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Only Time Will Tell (The Clifton Chronicles #1)

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  51,535 Ratings  ·  4,306 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

Hardcover, 400 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by St. Martin's Press (first published May 12th 2011)
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Sep 02, 2011 Tina rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 09, 2011 RJ rated it did not like it
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
Sep 12, 2011 Shruti rated it it was amazing
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
helen the bookowl
Jan 25, 2017 helen the bookowl rated it liked it
Apparently, this is a bestseller - a book that loads of people around the world have devoured. And I get why that is because it is a pretty straight-forward, easily read story about several families, several destinies and several points of view that entwine. Especially the beginning of this historical family saga had me intrigued because it tells enchantingly about these three boys and their struggles on a boarding school.
However, as my reading progressed the story became more and more redundan
Jul 29, 2014 Dem rated it liked it
Only Time Will Tell (The Clifton Chronicles) by Jeffrey Archer was an enjoyable book.

I listened to this book and the narrator was really good and very well suited to the story.

I really enjoy family sagas and this was no exception with its well formed characters, a flowing and twisting tale and a little social history to keep the reader entertained.

This book reminded me a little of Downton Abbey and I think readers who enjoyed that series will really enjoy the clifton Chronicles.

I was a little di
Dec 05, 2011 Jerry rated it really liked it
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
May 10, 2012 Wanda rated it it was ok
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
Oct 14, 2016 Chrissie rated it it was ok
First of all, let me state clearly that two stars means I think this book is OK! Whether you should read it or not ought to depend upon your mood and what you are looking for. It is not poorly written and will satisfy those readers who love series, love adventure stories, love plot-oriented books and love solving a puzzle. What kind of a puzzle? You know in fact very early on who the central character's father is, but what keeps you reading is to discover how the author is going to weave togethe ...more
I loved Harry's story of love, loyalty, strife, friendship and his persistence for excellence. Jeffrey Archer hits it out of the park with this epic tale of a young boy trying, with the help of his friends and family, to make his life something no less than extraordinary. What an excellent beginning to a wonderful adventure. I am definitely going to start immediately with book two that covers Harry's young adult life. The narratives by both, Roger Allam and Emilia Fox were spot on and helped to ...more
Jun 26, 2016 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this. Archer did such a great job in setting up a solid story while creating memorable characters. So excited to get to the rest in this series... one benefit to waiting so long to start this series is not having to wait for the next book. Happy dance!
“Some people stand by you in your darkest hour, while others walk away; only a select few march toward you and become even closer friends.”
Rohit Enghakat
Feb 21, 2017 Rohit Enghakat rated it really liked it
As usual, the master story teller weaves a beautiful story about the lives of two boys, Harry Clifton and Giles Barrington who become fast friends in school. The book is about two families, Cliftons and Barringtons who live at the two extremes of the social strata. All the characters in the book are interesting, especially the soldier Jack Tarrant, who takes charge of Harry Clifton's life guiding him and playing his mentor. This is a story of friendship, sacrifice and love.

Need to pick up the 2n
“Some people stand by you in your darkest hour, while others walk away; only a select few march toward you and become even closer friends.”

“Only Time Will Tell” – to say I enjoyed reading this first book in the Clifton Chronicles would be an understatement. Jeffrey Archer is a master storyteller: Clean, captivating writing; clever interwoven plot(s); and well-developed characters of great distinction. Whether loved or despised, I was fully entranced by, and invested in each character’s history,
Jan 09, 2013 Anupriya rated it it was ok
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
Nov 28, 2015 ☮Karen rated it liked it
3.5 stars The ending was a cliffhanger which ticks me off.

I am always hesitant to start another series, but I've heard such great praise for The Clifton Chronicles, that when "Only Time Will Tell," the first in the series, was offered as a free ebook, I snatched it up. Plus the rest of the series is available from my library on OverDrive, so I definitely plan to continue on. With that cliffhanger, do I have a choice?

