Shall we tell the president? * Jeffrey Archer

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Florentyna Kane is the first woman president of the United States. At 7.30 one evening, the FBI learn of a plot to kill her – the 1,572nd such threat of the year. At 8.30, five people know all the details. By 9.30, four of them are dead. FBI agent Mark Andrews alone knows the ‘when’. He also knows that a senator is involved. He has six days to learn the ‘where’ and the ‘how’ – and six days to prevent the president’s certain death.

If you like presidential debates and long books, why not try this one? Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer Book Review (Book 1) was the base of the rise of the Kane empire – from noone to someone. The Prodigal Daughter by Jeffrey Archer (Book 2) was the second book, a lot more boring than the first in the series, the rise of Florentyna Kane from a rich girl to a presidential candidate.

Book 3 deals with the machinations of power at the highest level.

Archer published a revised edition of the novel, replacing Kennedy (in real life a Senator and a presidential candidate but not President) with the fictional character of Florentyna Kane (who became president in The Prodigal Daughter) so as to link this novel with the other two. Kennedy’s sister-in-law Jacqueline Onassis was then a consulting editor. Although Onassis was not involved in editing Shall We Tell the President?, she was criticized for not trying to deter her employer from publishing a novel about an assassination plot against a member of the Kennedy family. She resigned from Viking Press shortly after the publication.

He also replaced original Vice President Dale Bumpers (in real life a Governor and a Senator) with the real-life Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey. The author makes frequent references to William Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar.

“No man is an island,’ John Donne wrote more than three and a half centuries ago. ‘Every man is a piece of the continent.’ The United States stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Arctic to the Equator. ‘I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

They say most criminals are caught because of one, decisive mistake. With that in mind, I wonder how many assassination plots are discussed in clear and certain terms casually over lunch within earshot of the wait staff and other patrons. Not many? Yeah, I didn’t think so either.

This book succeeds only in one aspect: disclosing formalities from the White house. It fails on all other aspects, from non-profesional hitmen, from mistakes by the truckload, by the mention of the president and ex-president words at least 100 times per chapter.

 The hero finds time to date his girlfriend even though he has to foil an assassination plot to kill the American President in matter of few days!

Terrible book.

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