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Heads you win : a novel
2018
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Summary
<p> This program is read by Richard Armitage. <br> <br> With a final twist that will shock even his most ardent listeners, Heads You Win is #1 New York Times bestseller Jeffrey Archer's most ambitious and creative work since Kane and Abel . </p><p> Leningrad, Russia, 1968. Alexander Karpenko is no ordinary child, and from an early age, it is clear he is destined to lead his countrymen. But when his father is assassinated by the KGB for defying the state, he and his mother will have to escape from Russia if they hope to survive. At the docks, they are confronted with an irreversible choice: should they board a container ship bound for America, or Great Britain? Alexander leaves that choice to the toss of a coin . . .</p><p>In a single moment, a double twist decides Alexander's future. During an epic tale of fate and fortune, spanning two continents and thirty years, we follow his triumphs and defeats as he struggles as an immigrant to conquer his new world. As this unique story unfolds, Alexander comes to realize where his destiny lies, and accepts that he must face the past he left behind in Russia.</p>
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  Booklist Review

*Starred Review* In the late 1960s, long before the fall of communism, a boy and his mother escape from Leningrad. They can stow away on either of two ships: one headed to England, the other to the U.S. They make their decision by flipping a coin. In this brilliantly conceived novel, Archer follows the lives of Alexander and Elena down both paths; in (mostly) alternating chapters, we see Alex build a financial empire in the U.S., while Sasha a common Russian diminutive for Alexander climbs the political ladder in England. Their lives follow generally parallel trajectories; a major event in Alex's life is roughly mirrored in Sasha's, and vice versa. Archer, no stranger to sprawling epics, covers three decades in the life of Alex/Sasha, working his way to a stunning conclusion that packs an emotional wallop. Typical for an Archer novel, the writing and characterizations are superb, and the book features several plot twists that send the story lines off in surprising new directions. There are a couple of moments, late in the novel, that should make readers' jaws drop moments so unexpected and surreal that they require a second reading, just to make sure we really just read what we think we did. A splendid novel, featuring one of Archer's most elegantly told stories.--David Pitt Copyright 2018 Booklist
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