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Best Kept Secret (The Clifton Chronicles) Hardcover – April 30, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 2,212 customer reviews
Book 3 of 5 in the Clifton Chronicles Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. An artful blend of colorful characters, seething resentment, calculated revenge, and a shocking, tragic cliffhanger distinguishes Archer's third volume of The Clifton Chronicles. Picking up where The Sins of the Father left off, readers discover whether Giles Barrington or Harry Clifton will inherit the late Hugo Barrington's fortune. Harry becomes a successful novelist and marries his true love Emma Barrington; they adopt a daughter with a secret past to join their son Sebastian. Poor smitten, likeable Giles, fighting for his political life as a member of Parliament, is lovesick for the scheming, vindictive Lady Virginia, whom he marries. Sensing disaster, on her death bed Lady Elizabeth Barrington writes Lady Virginia out of the will, prompting the unpopular Lady Virginia to enlist Giles' nemesis, Major Alex Fisher, as she plots her way to the Barrington fortune. Sebastian becomes a young man, sowing his wild oats and naively getting mixed up with a school chum's nefarious father and his sketchy business. Business-savvy Emma earns a college degree, intending to join the family shipping empire. Archer provides a pitch-perfect continuation of the Clifton family saga; his shrewd twists and turns are addictive from the get-go, and he stuns with his signature series sign-off, a cliffhanger leaving readers longing for its resolution. (May)

From Booklist

Archer’s epic-sized family saga, the Clifton Chronicles, continues in this third volume (following The Sins of the Father, 2012). It’s the 1950s, and Harry Clifton and his best friend (and possibly half-brother), Giles Barrington, are battling over who will inherit the estate and title of Hugo Barrington. The outcome of the battle sparks one of the book’s main story lines, which involves a shocking revelation in Hugo’s will and what that spells for Giles’ seemingly happy marriage and perhaps his career as a member of Parliament. Meanwhile, Harry, a best-selling author, has his own problems: his son is refused admission to a tony grammar school and soon gets mixed up in some unsavory goings-on. Running underneath everything is the story that forms the spine of the saga: the relationship between Harry and Giles, boyhood friends whose mutual affection is threatened by the demands of adulthood. No family saga would be complete without a villain, and this book has a good one, a well-drawn and believable character whose motivations are understandable. This thoroughly engaging old-school, multigenerational saga harks back to the work of Malcolm Macdonald, Belva Plain, and Irwin Shaw. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Archer has backed up a long-running track record for commercial fiction with a powerful social network, including 142,000 likes on Facebook. --David Pitt
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Product Details

  • Series: The Clifton Chronicles (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1st Us Edition edition (April 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 125000098X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250000989
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,212 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Camilla on April 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this book extremely disappointing. After the first book which was excellent, the second which was quite good - this third book in the series was not up to Mr Archer's standard at all - in my opinion. Endless pages on how the electorate works in the UK.... at times I also felt that bits of the text and definitely story-line had come from previous novels.... as an avid fan I did notice! This is not a spoiler - but I felt that the ending invited another book of the Clifton Chronicles some time in the future. I will not be buying it. Hopefully Mr Archer will return to writing stand-alone novels again and not drag out a story over three books which could have easily been written as one.....
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Jeffrey Archer scores again with another page-turning best-seller with the next book in the addictive Clifton Chronicles series. Archer is a consummate story teller and this series continues to display his skills in writing easy-reading and exciting family-based stories. If you have read the first books in the series this one is a must-read. If not you will still enjoy it but it would help if you are able to read the other books first.

Those of you who have read the first two books in the series will know that at the end of each one Archer leaves you with a cliff-hanger (I call them "Clifton" hangers) of an ending so you have to wait on tenterhooks for the next book in the series to be released find the answer. At the end of "Sins of the Father" a tied vote in the House of Lords on whether Harry Clifton or his best friend Giles Barrington inherits the Barrington title and property has been left to the Lord Chancellor to decide. All I can safely tell you is that the Lord Chancellor found this the most difficult decision in his career and he "would never admit, even to his closest confidant, that he changed his mind at the last moment."

Harry settles down to pursue a career as a best-selling detective novelist, while Emma goes in search of her illegitimate half-sister who was put into foster care when both her father and mother died after a fight. Giles Barrington pursues his career as Labour MP for Bristol with the slimmest of majorities.

As usual Archer adds a few baddies to spice up things. Among them are Alex Fisher, who bullied Giles and Harry at school and nearly got Giles killed at Tobruk, and Lady Virginia Fenwick - a beautiful, aristocratic, gold-digging control-freak.
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I am a huge Sir.Archer fan, but this book wasn't up to his standards. The first two parts of the Clifton Chronicles were amazing. The third was really good, for the most part.

===SPOILER===

Are we supposed to believe Harry and Emma would let Seb visit Eaton Square and Martinez home on his own after everything happened? Not even warn him? I thought we were dealing with smart people until that point.

The whole Argentinian saga seems frivolous, just so that another arch villain can be created that would involve Seb.

I was very disappointed. Not the usual Sir.Archer fare, I should admit.

If you have read the first two books, you should read it anyway, for continuity. I hope things get better with #4.
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I really liked the 1st two books in this series and was really excited to get the newest chronicle. This book leaves much to be desired. It is a good story as far as it goes, but it doesn't go very far. I could not believe how abruptly it ended! It was like starting a book, getting into the characters and plot only to find the last 50 pages are missing. I fear Archer is going the way of James Patterson: he used to write terrific books but now only seems to want to get them to the market. Archer needs to work on his cliff-hanger skills. I will read the next book in this series but I may not be so eager to fork out the money to pre-order.
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Format: Hardcover
After having enjoyed the first two of the Clifton Chronicles, I have to say I'm VERY disappointed with this book. The plot was thin and lacked credibility. Save your money. I will continue to purchase any Jeffrey Archer books that were written in the past which I have not yet read but I will not buy any future books. He has really let his fans down with this one. I felt insulted. I honestly can't believe he was the author...and have to be suspect about the initial 5 star reviews....
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Although the first two books in the Clifton Chronicles series were good, this one has a rather lame plot, is too predictable and frankly speaking doesn't really have much to say...its a shame really, as Archer is capable of putting together a much better plot
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Ok...so I understand the plot; it's easy enough to follow...albeit unrealistic at times...only to have no closure. The fate of the villains is not addressed and the story is left up in the air.
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After the previous book finished so abruptly (actually in the middle of the story), I was extremely curious to see how the Chronicles would resolve in the third one. So, I preordered it, and started reading it as soon as it downloaded. Finished it in less than a day.

It's very much a book in two parts. The first half is the family chronicle part; a court case concerning a contested will, a hostile raid on Barrington Shipping, a fiercely fought electoral campaign, ...

And then in the second half, the author introduces a plot so melodramatic that it's almost comical.

The third starts at exactly the point where the second finishes, so you need to have read the first two before starting this one. A recapitulation summary would have been useful at the beginning.

What made me think it was a trilogy? Perhaps I'd confused it with Ken Follett's 'Century Trilogy'? 'Best Kept Secret' (like the previous two) ends with yet another unresolved cliffhanger.

So when is the next one being released? How many exactly are going to be in the series? I'm really enjoying the series so far...
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