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Sons of Fortune

New or Used: 2 copies from $16.51
It is often tiny decisions, sometimes made by others, that can change our whole lives. Nathaniel Davenport is the son of Susan and Michael. Born a twin, his brother died soon after birth. His education at Taft is a privileged one and from an early age he impresses his peers, teachers and friends with his intelligence and political acumen. Returning from Vietnam a war hero, he enrolls at the University of Connecticut and begins his first major campaign to become President of the Student Senate. Fletcher Andrew Cartright is the son of Ruth and Robert. Born in the same hospital as Nat, and on the same day, he was to his parents, the blessed child they doubted they would ever have. Educated at Hotchkiss, he soon shows exceptional talent and legal prowess, winning the post of Student President and going on to study law at Yale. But as these young men pursue their separate dreams, a truth remains hidden to all but one person. For Nat and Andrew are twins, separated at birth in an act of desperation, and to this day, unaware of each other's existence. And now, as their lives unfold, it seems they are being channelled together in a twist of fortune that may bring them face to face...
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Veteran novelist and British politician Archer (Kane and Abel) is currently serving a prison sentence for perjury, so readers can perhaps forgive him if this latest effort falls short of his usual standard. The implausibly plotted novel follows fraternal twin boys separated at birth by a bizarre set of circumstances. Nat Cartwright and Fletcher Davenport are born in Hartford, Conn., in the early 1950s. A meddlesome nurse sends them home with different families. Nat is raised in a lower-middle-class household, attends the University of Connecticut, serves heroically in Vietnam and goes into banking. Fletcher, the wealthy Yalie, becomes a lawyer and a politician. The men are repeatedly thrown into competition with each other, whether for admission to college or in their professional lives, their rivalry culminating when they both run for governor of their home state. The characters are too thin, and their respective worlds too littered with clichs, to offer a satisfying portrait of the baby boomer generation. Contrived plot twists offer little distraction, while the dialogue sometimes reads like a set of photo captions-information without emotion. "When you think about it, they are the obvious predator," says Nat about a takeover threat. "Fairchild's is the largest bank in the state; seventy-one branches with almost no serious rivals." Archer is usually a skillful storyteller, but he drops the ball here. (Jan.) Forecast: Archer, who has had to resign from political office three times because of financial and sexual scandals, usually draws reliable sales, but this weak offering may break the mold. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.

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