ISBN is

978-0-06-109203-9 / 9780061092039

The Fourth Estate

by

Publisher:Harper

Edition:Softcover

Language:English

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About the book:

Utilizing his extensive theatrical experience, Martin Jarvis handles the difficult task of narrating Jeffrey Archer's bestseller, The Fourth Estate, quite admirably. As in his extremely popular novel, Kane & Abel, Archer has once again created dual protagonists--in this case, chronicling the parallel lives of two rival media tycoons, each bent on global domination of the newspaper industry. Because of this doubly complex plot device, the narrator must possess a very flexible voice to differentiate not only the two lead characters, but each of their large supporting casts as well. Jarvis tackles the challenge quite capably.

Although the work is billed as fiction, the personalities and events bear a striking resemblance to actual stories seen in headlines. So recognizable, in fact, that lawsuits were filed in an effort to halt publication of Archer's book altogether. Perhaps that can explain his relatively safe, methodical effort here. As usual, he has devised an absorbing and intricate plot, but the story follows the action forward so closely that there is little time allowed for insight into the character's motivations or for philosophical narrative. Still, Archer's considerable talent as a storyteller and the noteworthy performance by the very talented Jarvis make The Fourth Estate a compelling look at the cause and effect of ruthless corporate behavior and provides an intriguing peek behind closed boardroom doors. (Running time: six hours, four cassettes) --George Laney

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