Only Time Will Tell (The Clifton Chronicles, #1)
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Only Time Will Tell (The Clifton Chronicles #1)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  20,395 ratings  ·  2,442 reviews

From the internationally bestselling author of Kane and Abel and A Prisoner of Birth comes Only Time Will Tell, the first in an ambitious new series that tells the story of one family across generations, across oceans, from heartbreak to triumph.

The epic tale of Harry Clifton’s life begins in 1920, with the words “I was told that my father was killed in the war.” A dock w

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Hardcover, 400 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by St. Martin's Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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Tina
I haven't read Jeffrey Archer for years, and now I wonder why. This new series featuring Harry Clifton, son of a dockworker (or is he the son of an upper crust owner of a huge shipping line?), and his climb through the British public school system is going to be a delight if this first one of five is any indication. Make no mistake, this is not a Pulitzer, but it is good, solid storytelling, with bold characters, a world wide setting, and a story that has enough twists, turns, and sneaky heart-s...more
RJ
Sometimes you read a book everyone else seems to loveLoveLOVE and then wonder if you bought the same book everyone else did because as far as you're concerned, it stank. For me, that would be this book.
The author goes to great lengths to convince us that yes, the Main Character is indeed a brilliant child/man with unseen depths and superb intellect. We must believe this because of the great lengths other characters go to ensure that the Main Character has the means to build on his future, and th...more
Jerry
This saga is the first in what is to be at least a three-book set (quite possibly more) entitled the Clifton Chronicles, centered around the character Harry Clifton. Relatively plotless, the story was however so engaging it was difficult to put down, with the interesting technique of revealing the tale little by little from different character's points of view. We hear from Harry's mother Maisie, his best friend Giles, Gile's sister Emma, Gile's father Hugo, Harry's friend "Old Jack", and from H...more
Shruti
What a fantastic book. Not just in plot, but in nuance too. This was the first book I read by Jeffrey Archer, but I have every intention of reading many more after this one.

This book is set up so that each section is from one person's perspective. Harry, Maisie, Jack Tar, Hugo, Giles and Emma all get a section. (Harry gets the first and last section. Maisie gets an extra few pages in the prologue.) Sounds like a common set up, but here is where it gets really interesting: each section starts wi...more
Wanda
It is very frustrating to assign stars on GR. Seems to me that "It's ok" should be smack in the middle followed by "I liked it" and "I loved it." This book was OK. Average. Predictable but entertaining beach read or exercise, driving story. I listented to it and it made my 3 miles on the treadmill bearable and that is what I want in an audiobook. It was well written because Archer is incapable of writing poorly. My major beef is that we get to the end AND IT JUST STOPS. I realize that there are...more
Dana

This book now has a spot in my top 100 reads of all time. Going into this I didn't think that I would like it. It was so different from what I usually read. However I am very glad that I went ahead and read this! I loved this book so much. It is so dear to my heart. I honestly have no complaints about this book. That may seem hard to believe but it's true.

Every character was well thought out and interesting. They each held their own in their chapters and I actually liked them all equally(apart f...more
Maya Khan
I thought it was one of those books which you'd want to look in the eyes and say "seriously?" until I learned that it was a part of a trilogy, Archer is a great writer, I love his effortless flow, diction and that unique style. But I found none of those in this book. It was gripping nevertheless yet it lacked a smooth flow through the plot.

There were some instances which i felt were outright silly eg the one where old jack waits until harry's wedding day to reveal the truth and call off the wed...more
Wayne
Having retired to years ago, I took up reading, and have averaged one novel a week. The authors I enjoy include Vince Flynn, Lee Child, John Grisham, David Baldacci, Brad Thor, Daniel Silva, Nelson DeMille, Alex Berenwon,Steve Martini, Joel Rosenberg, and Robert Ludlum. In December 2012, I read my first Jeffrey Archer novel and am now hooked. He is the best story teller I have read in the past two years. I loved Honor Among Thieves, Sons of Fortune, and Prisoner of Birth. However, his new trilog...more
Weston Kincade
I must say that much of this story reminded me of Great Expectations by Dickens; however, this was not because Archer writes in any way as lengthy and detailed as Dickens. Archer's story was quite detailed, painting the story in your mind so as to bring Harry and his friends to life. Even the villains are so human that their known lies are reasonable and make you second guess whether they might be such horrible people. But, the honorable Old Jack and other participants in Harry's life leave no d...more
Dale Harcombe
This was my first Jeffrey Archer novel and I won it as a First Reads Giveaway. I enjoyed the story of Harry Clifton, his mother Maisie and the Barrington family. The story is told from several viewpoints from Harry Clifton, Maisie Clifton, Hugo Barrington (who is an utter mongrel), Harry’s friend Old Jack Tar, Giles and Emma Barrington (children of Hugo) before reverting back to Harry at the end. Telling the story from several points of view like this, means that at times the details overlap. Us...more
Anupriya
First, the good things about this book: It makes for a good read as it keeps you hooked throughout, with a cliff hanging suspense at the end of every chapter. I think I finished it in record time, considering I am a slow reader.

