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Publisher's Summary

When an aristocratic old lady is brutally murdered in her English country home on the night before September 11, 2001, it will take all the resources of the FBI and Interpol to work out the connection between her death and a priceless Van Gogh, which is stolen that night.

But in the end, it is a courageous young woman who escapes from North Tower of the World Trade Center after the first plane crashes into the building, who has the foresight and determination to take on both sides of the law and avenge the old lady's death.

The young woman, Anna Petrescu, takes advantage of being missing and presumed dead in the days after 9/11 to escape from New York City, only to be pursued by both the FBI and a ruthless assassin across the globe, from Toronto to London, to Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Bucharest. But it is only when she finally returns to New York that the mystery unravels.

In his first thriller since The Eleventh Commandment, international best-selling author Jeffrey Archer takes the listener on a breathtaking journey, full of twists and turns, all leading back to the question of why so many people are willing to risk their lives to own Van Gogh's Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear. And it's not just because it could be worth one hundred million dollars.

©2006 Jeffrey Archer (P)2006 Audio Renaissance

Critic Reviews

"Archer's writing skills have not deteriorated over the years." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • A
  • 04-05-06

Very disappointing

I've never read an Archer that I haven't liked -- except for this one. Something was missing. It was too predictable; there was no twist, no sudden surprises. If this is your first foray into Archer thrillers, don't start here. Try his older books first. Archer is a fine storyteller but this one will only leave you with a false impression.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Couldn't Get Past the Accents

This may very well be a great book, but I couldn't listen to more than about 30 minutes. I couldn't stand the accents used for the main characters. The narration was inconsistent. At times, it seemed very monotone, and at other times it seems rushed. I just stopped listening. Then, when I picked up a copy of the book at the store, I couldn't read it without hearing those same accents in my head!! It's a shame, it seems like it would have been a pretty good book.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Dan
  • Fayetteville, AR, United States
  • 02-18-08


This is my first Archer read. I expected more than the book delivered. The main character, Anna, was a good character but as often happens in this kind of book is asked to do more than she possibly could. But predictably she does it all and her considerable expertise as a Romanian PhD art historian/auctioneer serves her well for high stakes dectective work.

The story moved fast enough to keep your interest. Two parts of the book were constant irritants for me. First, villains are supposed to be bad guys but I can't remember a matched set of male and female villains with so many faults and absolutely no redeeming qualities. Second, the narrator seemed to weave a slight Irish accent into every character.

Worth the read but expect some unevenness.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story


Couldn't put it down, even years later, fast moving, well read, new app for windows is crap

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

OMG! The accents!

First, I should say that I do not write reviews very often. Second, I must say I am a big fan of J. Archer, the author. The book was good - cute and somewhat predictable - but good. On to the bad. The narration was horrible ... awful ... the worst I have ever heard ... ever. The narrator was trying to do a Romanian accent, but ended up sounding like a cross between an Irish lilt and mid-western Norwegian. He attempted to do a Japanese accent, failed miserably. I really do not know what the producers were thinking. It was just painful to listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Chris
  • Greenville, SC, USA
  • 03-25-06


I'm a Jeffery Archer fan but this book seemed to be written by someone else...perhaps Danielle Steel. Obviously a poor attempt to capture the female audience. Good narrator for such a tedious book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

It was a great listen

While taking a trip, I listened with my wife to the first half, and then to her chagrin, I finished the book with my "shuffle."
The author has written a very entertaining novel, and it was expertly read.
I recommend this to anyone taking a trip and wanting to escape. The story will keep you listening to the end.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Andrew
  • San Diego, CA, USA
  • 04-07-06

Accents by the narrator

This is a wonderful book. It has intrigue, suspense, and very likable characters. It is classic Archer writing. The one thing that I found most annoying, past the point of distraction, was the narrators feeble attempts at accents. His narration in general was well done, but when he slipped into what he perceived to be a Middle Eastern accent, I was distracted from the story-line by the lameness. All in all, a good listen if you are able to get past the aforementioned.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Amanda
  • Cathedral City, CA, United States
  • 11-27-09

Good Characters

Incredible moving description of 9/11 which catapults the reader into the story. The rotten are rotten and the good are good. I enjoyed "Prisoner of Birth" so much that I bought another of Jeffrey Archer's books immediately. The reader of this book was not as enjoyable as in the previous audible book,and his attempt at a Roumanian accent sounded more Irish than Roumanian. Lot's of twists and turns in the plot, which made me want to get back to listening as soon as possible. It's an elaborate shell game played all over the world with a priceless painting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


Jeffry has some great ideas. I believe he will eventually be a fantastic writer. He has improved with every book I read. He is rather predictable, and I mean from the beginning of page 1. He writes well and has nice ideas. I think he needs a few new ideas of his own though instead of reproducing old masterpieces. This book is a fresh idea and has nice flow. His next will be better and I will read it also.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful