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Only Time Will Tell (The Clifton Chronicles) Mass Market Paperback – February 28, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: The Clifton Chronicles (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; Reprint edition (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312539568
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312539566
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,778 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for

JEFFREY ARCHER

One of the top ten storytellers in the world. (Los Angeles Times)

There isn't a better story-teller alive. (Larry King)

Archer plots with skill, and keeps you turning the pages. (The Boston Globe)

Cunning plots, silken style…. Archer plays a cat-and-mouse game with the reader. (The New York Times)

Archer is a master entertainer. (Time)

A storyteller in the class of Alexandre Dumas…unsurpassed skill. (Washington Post)

And his novels

SHALL WE TELL THE PRESIDENT?

Outrageous and top-notch terror. (Vogue)

The only difference between this book and The Day of the Jackal is that Archer is a better writer. (Chicago Tribune)

Authentic, literate, and scary. (Cosmopolitan)

The countdown is the thing; the pace, the pursuit, the what-next, the how-is-it-going-to-come-out… (Boston Globe)

Holds the reader in a vicelike grip. (Penthouse)

A PRISONER OF BIRTH

A compelling read. (Newsday)

Dynamite…plot twists and a slam-bang finale. (The Washington Post)

Thoroughly enjoyable. (Publishers Weekly)

"Compulsively readable." (Library Journal)

Gripping. (The Vancouver Sun)

An exercise in wish fulfillment. The good may suffer, but the bad will get theirs in the end. The fun is watching it unfold. (St. Petersburg Times (Florida))

CAT O'NINE TALES

The economy and precision of Archer's prose never fails to delight. The criminal doesn't always get away with his crime and justice doesn't always prevail, but the reader wins with each and every story. (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

FALSE IMPRESSION

A worthy successor to The Da Vinci Code. (Liz Smith, New York Post)

Archer is back in top form with [this] latest thriller. (Library Journal (starred review))

Thoroughly imagined...entertaining...thrilling. (Denver Post)

Murder and a high-stakes art-world theft are cleverly blended [in this] exciting...global thrill-ride. (Vancouver Sun)

Sail along from one high crime to the next....Archer is a great plotter....[and] in the middle of the action, [he] drops research gems. (Liz Smith, New York Post)

From the Back Cover

The first novel in the Clifton Chronicles, an ambitious new series that tells the story of a family across generations and oceans, from heartbreak to triumph, from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jeffrey Archer


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 worker in Bristol, Harry never knew his father and expects to continue on at the shipyard, until a remarkable gift wins him a scholarship to an exclusive boys' school, and his life will never be the same again...


"If there were a nobel prize for storytelling, Archer would win."--Daily Telegraph (London)


As Harry enters into adulthood, he finally learns how his father really died, but the awful truth only leads him to question: Was he even his father? Is he the son of Arthur Clifton, a stevedore, or the firstborn son of a scion of West Country society, whose family owns a shipping line? From the ravages of the Great War and the docks of working-class England to the streets of 1940 New York City and the outbreak of the Second World War, this is a powerful journey that will bring to life one hundred years of history to reveal a family story that neither the reader nor Harry Clifton himself could ever have imagined.



"Archer is a master entertainer."--Time

Customer Reviews

Once started his books can't be put down until the end.
charlotte winkler
The Characters are all well developed by Archer with very interesting stories of their own.
Thomas Grover
To my surprise, "Only Time Will Tell" is nothing like any CD books I have "read" before.
Dom Miliano

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

327 of 346 people found the following review helpful By Susan Johnson VINE VOICE on July 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I love to read a good family saga. I used to eagerly read Susan Howatch before moving on to Edward Rutherford and the "Forsyte Saga". I love watching a family evolve through the years. This book has the earmarks of a great series.
The story revolves around the Cliftons, a lower class family of dock workers who have a son of exceptional talents, and the Barringtons, a wealthy family whose children seem remarkably decent and grounded. Harry Clifton, the son, has an outstanding voice that offers him a way to better himself through a scholarship to a fine school. Even with his talent, it takes a village to give him the tools to win the scholarship. The book tells the story from various character viewpoints so you can see the help given to young Clifton.
I was so surprised to read the reviews talking about it being the first book in a series like it was a big deal. There are so many series out there that it shouldn't come as such a shock. Lee Child has his Reacher, Bernard Cornwell has his Uhtred and Diana Gabaldon has Jamie and Claire. If you don't like waiting for the next book then wait until the entire series is out. Otherwise just relax and enjoy yourself.
Jeffrey Archer is a skilled story teller. The story moves right along and it is hard to put down. He's like John Grisham- not the most skilled writer but a great story teller. I read this at a fast rate and enoyed every moment of it. I found it to be a fun read.
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128 of 135 people found the following review helpful By Billy Hollis VINE VOICE on June 16, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I picked this book up on a recent trip, during a connection through London, where it's already published. (I don't really have the Kindle edition, I have a softcover, but Amazon doesn't allow reviews for any edition except Kindle as I write this.)

