“If there was a Nobel Prize for storytelling, Archer would win.”



Jeffrey Archer’s experiments with storytelling grow more daring with each take. Heads you Win poses the question what if you made the wrong choice of country while escaping from Russia? What would have happened if you had gone to the other country. He does not allow the reader a chance to speculate but presents him with both sides of the issue in an assured feat of storytelling.

Through the story of Alexander and his mother Elena Archer travels through the escape from Russia keeping certain details the same as he explores life in America and the UK – though the version of the Alexander Karpenko story set in the UK uses the Russian diminutive Sasha.

Both stories are filled with Archer’s favourite twists and turns and for the reader the thrill is to keep reading and wonder how Archer continues to grab attention while in effect telling the same story twice over. The point is that Archer does that very successfully throwing in the things that he knows best – art frauds, bank crashes, treacherous women and cliffhanger survivals. Fans will welcome the old terrain with a reference to the Cliftons thrown in for good measure. Heads you Win also highlights the immigrant success story which is of key importance in the days of Trump and Brexit. An outsider succeeds against all odds. The last sentence is

The question that every reader will now ask is what next? What new twist in the tale will Archer come up with in the future – and that is without reference to that telling last sentence!


Reviewed by:

Anjana Basu

Added 26th December 2018

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Anjana Basu