A Prisoner of Birth – with Bonus Content
Bestseller Archer (Kane and Abel) pays homage to Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo in this delicious updating of the adventure classic. Four upper-crust friends from Cambridge University known as the Musketeers conspire to frame Danny Cartwright, an illiterate London East Ender, for the murder of Danny’s oldest friend and brother-in-law to be, Bernie Wilson. The outcome of the intriguing trial, which pits a relatively novice defense lawyer against a skilled prosecutor, is a 22-year sentence for Danny. In maximum-security Belmarsh prison, Danny is lucky enough to share a cell with Sir Nicholas Moncrieff, the book’s Abbé Faria figure, who teaches him to read and write. In a trick familiar to those who know their Dumas, Danny escapes by impersonating Moncrieff and hatches an intricate scheme to punish the Musketeers and clear his name. While Archer doesn’t explore the cost to Danny’s soul his revenge exacts, the author’s firsthand knowledge of prison life and legal maneuvers helps make this a thoroughly enjoyable entertainment. 250,000-copy printing; author tour. (Mar.)
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