Today Mandie is sharing her thoughts on Next In Line by Jeffrey Archer. Mandie went to his panel at Bloody Scotland, a highly entertaining affair by all accounts, and managed to pick up an early copy of the book. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
London, 1988. Royal fever sweeps the nation as Britain falls in love with the ‘people’s princess’.
Which means for Scotland Yard, the focus is on the elite Royalty Protection Command, and its commanding officer. Entrusted with protecting the most famous family on earth, they quite simply have to be the best. A weak link could spell disaster.
Detective Chief Inspector William Warwick and his Scotland Yard squad are sent in to investigate the team. Maverick ex-undercover operative Ross Hogan is charged with a very sensitive – and unique – responsibility. But it soon becomes clear the problems in Royalty Protection are just the beginning. A renegade organization has the security of the country – and the Crown – in its sights. The only question is which target is next in line…
Next in Line is the fifth book in the William Warwick series but it is the first one I have read; in fact, it is the first book by Jeffery Archer I have read. I watched Kane and Abel when it was televised but that’s not quite the same thing. You may wonder then why I picked this particular book to start with and I guess it was partly because it was set in the world of the Royalty Protection Service and the time of Princess Diana and partly because I knew that I was going to see Jeffrey Archer at Bloody Scotland Crime Festival.
DCI William Warwick and his team are called in to investigate if the Royalty Protection Command are really doing their jobs in line with protocol and the good of the Royal family or if they are now operating as though they are above the law. Ross Hogan is chosen to guard Princess Diana, a highly responsible job and one that keeps him on his toes, whilst the rest of the team have to embed themselves into the close-knit unit to find out what is going on without arousing suspicion of what their true mission is.
Despite me jumping into a series at the latest book I didn’t feel that I couldn’t follow the story. The characters were well developed, and I didn’t need to know their back story to get to like them. Warwick has an old nickname of “the choirboy” and you can see why that is. He is a very by the book’s kind of person (with the exception of maybe one incident that happened prior to the current action) and he hates any hint of corruption within the force so you can see how it goes against the grain for him to blend in with the Protection Command to get the evidence he needs. The other thing you can see about him is that his family is very important as are his team and he thinks nothing of becoming a surrogate parent for Ross Hogan’s daughter so that he can take on his latest mission. As for Ross, I think I liked his character most. He is committed to his job, but he has a certain air of devil may care when it comes to strictly following the rules, though this may not be a bad thing when he finds the lives of those he is protecting are in danger. And his instincts on who can and can’t be trusted are pretty much spot on.
I was expecting this to be a book that was full on from the start with corruption, kidnapping and terrorist plots at its heart, but I was pleasantly surprised. The slower build up allowing the various scenes to be set mean that when it all started to kick off later in the book I was invested in the outcomes and as the pace picked up so did my reading speed as I wanted to find out if everyone would come out ok and those responsible would get their comeuppance.
What I can say is that now I have read Next in Line I really want to find books 1 – 4 in this series and learn more about Warwick and the team and after seeing Jeffrey Archer at the festival he is as much a storyteller in person as he is on the page, and I can see why he is such a popular author.
About the Author
Jeffrey Archer, whose novels include the Clifton Chronicles, the William Warwick novels and Kane and Abel, has topped bestseller lists around the world, with sales of over 275 million copies. He is the only author ever to have been a #1 bestseller in fiction, short stories and non-fiction (The Prison Diaries). A member of the House of Lords for over a quarter of a century, the author is married to Dame Mary Archer, and they have two sons, two granddaughters and two grandsons.