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Godchildren by Nicholas Coleridge
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Godchildren

by Nicholas Coleridge

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If Charlie and the Chocolate Factory had been written by Jeffrey Archer, the result would probably have been very much like this book. That's not a criticism.

Spanning nearly four decades, the book follows the six godchildren of a successful but morally bankrupt tycoon. I liked the way the book dipped into their lives at various stages, kept the momentum going, a mammoth juggling act given that there are six of them to keep up with. They can all be readily characterised (druggie, chancer, toff etc) but stay the right side of being caricatures.

There is a boldness about the writing, a willingness to incorporate real people (Margaret Thatcher turns up at one point, as does David Blunkett - the second book in a row that I've read with him in it, how weird is that?). Also an interesting theory about whether or not Mikhail Gorbachev likes Marmite.

I thought at some points the motivations of the characters were having to be manipulated to an extent that was positively gymnastic, just to make sure the plot stayed on track. Given the events in the story, there was no way some of the godchildren would have maintained links with their godfather, but there they were every time there was a meet-up. In spite of this, I was gripped, and had to read the last sixty pages locked in my bedroom to prevent any interruptions! Coleridge has a really really good writing style - lively, confident, easy to follow, and I'm amazed he is not a bigger name on the literary stage. ( )
  jayne_charles | Aug 25, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0752848410, Paperback)

On a luxurious Balinese island, the charismatic tycoon Marcus Brand entertains his six godchildren. By the end of the weekend, secrets will be revealed that will change everybody's life, a climax to the web of lies and betrayals spun over the course of thirty years. The godchildren are Charlie - the aristocratic Old Etonian, who's fascinated and enthralled by Marcus's wealth and who devotes his life to securing an inheritance; Mary - the daughter of one of Marcus's business colleagues, her life is blighted by tragedy; Jamie - feckless but utterly charming, he drifts from one job to another, crossing Marcus's path just once too often for comfort; Saffron - delicate and sensitive as well as stunningly beautiful, she is unaware of her power over men ...and of Marcus's power over her; Abigail - insecure and gauche, she blames Marcus for the disaster of her life; and Stuart - the working-class son of Marcus's dead chauffeur, he is torn between admiration and hatred for his supremely successful, capitalist godfather...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:26 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"In his magnificent Balinese house overlooking the Java Sea, the charismatic tycoon Marcus Brand entertains his six godchildren. By the end of the holiday, secrets will be revealed that will change their lives forever, a climax to the web of lies and betrayals spun over the course of four decades." "Who exactly is Marcus Brand, and what motivates him to control and manipulate the lives of his godchildren? What are the dark secrets that lie behind his relationship with them? And why do they find it impossible to escape from his pernicious but seductive orbit?" "Charlie, Mary, Jamie, Saffron, Abigail and Stuart: each one from a different background, each enthralled by their godfather for different reasons - his mind-boggling wealth, his incredible success, his sexual allure, his charisma, his mystery.""As the godchildren grow older, their relationships with Marcus and with each other become ever more complex, until they are finally compelled to turn on the most powerful figure in their lives and confront the truth."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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