The first book in this series, Kane & Abel was original released in 1980, the last by 1982. At minimum, read Kane & Abel, it is super – an extremely popular 1980s book, made into a mini-series in 1985.
The story is a familial-character driven tale, spanning decades. Kane and Abel are both born on the same day in 1906. William Lowell Kane is heir to a banking empire in New York City. Baron Abel Rosnovski, aka Wladek Koskiewicz, is born to poverty and nightmarish violence in war-torn Poland. Abel makes his way to New York and is eventually refused a bank loan by Kane’s board of directors. Blaming Kane for this embarrassing shun, Abel makes his way to a pinnacle of success as a hotelier. This has only been possible due to anonymous financial backing. Decades of visceral hatred ensue, but it isn’t hard to guess the identity of the philanthropist. Narrated by Jason Culp, about 20 hours of listening, release by Macmillon Audio.
Book two, The Prodigal Daughter is the story of the descendants of William and Abel, Richard Kane and Florentyna Rosnovski. They meet by chance, fall in love, and flee to San Francisco to escape the wrath of their fathers. The first part of this book is a replay of Kane & Abel through the eyes of Richard and Florentyna. Exactly. Same-o-same-o, precisely, only a different point of view. Starting at about Chapter 23, the story of The Prodigal Daughter lifts off. Archer’s characters in The Prodigal Daughter are like those of Danielle Steele, i.e., drop-dead gorgeous, filthy rich, hearts of gold. Florentyna successfully opens dozens of her own boutiques, eventually manages her father’s hotel dynasty. The boutiques and hotels merge. Richard and Florentyna move on the bank just because they don’t want to buy one; Richard becomes bank chairman. The story steps further beyond credibility when Florentyna nearly becomes POTUS and accepts the VP slot. The two become astronauts and … that part’s a lie. Also Macmillon Audio, but narrated by Lorelei King. About 15 hours long.
Book three, Shall We Tell the President, a short audiobook, is less than eight hours in length. also Macmillon Audio, also narrated by Lorelei King. The story begins with Florentyna winning the position of POTUS, a roll she has fulfilled since the untimely death of her predecessor. An assassination is attempted and the story is off an running. Much better than The Prodigal Daughter. An interesting aside: When this book was written 1982, President Kane is confronted with gun control – and is concerned about ‘a house divided’ on this volatile issue. Sound familiar? Although the story is fiction, a British author pointed out in 1982 what we argue today, close to 40 years later. *sigh*
No issues with narration in any book.
General opinions: Kane & Abel is an excellent story, and highly recommended. The rest of the series is not. Archer should have started with Chapter 23 of The Prodigal Daughter and combined an abbreviated Shall We Tell the President. In summary, book one is great, book two a look into how the ridiculously wealthy live, book three is a decent who-done-it, albeit short for my taste.