Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer comes in at 125 on the combined reading list. Kane and Abel was published in 1980 making it one of the newer books on the list. Kane and Abel follows the lives of two different men that happened to share a birthday. William Kane was born to a life luxury. His father was a rich and successful banker and William would become a rich and successful banker. Abel Robowski was a poor Polish immigrant who had nothing, but would come to America and try to make a life for himself.
The structure of the book is very simple but works very well. Each chapter alternates between Kane and Abel. In a book that eventually shows the struggles and battles these two men will put each other through, they very rarely cross paths. There is an occasional meeting or phone call, but for the most part these two men never cross paths.
For reasons that I can not say without spoiling some of the book Abel develops a huge hatred for William Kane due to some business with his bank. It becomes so personal and his hatred builds so much that Abel does whatever he can to hurt William's life at his bank. Eventually William does a few well placed business moves to try and fight back and make Abel go away.
Between these business battles we watched each boy grow into a man, fall in love, have kids, lose close friends to illness, lose parents, divorce, and live a pretty normal life. And it is these normal, everyday lives that we all deal with where the book shines. The battles between Kane and Abel are solid as well, but the way the two lives unfold and how their family life unfolds is the real shining achievement.
This book is solid all around. There were a couple of minor lulls, but for the most part this book kept me reading. This book is a very interesting character study wrapped around a tightly woven plot that should keep you engaged until the end. I feel this book is a little low at 125 on the list. 5 out of 5 stars!
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