'A Matter Of Honour' was recommended to me by a friend over an year ago, but it was only last week that I sat down to read it. That is one reason I am overtly critical of it, since when you anticipate something for so long, it tends to fall a bit short of your high expectations. The other reason is that the last thriller I read was 'The Bourne Supremacy'.
Jeffrey Archer draws us into the plot right away. The year is 1966. KGB has discovered that the Tsar's Icon hanging in the
is a fake. Moreover, the original has a document hidden inside it that could tip the balance in the ongoing global power struggle. With the deadline to recover the document drawing near, KGB officer Alex Romanov is assigned to retrieve the icon, despite his ambitious & unreliable nature. Winter Palace
Adam Scott, an ex-military officer, discovers his deceased father has left him a letter which says he has been bequeathed a relic (no prizes for guessing), of whose value he isn't entirely sure of. On opening the letter he sets in motion a series of events that threaten to shake the foundations of the free world itself. Chased by the KGB and CIA, Adam finds himself betrayed by his own government. Still he resolves to protect his possession seeing it wasn’t only a matter of life and death, but a matter of honour.
'A Matter of Honour' is an engrossing and enjoyable read. the pace of the plot is set from the very first page and it doesn't fall till the end.The plot itself is interesting and cleverly designed. That being said, the beginning of the book is definitely better than the latter half. Once the pieces are set and the chase ensues, Archer doesn't bring anything new to the table. Don't worry, you will still be eagerly turning the pages for more.
To me the story of the book seemed more like a movie script as you could easily imagine the scenes taking place in any military-espionage flick. It isn't a bad thing, rather it sets the pace of the novel and keeps things exciting.
The characters, especially the supporting cast, as well as the verbal interactions are very well done and are fun to read. My favorite is Robin - one of the most sarcastic and witty characters I've ever read.
Still I do have some minor gripes with the book.
Firstly, the actions of the main characters aren't entirely consistent. This is especially true for Adam - one moment he analyzes brilliantly enough to make Jason Bourne proud, the next he is at loss at what to do. It seems the plot is dictating the actions of the character rather than the other way round.
The narration also lacks adequate emotional development of Adam. A person who recently lost his father & witnessed the murder of his girlfriend should show more emotion. Maybe they train them like that in the military.
Jeffrey Archer leaves a couple of really minor plotlines unresolved or unexplored as if he was unsure of what to do with them.
These minor annoyances aside, 'A Matter of Honour' is a great read and easy to recommend. Especially good for taking the boredom away on an uneventful weekend.