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  Books   06 Jan 2024  Book Review | Old-fashioned heist thriller goes down to the wire

Book Review | Old-fashioned heist thriller goes down to the wire

THE ASIAN AGE. | RACHNA CHHABRIA
Published : Jan 7, 2024, 12:00 am IST
Updated : Jan 7, 2024, 12:00 am IST

Can the thieves get the better of the police or will the police force outsmart them?

Traitors Gate By Jeffrey Archer. (Image: DC)
 Traitors Gate By Jeffrey Archer. (Image: DC)

Though I have been a fan of Jeffrey Archer’s books in my younger days, I haven’t read a book written by him from a long time. So, when I received a review copy of Traitors Gate written by Jeffrey Archer, I had mixed feelings as my taste in books has changed drastically over the years.

The story starts slowly but picks up speed later on. Let me introduce you to the main characters — chief superintendent William Warwick, his second in command inspector Ross Hogan and their boss Hawksby. These three are a part of the formidable Scotland Yard.

Pitted against them is the master criminal Miles Faulkner who was put behind bars for four years, courtesy the trio. A painting Faulkner had donated to the Fitzmolean Museum, calling it an original, had helped his attorney Booth Watson to get a year reduced from Faulkner’s five-year-sentence.

Warwick’s wife Beth is slated to be the new director of the Fitzmolean Museum. When she finds out that the donated painting isn’t an original, she conveys to her husband and his junior that the painting adorning the museum wall is a fake. While the original hangs on the wall of Faulkner’s Manhattan pad currently on sale. The duo, Warwick and Hogan plan, a daring coup to save Beth’s reputation and job at the museum.

Let me not forget Christina, Faulkner’s ex-wife — she is not just a director of the Fitzmolean Museum, but also Beth’s good friend and business partner. A double crossing agent, she only serves her interest which is money above both friendship and loyalty. Nor is she averse to helping her ex-husband against the Warwicks for money or to cheating him out of spite and vindictiveness.

To get even with them for putting him behind bars, Faulkner plans an even more daring heist that will put them all out of their jobs and quench his thirst for revenge. The objects at stake are the crown jewels — the Sword of State and the Imperial State Crown, both symbols of the monarch’s, Her Majesty the Queen of England’s authority.

Once a year the Metropolitan Police executes this secret mission of transferring the crown jewels from the Tower of London, an impenetrable fortress where the most valuable jewels on earth are protected, across London to the Buckingham Palace, in their official vehicles. The next day this routine is repeated to deposit the jewels back into the tower.

For the heist Faulkner assembles a motley group of small-time thugs, practising for weeks until they have fine-tuned their act to the last millisecond. On the other side, the Scotland Yard gets ready to protect both the jewels and their reputation. Can the thieves get the better of the police or will the police force outsmart them?

The heist is plotted to the minutest detail with the reader racing across London, either with the thieves trying to steal them or the police trying to keep them safe. With so many players, each a master at his own game, the story is bound to be a page-turner and a quick read. Who will win? Who will lose? Who will save the day? I am not revealing anything as I don’t want spoilers marring your reading experience. Pick up the book and discover it for yourself.

Rachna Chhabria is a Bengaluru based children’s author and a freelance writer

Traitors Gate
By Jeffrey Archer
Published by HarperCollins
pp. 356; Rs 499

 

Tags: jeffrey archer, traitors gate, book review, heist tale