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Heads You Win cover art

Heads You Win

Written by: Jeffrey Archer
Narrated by: Richard Armitage
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Publisher's Summary

Heads You Win is the incredible and thrilling novel by the master storyteller and bestselling author of the Clifton Chronicles and Kane and Abel, Jeffrey Archer.

Leningrad, Russia, 1968.

From an early age it is clear that Alexander Karpenko is destined to lead his countrymen. But when his father is assassinated by the KGB for defying the state, Alexander and his mother will have to escape Russia if they hope to survive. At the docks, they have an irreversible choice: board a container ship bound for America or one bound for Great Britain. Alexander leaves the choice to a toss of a coin...

In a single moment, a double twist decides Alexander’s future. During an epic tale, spanning two continents and thirty years, we follow Alexander through triumph and defeat as he sets out on parallel lives, as Alex in New York and Sasha in London. As this unique story unfolds, both come to realize that to find their destiny they must face the past they left behind as Alexander in Russia.

With a final twist that will shock even his most ardent fans, this is international number one bestseller Jeffrey Archer’s most ambitious and creative work since Kane and Abel.

©2018 Macmillan Publishers International Ltd (P)2018 Macmillan Digital Audio

Critic Reviews

"The master storyteller returns with a nail-biter every bit as good as Kane and Abel – utterly enthralling." (Joanna Lumley)

What listeners say about Heads You Win

Average Customer Ratings
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waste of time

narration was good,but the ending was really bad, absolute of time. quite disappointed and let down

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Excellent audio book. The narrator has done a job

Loved the book. The plot is interesting and has covered a wide canvass. The author is well known for thorough research before penni g down a story.

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Disappointed

End was confusing and disappointing. Expected more and felt like finished in a hurry. Jeffery Archer disappointed

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very confusing

alex and sashe, are they one or two? if they are same how is it possible to have the two identities? alex or sashe who was killed in the plane crash? if they are one and the same then who delivered the speech at the end?

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Ending was not for me

I loved the beginning, stayed true to the middle but despise the ending.
So many questions unanswered.
Not the best work of Jeffrey

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It left me confused

I'm not sure why this book was written. I thought that the writer wanted to present alternative histories and the real story would unfold at the end, but end got me all the more confused. Usually when I finish a book, I feel satisfied, but after completing this one I am not sure what should be my reaction. I felt like I was taken to a mountain peak and abruptly pushed downhill. I felt I was cheated all this while.

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Thought provoking

super interesting but left me dilusioned. must read. a great novel with a climax twist

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    3 out of 5 stars

Nothing extraordinary

I thought Archer was very special author before listening to this fiction. but it turned out to be pretty ordinary story. the characterization is strong but the story lacks the punch.

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Great story build up

Loved it. Great narration. Interesting story build as always by the author. It is properly stitched between two lives which are parallely lived which was just separated by a flip of a coin. At the end when the two lives again cross each other with a great expectation.

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captivating

loved it. it just grips you. the way it's narrated is beautiful. must read all.

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  • Prince Gaurav Karan
  • 17-11-18

Gripping narrative. Shocking end!

As with any Jeffery Archer book, the story writing is witty and clever that it keeps you hooked despite somewhat confusing plot. Due to the uniqueness of the plot you feel like reading two novels in one. Although it's not comedy at any rate, the situational humour in the story is a pleasant bonus. And the end ....it just leaves you in a shock. Leaves you thinking about what you just read, questioning yourself if it was complete fiction or if some of it was real. You also feel somewhat cheated at the abrupt ending but the shock that the last word of the novel delivers you leaves you so curious that you easily ignore the abruptness. The shock at the end stays with you for days. And last word about the narrator, he has done amazing work, you feel like you indeed listening to the characters speaking. All in all, a very satisfying yet mystifying read!!!!