I've read so much fiction in my life that only pretty good writing will hold my interest. This is high quality writing with quite good characterization.

The viewpoint of the story switches among the main characters. Each section for a character starts off with a first-person narrative, and then switches to a traditional third-person narrative for that character.

This results in overlap. It's common to see the same timeline covered from multiple viewpoints. That's tricky writing to pull off, but Archer is a pro, so he does it pretty well.

The era is early twentieth century, between the World Wars and leading up to World War II. It's clear that WWII will play a big part in the entire story, and in fact it begins just as this book ends.

The protagonist is from a lower class family, and the early part of the book covers his attempts to rise via his education.

The plot is fairly predictable. There are a few twists that I didn't see, but the broad outline became clear early on. I was still engaged enough with the characters to want to see the story through.

And that leads to the biggest criticism: as other reviewers have noted, this is just the beginning of a series. The end of the book leaves all of the major plot elements unresolved. So if you like your fiction to contain a story wrapped up neatly in a bow at the end, you probably ought to avoid this one until the story is all published. However, if you can let the unresolved elements sit for a while until the rest is published, then this would be a fine summer reading choice.
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99 of 110 people found the following review helpful By Susan Tunis TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Remember decades ago when Jeffrey Archer used to write those fantastic epics? Kane & Able, As the Crow Flies; that's what I'm talking about! Here's the good news: His latest novel, Only Time Will Tell harkens back to his glory days. It's the most entertaining thing he's written in years, in my humble opinion. Here's the bad news: What once would have been a juicy epic tale has fallen victim to the publishing industry's current trend of trilogizing. (New word. I coined it.)

Except, except, this is NOT a trilogy--this is, in fact, the first of the FIVE planned novels that will comprise The Clifton Chronicles. And as entertaining as the book is, and I'll get back to that in a moment, this is very annoying. Back in the day, you write an epic, it's 600 or 800 or even 1,000 pages. James Michener did it. James Clavell did it. And, yes, Jeffrey Archer did it. But in the very recent past, some marketing genius realized that you could get readers to pay a lot more for a long book by chopping it into pieces. Maybe pad the text a little, and leave some white space on the pages. What once might have been an 800-page novel is now three 300-page novels. It is the era of the trilogy. And writers don't even have to worry about writing in story arcs to end each segment. No, just end them wherever--or even better, end on cliff-hanger! And don't warn readers that they're only getting a very incomplete portion of the story they signed on to read! And make them wait years to get to the conclusion!

Sorry, was I ranting? It's true that Mr. Archer (Sir Jeffrey?) and his publishers are guilty of most of my complaints above. For instance, this novel ends very abruptly, with no sort of resolution at all, on a cliff-hanger. So, yes, this new trend is really bugging me.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book by bestselling author Jeffrey Archer is excellent. The story grips readers who become emotionally involved with its characters. This is volume one of The Clifton Chronicles. When readers finish it, they will look forward with eagerness to see what happens to Harry Clifton.

The opening chapters of the adventure, in the 1920s and 1930s, tells the same events from the perspectives of several different people, each adding or changing what had been told before, and thereby deepening the understanding of the events and the people involved. This style had been used effectively before by William Faulkner in The Sound and the Fury - who people call "the greatest author the US South produced" - and by the editors of the four New Testament Gospels, where each Gospel writer revisits what the others told, with changes, deepening the readers' interest and understanding.

The story hangs on the mystery of Harry Clifton's parentage: who was his father? This mystery, in turn, creates others. What difference does it make who Harry's father is? What happened to Harry's mother's husband? Why do people keep her husband's whereabouts secret? If the mystery of Harry's parentage is not resolved, will it destroy his life?

We read about the extraordinary sacrifices of Harry's mother. She is poor. She is determined that Harry will get schooling, even though she lacks money to pay for the schooling, and even though someone is repeatedly sabotaging her efforts. We read about the very rich Barrington family, the grandfather who is a paragon of goodness, his son Hugo who is clearly evil, and his grandchildren Giles and Emma, and the strong positive emotional feelings that the two have toward Harry.
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Only Time Will Tell (The Clifton Chronicles)
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