afternoon compensatory phone calls relieved her guilt but gave her a dangerous glimmer of hope.

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