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • charlie
  • 12-10-20

Disappointing

The narrator was so monotone, it was dull and I had to fight to stay awake, through his nauseating voices and lack of expression. It was very disappointing after having just read all of the Harry Clifton Chronicles where the narrator is extremely good, so good your not aware it a single person. So this was hard work, but the story as always was gripping with JA, and then the end, I thought perhaps I had fallen asleep and missed a large part of the story, but no, it was just a pathetic ending. Sorry Jeffery you can do much better.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Penny Lambert
  • 06-07-19

ONLY 4 🌟 !!! NO Ending!!!

Great Story, Great Narration, Well Written!!
But, OMG! Jeffrey Archer what were you thinking 💭??? There is NO ENDING!!!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • TheKasper
  • 06-02-22

Really good.

In my opinion Archer's best one to date. Good one to read before getting into the Chronicles.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 18-01-22

Amazing Story

Brilliant. Entertaining. Suspenseful.
As always, one of the best reads, holding reader captive in snowball fashion right down to the last page, with sadness and happiness and much surprise

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • brenda f.
  • 25-06-21

Excellent listening. Thorough enjoyable

The story was well written. The reading was very well done. Definitely worth a listen

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • MAJ Gorfin
  • 12-05-19

confusing

whilst I love the usual Jeffery archer books I found this highly confusing and hard to listen to probably better in a paperback. its plot about two exiles was quite clever but you really had to concentrate on the different plots

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Elzannevdw
  • 29-03-19

Frustrating

Had me gripped all the way through... and then the ending... how absolutely frustrating to be left with no hint of an explanation

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  • Priya S
  • 24-02-19

Amazing beyond words!

A book that’s confusing in the beginning to say the least, and then becomes so gripping as the reader accepts that there are two parallel lives being lived, realising fully that one of them isn’t real, finding it difficult to decide which one, and then comes the slap on the face when one hears the last sentence!!!

Awesome story, great narration! Jeffrey Archer’s fans cannot ask for more!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-12-18

poor

expected a lot , but a pastiche of kane and able, prisoner of birth repackaged cant help feeling you have heard it before.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • 10-11-18

Great story. You’ll need a note book.

They’ll be much scrolling backwards and forwards in this great little story. I rewound the ‘sliding doors’ moment [not a spoiler, it’s on the cover of the book] to see what I’d missed... turns out I hadn’t and it is just a little confusing (it was googling the cover of the book that helped me understand it). This then isn’t helped by Sasha, Alex, Alexander and determining which one is which. So if you have a notebook to jot down the names (& what the nicknames are and how they appear to be interchangeable) it will be a great story! Or maybe it’s just me and everyone else will be able to follow just fine? ;-)

16 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs. K. Sowden
  • 30-11-18

Ridiculous story beautifully read

The only reason I gave this 3 stars is because of Richard Armitage's performance which was flawless. The story itself starts off well but soon deteriorates. It's so far fetched as to be idiotic and the last great "reveal" was blindingly obvious almost from the beginning. The story flows poorly with great jumps, underdeveloped stories and characters. Mostly it was ok and filled the time but the ending was truly rubbish.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-11-18

Excellent

Another well written thriller that deserves a sequel! Gripping, realistic and very believable. I must listen to it again.

13 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs
  • 19-11-18

Disapointing

I'm so disappointed. I have Listened to all of Jeffrey Archers Books and I have loved them all, til now. Without spoiling the plot, except to say you need to realise that, quite near the beginning, the story splits into two different realities, which is absolutely fine and then it all trundles along very nicely but just nicely. So you just keep waiting for the big ending, you know it will be good, it's Jeffrey Archer, of course it'll be good but NO, the ending was so incredibly weak. I felt like it was a Bobby Ewing in the shower kind of ending and I felt let down by this author who I really am a huge fan of. Maybe if it was a book by someone I'd never read or heard of I wouldn't have had such a strong reaction but it's definitely not up to Mr Archer's usual standard , by a long way.Sorry

10 people found this helpful

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  • Amanda
  • 17-11-18

Wonderful - as usual!

Jeffrey Archer always writes about things he has knowledge about and this is no exception, drawing from his time in politics. The characters are very real if somewhat devious in some cases, and I don't want to give anything away but the ending is not what I thought it would be, but maybe the only ending it could be.

