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Publisher's Summary

Danny Cartwright and Spencer Craig never should have met.

One evening, Danny, an East End cockney who works as a garage mechanic, takes his girlfriend up to the West End to celebrate their engagement. He crosses the path of Spencer Craig, a West End barrister tipped to be the youngest Queen's Counsel of his generation. A few hours later, Danny is arrested for murder and later is sentenced to 22 years in prison, thanks to irrefutable testimony from Spencer, the prosecution's main witness.

Danny spends the next few years in a high-security prison while Spencer Craig's career as a lawyer goes from strength to strength. But all the while Danny plans to escape and wreak his revenge.

Thus begins Jeffrey Archer's poignant and unputdownable novel of deception, hatred and revenge, in which only one of them can finally triumph, while the other will spend the rest of his days in jail. But which one? This suspenseful novel takes the listener through so many twists and turns that no one will guess the ending, even the most ardent of Archer's many, many fans.

©2008 Jeffrey Archer (P)2008 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Bestseller Archer...pays homage to Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo in this delicious updating of the adventure classic." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

His best since before he went to prison

I have enjoyed reading Jeffrey Archer for many years, even as a teenager before he was an MP and then sent to prison. His previous book (the Art one involving the 9/11 crashes) was merely so-so, and for a while his books have been merely enjoyable - but this one is FANTASTIC! a total return to form. If you have never read him, this really is a great place to start. Great characters, A long awaited justice served, high court drama, intrigue, villainy, and machinations. The characterization of Prisoners and their environemt is particularly vivid.

31 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very Entertaining

I really enjoyed this book. It was a solid story throughout and kept you interested in the main protagonist, Danny Cartwright. I really enjoyed the narrator as well. His different accents and his fine characterizations kept the story interesting for this listener. It has also made me want to read/listen to the Count of Monte Cristo again, as this is what Sir Archer says he based his plot on.

23 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

5 Stars - Wonderful!

This is a great story that keeps you hooked from the beginning all the way to an exciting conclusion. I've been an Audible member for over a couple of years and normally don't take the time to write a review. However, this book was one of my favorites I have listened to over the past couple of years. I felt compelled to let anyone know that is searching for a great story -- I believe you will be very happy with this choice.

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful book, excellent narration

What a remarkable book. If you like Dumas, you must like this modern renditition. I've listened to The Count of Monte Cristo numerous times, and look forward to doing the same with this one.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • Alto, MI, USA
  • 04-21-08

The best courtroom drama

This book is extremely well written. Archer tells an interviewer at the end of the recording that she is holding the 17th draft. Meticulous and intelligent. You love the heros and hate the villains. Every turn and twist in the plot is clever. I took an extra walk to listen to the last hour a second time.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars


Jeffrey Archer writes with the experience of one who has been "inside". His accounts are credible even to one who has worked in court and jail.

It's fun to pick out similarities and differences between the British and American legal systems. I myself read for fun, and fun is what I found throughout A Prisoner of Birth, unabridged. Highly recommended reading.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Josh
  • Santa Monica, CA United States
  • 04-04-09

Fun, Predictable Fluff

First of all, complaining that the book is too close to The Count of Monte Cristo is unfair. The book is meant to be a modern retelling of the same story. For those who missed it, he references that book and its author, Dumas, multiple times. He talks about the book in the interview at the end of the book. If you do not want to retread the Count of Monte Cristo, stay away. It probably should be mentioned in the publisher's description, but saying that the author is ripping off or stealing the plot is unfair. He is trying to say how that story might work today.

I enjoyed the book, but I was never surprised. I predicted all but half of one twist. However, that did not bother me. It's like a good summer movie. You know where it is going, so you just kick back and enjoy the ride.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • R
  • FORT WAYNE, IN, United States
  • 10-16-08

Archer's Best

I've been hooked on Archer's book since First Among Equals. Prisoner is even more absorbing. I've been so glued to the book that I have frequently driven right buy turns without knowing it.Listening to this book in your car can result in higher gasoline (petrol)consumption. The narration is outstanding. The reader effortlessly slips from cockney to Scottish to American accents. I will not soon forget Danny Cartwright, Big Al, Fraser Monroe and the Barristers Redmane.

As an attorney, I usually believe courtroom scenes are not accurately portrayed. Those in Prisoner absorbed me.

Regardless of how you feel about the justice of Archer's conviction, He certainly could have not been as effective in letting us live through Bellmarsh without that experience. I think his prison description is even better than in the book he wrote about his own incarceration.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping drama, great read!

From the synopsis I wasn't sure I would like this book even though it was highly rated but since it was so high on te bestseller list I decided to give it a listen. If you enjoy mysteries, suspense, or drama, give it a try and you won't be disappointed. This was one of the best audiobooks I've come across this year. A classic tale of two social classes, with the assumptions that the upper class can do no wrong. All the weight of the law is behind the upper class while those in the lower class are left high and dry. In this case, however, the upperclass gents get a run for their money, a real challenge. The book has plenty of twists and turns and keeps the listener riveted. The only trouble is that I never wanted to put it down and get to sleep. Lost sleep .....

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Christine
  • Guilderland, NY, United States
  • 04-20-08

Incredible Read

I highly recommend this book. The reader is perfect: great with various accents and nuance, and the book is outstanding. Other than having tons of plot twists, it plays deeply on one's sense of justice. The bad guys get it, unlike in the real world, and oh how satisfying it is. The description of the British legal and prison systems are fascinating too.
If you need gripping reading, while taking a trip or exercising, this is for you.
Mr. Archer has done a wonderful job and the reader has has done likewise.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful