Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A young boy's determination to fulfill his dream of becoming an architect takes him on a journey filled with challenges and triumphs.


In this book summary, we will delve into the captivating world of "As the Crow Flies" written by renowned author Jeffrey Archer. This gripping novel takes readers on an exhilarating journey through the life of Charlie Trumper, a young boy who rises from humble beginnings to become a successful businessman. With its intriguing plot and well-developed characters, "As the Crow Flies" offers readers a thrilling and engaging reading experience.

Brief Synopsis

Set in the early 20th century, "As the Crow Flies" follows the life of Charlie Trumper, a young boy growing up in the East End of London. From a young age, Charlie shows great determination and ambition as he assists his grandfather in running a small market stall. As he grows older, Charlie's dreams of owning his own store become even more fervent.

The story takes place against the backdrop of major historical events, including the sinking of the Titanic and the outbreak of World War I. These events shape Charlie's life and the world around him, providing a rich and dynamic setting for the narrative.

Main Characters

Charlie TrumperProtagonist of the story, ambitious and hardworking, dreams of owning his own store
MaisieCharlie's childhood friend and love interest
DaphneCharlie's wife, a strong and supportive character
EmilyCharlie's daughter, inherits his ambition and drive
Blackie O'NeillCharlie's rival in the market, adds tension to the story

Summary of Story Points

Chapters 1-5: Childhood and Ambitions

In the early chapters, we are introduced to Charlie Trumper as a young boy working alongside his grandfather at the market stall. We witness his determination and ambition as he dreams of one day owning his own store. The foundation for Charlie's journey is laid, and we are introduced to key supporting characters such as Maisie, his childhood friend.

Chapters 6-10: Struggles and Setbacks

As Charlie grows older, he faces numerous setbacks and challenges. His dreams are put on hold when he is forced to take over his grandfather's market stall after his sudden death. Charlie also faces personal tragedies, including the loss of his beloved Maisie. These chapters highlight Charlie's resilience and determination in the face of adversity.

Chapters 11-15: Triumph and Success

Charlie's fortunes change when he takes a risk and invests his savings in a dilapidated store. Through hard work and shrewd business decisions, Charlie transforms the store into a thriving department store, Trumper's. These chapters showcase Charlie's entrepreneurial skills and his ability to overcome obstacles.

Chapters 16-20: Love and Loss

Charlie's personal life takes center stage in these chapters as he falls in love with Daphne and they marry. However, tragedy strikes when Daphne falls seriously ill. Charlie is faced with the challenge of balancing his growing business empire with his wife's deteriorating health.

Chapters 21-25: World War I and the Final Showdown

The outbreak of World War I brings new challenges for Charlie and his family. Trumper's department store suffers amidst the war, but Charlie's determination keeps it afloat. Meanwhile, a long-standing rivalry with Blackie O'Neill reaches its climax, adding tension and suspense to the story.

Main Events

  1. Charlie's dreams of owning a store and his childhood experiences in the market stall.
  2. The sinking of the Titanic and its impact on Charlie's life.
  3. Charlie's triumphs and setbacks as he transforms a dilapidated store into a successful department store.
  4. Charlie's personal tragedies, including the loss of Maisie and his wife's illness.
  5. The outbreak of World War I and its effect on Charlie's business.
  6. The culmination of Charlie's rivalry with Blackie O'Neill.

Themes and Insights

  • Ambition and Determination: The novel explores the power of ambition and the lengths one can go to achieve their dreams. Charlie's unwavering determination to succeed drives the narrative forward.
  • Love and Loss: "As the Crow Flies" delves into the complexities of love and the impact of loss on individuals and their relationships. The challenges faced by Charlie in his personal life add depth to the story.
  • Social Mobility: The book examines the concept of social mobility and the opportunities available to individuals from humble backgrounds to rise in society. Charlie's journey from a market stall to owning a successful department store is a testament to this theme.

Reader's Takeaway

Readers of "As the Crow Flies" will be captivated by the compelling narrative, well-developed characters, and historical backdrop. The novel offers an inspiring tale of perseverance, ambition, and the pursuit of dreams. Jeffrey Archer's masterful storytelling keeps readers engaged from start to finish, making it a must-read for fans of historical fiction and literary dramas.


"As the Crow Flies" is a remarkable novel that showcases Jeffrey Archer's ability to weave an engaging and emotionally charged story. Through the life of Charlie Trumper, readers are taken on a journey filled with triumphs and tragedies, love and loss, and the pursuit of success. This compelling tale offers valuable insights into the power of ambition, the complexities of human relationships, and the transformative potential of hard work and determination.

As the Crow Flies FAQ

  1. What is the genre of 'As the Crow Flies'?

    The genre of 'As the Crow Flies' is historical fiction.

  2. Who is the author of 'As the Crow Flies'?

    The author of 'As the Crow Flies' is Jeffrey Archer.

  3. What is the main storyline of 'As the Crow Flies'?

    The main storyline of 'As the Crow Flies' follows the life of Charlie Trumper, a young boy who rises from a humble background to become a successful businessman.

  4. Is 'As the Crow Flies' based on a true story?

    'As the Crow Flies' is a work of fiction and not based on a true story.

  5. What time period does 'As the Crow Flies' take place in?

    'As the Crow Flies' is set in the early 20th century, spanning from the late 1900s to the 1950s.

  6. Are there any sequels or prequels to 'As the Crow Flies'?

    No, 'As the Crow Flies' is a standalone novel and does not have any sequels or prequels.

  7. Is 'As the Crow Flies' a fast-paced book?

    Yes, 'As the Crow Flies' is known for its fast-paced narrative and engaging plot.

  8. Does 'As the Crow Flies' contain any romantic elements?

    Yes, 'As the Crow Flies' includes romantic elements as part of the overall storyline.

  9. What age group is 'As the Crow Flies' suitable for?

    'As the Crow Flies' is suitable for adult readers, generally recommended for ages 18 and above.

  10. Has 'As the Crow Flies' won any awards?

    Yes, 'As the Crow Flies' has received critical acclaim and won several literary awards.