This is the story of what happened to one person and the choice they made and how the alternative choice would have affected their life so is in fact the story of two people in parallel worlds, one in America and the other in England. It is read as superbly as it is written and grips the reader from beginning to the very end. A wonderful book again Jeffrey Archer!

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • long playing record
  • 11-11-18

Excellent

Fast moving, gripping book within classic archer style. You have to concentrate though as lots of characters. I did really enjoy it but did struggle at times with the two parallel story lines. Great read

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • kabs
  • 18-11-18

not his best

same story as his previous books boring plots, it's just a regurgitated mix of the older books

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Vivian Zems
  • 13-11-18

Confusing

I've read Archer's books for years on end and was rather baffled by this. The parallel/alternative story lines were so confusing I was left exhausted. I still don't get the ending and I'm left thinking ' Wait..what...huh?' Sadly, I'll be requesting a refund.
if anyone out there understands the ending, please enlighten me!
ps- you might require a pen and notebook just to keep up with who is who and who is where!

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • I. D. Hall-white
  • 11-12-18

Tails - Archer looses

In my humble opinion ... the book is not up to Archer's standard. shades of situations I seem to have seen before. Not really bad but certainly not as good as his previous books.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jade-Marie
  • 23-11-18

Very Jeffrey

So it's very JF! same old base line including a bank a rise in politics. A good sliding doors concept but not really followed through. A strange ending that didn't really combine or tie up loose ends.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Hugh
  • 16-11-18

Clifton Chronicles Revisited

I have to say that there are not a lot of original ideas in this story. I have been. Jeffrey Archer fan for more than 30 years. To be honest, if you have read / listened to the Clifton Chronicles this story seems like an abridged version.
If you have not read all of Archer’s previous works, this would be a great story.

2 people found this helpful

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  • rosemary mitchell
  • 26-04-19

Same old same old

Rags to riches, again. Can Jeffrey archer write a different theme? Same old characters, same old story.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Vasileios Chronopoulos
  • 04-12-22

What an amazing story

Jeffrey Archer tells the best stories.
The definition of page turner. It costed me a nights sleep but it was worth it!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Brian J.
  • 27-01-22

Long road to a punchline

I enjoyed the opening of this book, and the escape for Russia and the reason for it, but the twin lives of Alex/Sascha served little purpose to the ultimate plotline, which essentially was a long and elaborate set up to a punchline, which unfortunately, I saw coming.

That said, those last two words of the book that deliver the punchline did land like a punch to the solar plexus, even though I saw it coming. It was dramatic and sensory, and some reward for the 12 hours of fairly disinterested listening I endured to get there.

Sometimes, experiences can only truly be had, or enjoyed fully, because of the time it takes you to get there. Somewhat worth it, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-09-21

Parallel lives but which one in the end?

SLIGHT SPOILER

I loved the different storyline’s based on the crates- would the UK or USA have been the better choice for Alexander and Eleanor?

Politics, business and war are woven in well but both versions, Alex and Sasha are credible. The plot twist at the end was contrived and forced and I believe totally unnecessary. The same effect could have been achieved within the integrity of the parallel lives.

Richard Armitage's narration is what drew me to this title and he did not disappoint. His vocal range and easy style make him a pleasure to listen to.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ross Chapman
  • 17-12-20

Good story

Great narration, but I did get a bit confused between the two parallel separate stories.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Eachan Harrison
  • 03-09-19

Well performed but the story was a bit confusing!

Richard Armitage did an excellent job but I don't think it's Jeffrey Archer's best work!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • carole martin
  • 01-09-19

Fantastic

Thoroughly enjoyed and I did enjoy the story and the reade so can recommend it

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-08-19

Twists and turns.

Amazing twists and turns. Fascinating story. Loved they way the story takes you through life in St Petersburg, New York and London. A great read/ listen

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • book lover
  • 10-07-19

Another great story

I loved this book. I especially liked how Jeffrey brought in characters from other books. The twist at the end was great.