Jeffrey Howard Archer, the Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare, is an English novelist and former politician.

He wrote his first book Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less in 1974, as a means to avoid bankruptcy.

And, since then, he has written plays, fiction, non-fiction, books for children; he has also served in prison from August 2001 to July 2003 for perjury and perverting the course of justice.

His novels have topped the bestseller lists around the world, with sales of over 270 million copies. He is the only author ever to have been a number one bestseller in fiction (15 times), short stories (3 times) and non-fiction (The Prison Diaries).


Cover of Jeffrey's Archer A Quiver Full of Arrows

Published in 1980, A Quiver Full of Arrows is a collection of 12 short stories, each of which transports the reader into a different era and a different country.

Contents of Jeffrey Archer's A Quiver Full of Arrows

The Chinese Statue is a tale of a 15th century statue of Emperor Kung of Ming Dynasty which is acquired by Sir Alexander Heathcote during his tenure as a British representative in China. It then becomes a cherished family heirloom, only to be later auctioned by Sir Alex’s great-great-grandson to save the “family honor”.

The Luncheon is an amusing story of a writer’s chance meeting with a lady named Susan, with whom he had a lunch years ago in London – a meal which left him broke.

Set in Nigeria, The Coup is a heart-warming tale of two arch-rival Brazilian businessmen Rodrigues and de Silveira becoming friends, and eventually business partners.

The First Miracle takes the reader to Bethlehem, where a young boy running an errand for his mother, fatefully ends up at the barn where Jesus was born.

The Perfect Gentleman is a story set in New York about the final of a backgammon club championship between two men, one of whom exudes the attributes of a true gentleman until the end.

One Night Stand tells a whimsical tale of two best friends who fall for the same woman in New York and end up making an agreement so that none of them would have to give up on their desire without ruining their years of friendship.

The Century is the story of an Oxford student aiming to score a century in a varsity cricket match against Cambridge to follow in his father’s footsteps. This story is rumored to be based on the famous Indian cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi.

Broken Routine from a Quiver Full of Arrows

Broken Routine’s protagonist is Septimus Horatio Cornwallis, a creature of habit. However, on his way back from work on a rainy day, his routine gets shattered and he ends up in a petty and silly contest with a youngster – one that would leave the reader in chuckles.

Henry's Hiccup from A Quiver Full of Arrows

Henry’s Hiccup is the story of Henry. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he never had to do anything by himself. However, after the Second World War, his world changes completely and, on the most important day of his life, he is left to fend for himself.

A Matter of Principle is the story of a self-made Scottish businessman, who suffers a setback to his pride, narrow-mindedness and uncompromising attitude when he is exposed to the corrupt ways of the Mexican government.

The Hungarian Professor from A Quiver Full of Arrows

The Hungarian Professor is a heart-warming tale of a rendezvous between the narrator and a professor of English in Hungary. The latter is an English literature enthusiast, who, despite never having been out of Hungary, is familiar with the English landscape like a native.

Old Love relates the story of William and Philippa, who are two students of the English language and literature at Oxford. The initially fierce competitors end up falling in love with their story ending on a rather grim note.

These twelve short stories take the reader on a ride of emotions with a little surprise or a twist at the end of each story. The stories are captivating, engaging and soaked in reality.

Fate and coincidence are the running themes in most of the plots.

Some of the stories will the leave the readers chuckling, some will warm them from  inside, while some others will leave them smiling because of their sheer simplicity.

Mr. Archer knows how to keep the readers hooked and, yet again, he does it with aplomb. True to his reputation, he manages to entertain his readers very proficiently.

This collection of short stories is ideal for those who find it taxing to read full-length novels; the heart-warming variety in the stories will leave the readers both enthralled and amazed.

Ameya Rating: 3.75/5.