But seriously? It felt like I was reading a soap opera.

It was outright pushy and juvenile in its style of writing as the author tries so hard, rather too hard, to prove how the main character is exceptionally brilliant, a child prodigy and how the entire town of Bristol...more
Brenda
Harry Clifton thought the world of his mother, Maisie – he knew she struggled as a single mother. His father had been killed in the Great War he had been told, and he and his mother lived together in a small house in Bristol with his Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Stan. His Uncle Stan worked down at the docks and Harry would wag school on a daily basis to go to the shipyard and watch the shipping and all the activities that went on there. He wanted to work there too when he was old enough.

But Maisi...more
Sanhita
Jeffrey Archer is a master story-teller, he has proved it time and again(barring his Prison diaries, of course). Keeping with that the book starts and you are hooked!
Having said that, I have a few observations to make.
When an author publishes the first book if he has already planned it will be a series (or do the authors always decide it that way? Who knows! I am just a reader!), is that likely to have an impact on the book/books till you come to an end! However he has written a trilogy already,...more
Bijith MB
This novel belongs to the master craftsman Jeffry Archer. Every chapter, every sentence screams his style. His proven skill in handling vast plot and story spread in long time frame is at peak in this. Though the story spread through around 100 years, not even a single page of it was boring. The gripping narrative makes it a real non-put-down-able book.

The style of writing is fresh. Every book starts with the diary of a character, and then moves ahead with his / her life and blends with the inci...more
Laura
I'm a big fan of sweeping, multi-generational, decade-spanning novels. I love learning about the life and loves of a particular character and those people that mean the most to him. Jeffery Archer is one of the authors that made me love this genre. And he has certainly done it again with Only Time Will Tell.

Only Time Will Tell is the story of Harry Clifton. Clifton comes from a very modest home and humble beginnings. All along, people around him can tell that there's something special about...more
Leanne Hunt
Contrary to expectation, I found this book disappointing. I was hoping for a fast-paced story with an intricate plot, and instead had to plough through the same events repeated several times over for three-quarters of the novel. Admittedly, the author's style is easy to read and his characters well-developed. Yet the overall impression was of going over the same ground again and again, like a detective searching for clues. Evidently it mattered hugely whether Harry was Hugo Barrington's son or n...more
Lisarenee
Notes: I won this one in the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.


"Some people standby you in your darkest hour while others walk away; only a select few march towards you and become even closer friends."

Harry Clifton may not have much, but in some ways he's rich. He has great friends and a loving mom. This is the story of his life, from start to what I'm guessing will eventually be his end. You can't help but fall in love with Harry. He's smart, kind, and almost everyone who meets him likes him insta...more
Vinit Nair
A pentalogy is certainly a first for Jeffrey Archer but it is not going to disappoint the fans. I am going to write a really short review here avoiding all the spoilers because I know many people have not yet read this book. Only Time Will Tell is a first part of the five in Clifton Chronicles. It is said to be the most ambitious project by Mr. Archer revolving around the life of Harry Clifton and his adventures between 1920 and 2020. In the first book the story goes till the second world war. (...more
Lewis Weinstein
Archer has the great gift of being able to write very complex stories - with many characters, changing points of view, important historical background, and repeated surprises - and keep the whole thing under his total control. I felt complete confidence that Archer had command of the story at every stage, right up until the last of many shocking events, which of course sets the stage for the next book in this family saga. This is a fairly long book which I nevertheless read straight through on a...more
Abhinav
A page-turner throughout but one with a plot that is marred by far too many loopholes unconvincingly plugged. Early indications of this being a sprawling epic saga a la "Kane and Abel" left me a bit disappointed with the overall outcome but an unexpected twist in the end ensures I have been left with no choice but to read "Sins of the Father", the second instalment of the Clifton Chronicles.

3 to 3.5 stars.
Srividya
Another wonderful masterpiece from the master story teller. After having read several other books this month, each from a different genre, I realised it was time for a good old fashioned fiction by my favourite author. When picking up this book to read, I had doubts in my mind, especially after not enjoying some of his latest books However, I need not have worried as the master is back and back with a bang with this series.