It's a wonderful cast of characters, reminiscent (IMO) of Peyton Place, and I ho
Dec 25, 2014 Phrynne rated it liked it
I read this on my husband 's recommendation. He really enjoyed it and went on to read the next in the series. I liked it but not as much. I was not comfortable with the way the wedding was handled and thought the whole thing was melodramatic. I also found the way so many miscellaneous adults were working behind the scenes to make sure the young Harry achieved his destiny was unrealistic and overdone. On the other hand the book was well written, some of the characters we're very well done and I f ...more
Eddie Owens
Feb 27, 2017 Eddie Owens rated it liked it
I grew up reading the early novels and I haven't read any for a long time.

But, it's just as I remember, Archer is a very good story teller.

He doesn't waste time on literary affectations such as unwieldy metaphors or lengthy character descriptions: the goodies are always good and the baddie is always bad.

The characters are a bit stereotypical but it has always been that way with Archer.

Easy to read and passes the time.

I enjoyed it and will carry on reading the rest of the series.

Jan 31, 2013 Wayne rated it it was amazing
Having retired two 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 Berenson,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 trilo ...more
Feb 01, 2014 Dana rated it it was amazing

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

Decidi ler este livro precisamente por não ter encontrado opiniões (infelizmente e injustamente pouco falado!) e além disto fui atraído pela luz da sinopse! E, qual o meu espanto,fui completamente engolido logo nas primeiras vagas do livro e fui ficando cada vez mais extasiado com os capítulos seguintes, querendo mais e mais, e ao mesmo tempo não querendo avançar depressa, só para estar por mais tempo com os personagens excepcionais.
Não quero resumir a história, caberá aos leitores de escavar a
Jul 31, 2011 Matt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
Jeffrey Archer at his finest, beginning a heptalogy sure to entertain throughout. Harry Clifton comes from a poor family, where every benefit is earned and each hardship a hurdle. When he meets Giles Barrington he soon forges a life-long friendship, even if they come from different social circles. Clifton forges ahead to make a name for himself, while living under the shadow of never having met his father. While Clifton presumes Arthur Clifton died on the battlefields, the truth is known to a se ...more
Jan 11, 2017 Dave rated it really liked it
Shelves: jeffrey-archer
Reading this for the second time!... It is a very interesting tale of life with many reasonable twists and turns beginning with the main characters starting out around age 4 and moving through their lives. By the end of this book things can go many ways depending on what happens next. This book takes you across the entire gambit of hopes and dreams, excitements and disappointments , A bit of mystery and a lot of honor! I highly highly recommend this book and this series as it follows the lives o ...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Nov 29, 2016 BAM The Bibliomaniac rated it really liked it
Typical masterful Archer and what's more-it's book one of a seven-book series! Clifton is our hero, a charming choir boy born on the wrong side of the tracks who wins a scholarship and attends a swanky British public school. Surprise: point-of-view change about, oh, 5 times, so one hears the same portions of the story but blanks are filled in as the story progresses (I really enjoyed this approach). He goes to oxford, the Grand Tour, joins the Navy, and then he's faced with a grave decision. BOO ...more
Weston Kincade
Nov 30, 2011 Weston Kincade rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Maya Khan
Jun 01, 2012 Maya Khan rated it it was ok
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
Lewis Weinstein
Aug 25, 2012 Lewis Weinstein rated it really liked it
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
Nov 06, 2015 Patrizia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Irgendwie hat es mir diesmal viel besser gefallen 😉
Dale Harcombe
Mar 16, 2014 Dale Harcombe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
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
Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
11/2/15: Currently free on Audible when you purchase the kindle book which is still free!



If you go to the Amazon page, you should be able to purchase the book and add audible narration at the same time.

10/31/15: Currently free on Amazon
Feb 21, 2012 Lawrence rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-cd, library
This was a very good book and I'm excited about the next book of this series. If you like Jeffrey Archer, then you will like this book and series.
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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 about Jeffrey Archer...

Other Books in the Series

The Clifton Chronicles (7 books)
  • The Sins of the Father (The Clifton Chronicles, #2)
  • Best Kept Secret (The Clifton Chronicles, #3)
  • Be Careful What You Wish For (The Clifton Chronicles, #4)
  • Mightier Than the Sword (The Clifton Chronicles, #5)
  • Cometh the Hour (The Clifton Chronicles, #6)
  • This Was a Man (The Clifton Chronicles, #7)

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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.” 230 likes
“If you make a deal with a fool, don't be surprised when they act foolishly.” 62 likes
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