“And that’s when it all went wrong.”
I hit a snag here in the third installment of the Clifton Chronicles. It started out with Giles Barrington getting the title and Harry and Emma finally being free to marry. They did decide, though, that since there might be an outside chance that Hugo Barrington was Harry’s father (and yes, ew) that they would have no more children. Thus setting the stage for them to track down and adopt the little baby left in the basket by Hugo’s dead body. They told themselves that they would tell her someday about her parentage and real blood link to the Barrington family. You gotta know that won’t end well.
After the honeymoon, Harry heads off to America on a book tour. Then the story went off on a tangent that had me alternately bored and consternated. Archer whips up a new villainess in Lady Virginia, who becomes Giles’ wife and immediately drives a wedge between the family members. Lady Elizabeth Barrington sees right through this titled harpy and changes her will so that Giles and Virginia by default receive nothing. Lawsuits ensue and Virginia takes it upon herself to ruin Giles and the Barrington family, enlisting that weasel Major Alex Fisher. Then there are pages and pages and pages of insider trading (fun fact, Mr. Archer was accused of insider trading back in the day), British politics and minute details on wardrobe. Just when I was ready to set the book down for good, the story took a ludicrous but entertaining turn.
Young Sebastian Clifton’s best friend at school is Bruno Martinez, whose father just happens to be an Argentinian gangster and war profiteer that worked on the side of the Nazi’s. Next thing we know, Sebastian is unwittingly participating in a plot to smuggle in 8 million pounds of counterfeit bills in—get this!—the base of a bronze cast of Rodin’s The Thinker. The British government, the SAS, Sotheby’s and more get involved and voila! we have a new villain in Bruno’s father, Don Pedro Martinez, setting up yet another cliffhanger of epic proportions.