The first book of the series titled, The Clifton Chronicles, this book an...more
Parvathy
This book reminded me why Jeffrey Archer is one of my favourite authors. It is because he has the ability to create lives with paper and ink. In a way I will say that he is like a magician conjuring up characters out of thin air keeping the audiences entranced or in this case it is the readers. But having said that I would also like to add that keeping in mind all the characters that Jeffrey Archer has introduced over the years Harry Clifton has to be my least favourite.

His story is something w...more
Martin Pemberton
Classic Jeffrey Archer; First in a five part series to be written over the next four years. Tale of a young man, Harry Clifton, being born to a lower class family and achieving success by hard work and determination. Harry's paternity is being challenged, and being that the book takes place pre-WWII, there are no tests available to confirm or deny who Harry's father is. Many characters throughout the book; Jeffrey "introduces" each character by a narrative written from the character's point-of-v...more
Matt
Jeffrey Archer at his finest. We return to the Archer I know and love, with a tale that (I hear at the end of the book) is the first of a five book saga, spanning generations. The book reminded me a little of Follett's idea for his Century series, or even Rutherfurd's usually multi-generational series (is the the UKers who have mastered this art?) but there are dramatic differences.

As Archer mentions in the post-book interview (for us audiobook addicts), the story is basically 7 narrators tellin...more
Nandu
Well!! -bewarned that this is the first of a Trilogy by J.Archer (guess it is his first)---wait a moment -- its a Pentology ..
Looks like Pento/trilogy is in fashion these days, where you have a captive audience and then you get them up to the sinker and then haul them all up at the end.
J.Archer has definitely a story to tell, that may well span across,I suspect,half a century. He starts out from the Pre WW2 era in Britain and a fatherless boy (at least not in the near vicinity) who is gifted and...more
Lucinda
A hugely ambitious work by international bestselling author

The epic tale of Harry Clifton is an impressive feat that takes you on an unforgettable journey, spanning across the Great War and through to the Second World War. What struck me instantly was how the simply sublime storytelling was founded on pure genius, so evocatively realised by a masterful writer. Harry’s tale is profoundly powerful, touching and so enthralling that it really gets ‘underneath your skin’. When tragedy struck and une...more
Tanja Berg
I'm almost inclined to deduct a second star for the ending - that was an annoying cliffhanger of the worst sort! All in all I enjoyed this a lot though. It's a very typical coming-of age story, but it's told through multiple perspectives and the tension and forward-movement is strong throughout.

Harry is a little boy who never knew his father. He's been told Arthur Clifton died in the war (first world war), although that ended long before Harry was born. Whether that man actually was Harry's fath...more
Violet
I rate this book 4.5.
I have to say i didn't expect it to be as unputdownable as it was.
It tells the story of Harry Clifton, the son of Maisie and Arthur Clifton- or so he thought. No one would tell him about his father and they tended to be silent or change the topic when ever Harry brought it up.In fact there were only 3 people who actually know how his father actually died. When he becomes best friends with Giles Barrington, he has no idea that he could be something more. With the twists and...more
Susanne
I always thought I should read something by Jeffrey Archer and now I have. The question is, will I ever read another? I was preparing to say 'no' when the stunning cliffhanger ending made me think I MIGHT pick up the sequel. This is billed as a family saga and the first volume follows the coming-of-age of a poor British lad in the 1920's who is better, brighter, nobler and more accomplished than anyone else and who is watched over by a fairy godmother (well godfather in this case) who bails him...more
Dorit
I won Only Time Will Tell in a Goodreads giveaway. Jeffrey Archer is a consummate story teller and I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

The book is the first in a trilogy and and tells the story of Harry Clifton from his birth in 1920 until the beginning of the second world war.

Young Harry believes his father, a dock worker, was killed in the first world war, but was he? Was he even Harry's father? As Harry grows up he has the good fortune to win a scholarship to an exclusive...more
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Jeffrey Howard Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare (born 15 April 1940) is an English author and former politician.

He was a Member of Parliament and deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, and became a life peer in 1992. His political career, having suffered several controversies, ended after a conviction for perverting the course of justice and his subsequent imprisonment. He is married...more
More about Jeffrey Archer...
Kane and Abel (Kane and Abel, #1) Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less The Prodigal Daughter (Kane & Abel, #2) A Prisoner of Birth The Sins of the Father (The Clifton Chronicles, #2)

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“Some people standby you in your darkest hour while others walk away; only a select few march towards you and become even closer friends.” 141 likes
“If you make a deal with a fool, don't be surprised when they act foolishly.” 37 likes
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