From the internationally best-selling 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 worker in Bristol, Harry never knew his father, but he learns about life on the docks from his uncle, who expects Harry to join him at the shipyard once he's left school. But then an unexpected gift wins him a scholarship to an exclusive boys' school, and his life is never the same.
As he enters into adulthood, Harry finally learns how his father really died, but the awful truth only leads him to a question: was he even his father? Is he the son of Arthur Clifton, a stevedore who spent his whole life on the docks, or the firstborn son of a scion of West Country society, whose family owns a shipping line?
This introductory novel in Archer’s ambitious series The Clifton Chronicles includes a cast of colorful characters and takes us from the ravages of the Great War to the outbreak of the Second World War, when Harry must decide whether to take up a place at Oxford or join the navy and go to war with Hitler’s Germany.
From the docks of working-class England to the bustling streets of 1940 New York City, Only Time Will Tell takes listeners on a journey through to future volumes, which will bring to life 100 years of recent history to reveal a family story that neither the listener nor Harry Clifton himself could ever have imagined.
©2011 Jeffrey Archer (P)2011 Macmillan Audio
I have listened to all of Jeffrey Archer's work. This is standard class-clash Archer plotline with superb character development. I already feel like I grew up with these characters, and can't wait for the next "installment". By the way, the story is told from 1st and 3rd-person viewpoints, and from 7 separate "angles". I bow to Mr. Archer who can weave a complex story like no other (read A Prisoner of Birth and you'll agree). Incomparable two-person narration lends further authenticity to the characters. Since Mr. Archer plans 5 parts, covering 100 years, each part taking 1 year to produce, this series isn't for the faint of heart; however, die-hard Archer fans will settle in and eagerly anticipate the inevitable come-uppance that awaits the already much-hated Mr. Hugo. In the next book, I would expect a few more Archer "soap opera twists" to get us to thoroughly despise him...
Cane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer. Class-clash plotline, intricate character development, detailed research, and soap opera-style twists that build utter contempt for the villainous antagonist.
Evocative narration. Mastery of British / Irish (UK) dialects. Male / female narration lends further credibility to the various characters.
Too difficult to select only one. Each character has already been fully formed by Mr. Archer, evoking myriad emotions from the reader, including empathy, sympathy, pity, incredulity, and seething anger.
I eagerly anticipate the next book!
trying to see the world with my ears
I love novels spun from "lives lived across the 20th century" and told from multiple angles. This has both those narrative strengths BUT is very derivative of other, similar novels (including early Ken Follett, who himself is derivative of other, better novels). Also like Follett, this features total goodies who constantly have dastardly deeds done undo them by total meanies. Frustrating, because it COULD have been a very good novel!
If you're looking for real literature, this is not it. If you're looking for a guiltily entertaining book, go for it. This is typical Archer. In fact, some people might find it too typical -- a repeat of Kane and Abel, for example. While that might indeed be true, I read Kane and Abel a million years ago so getting to read a variation of it now was a ton of fun. Sometimes, it's just nice to read something light where the good guys are the good guys and the bad guys are the bad guys.I look forward to the next installment.
This post World War 1 novel takes place in English, but I would describe it as very light historical fiction. The story follows a fatherless boy (Harry Clifton) who is the son of a dock worker but as a result of an extraordinary singing voice, ends up with a scholarship to a prestigious private school. The first half felt so predictable (class differences, etc.) that I almost stopped listening. There was a bit of a mystery surrounding the death/disappearance of his father. The second half of the novel dealt with that mystery, and felt more like an unrealistic soap opera. I liked Harry and his mother enough that I did listen more eagerly to see what would happen. The end resolves the key issues of book one, but also hooks the reader into the next and very different chapter in Harry's life. No spoilers here, but even though I had already decided that one Clifton book would be enough, the end did intrigue me. If you like your historical fiction edgy and realistic, this is NOT for you. If you like a light weight page-turner, you might enjoy this.
Okay... I have been waiting for a new Jeffrey Archer book for a long time. This one doesn't disappoint... great story... great characters... fantastic narration. Can't wait for the sequels.
What a great book! I was totally engrossed in it and loved the way Jeffrey Archer told the story from the perspective of each of the main characters. Narration was spot on. I put it up there with Pillars of the Earth and World Without End as one of those special epic stories. Only disappointment was that I will have to wait so long for the next one!
Some days all I really want is for someone to tell me a wicked-good story, and when that mood strikes me, there is no better author to turn to than Jeffrey Archer. His books are simple, fast-moving, thoughtless, and well-constructed, while his characters are either very good or very bad, and almost believable. Archer’s major ability is to grab the reader quickly and never let go, and to somehow make the reader care about what happens in the lives of the characters, in short, to make the reader want to know how it turns out. After quickly finishing Only Time Will tell, the first book in Archer’s projected series, The Clifton Chronicles, I immediately picked up and finished the second book, The Sins of the Father. No doubt about it: I’ll buy each succeeding book as it is published.
A good story
I would recommend the story for an enjoyable episode.
No. I enjoyed the performance.
This book starts off painfully slow. There seems to be nothing eventful or entertaining for the first 4 to 6 hours; BUT, hang in there.
This book reminds me of a Ken Follett novel in a lot of ways - which is a good thing as I am a big fan of Follet. There is good character development and if you keep in mind that Archer intends to make this a five book series, I think you'll find it acceptable he takes so long to develop the characters - of course if long and involved is not your style, you'll probably want to skip this one.
Overall, I am getting the feeling this may end up being one of my favorite series of novels. I have listened to Archer novels before and have liked them all so far.
With respect to narration, I'm not a big fan of multiple readers, and if I judge the end product, I don't think Emelia Fox added any value to the production by reading the lead female character; however, she was not a distraction. They both delivered a fine performance - Roger Allam is especially good.
I highly recommended this one, it has the potential to be a great series of books!!
Now I can't sleep wondering if the characters will reunite. I was so enthralled in the story since the first chapter I just couldn't stop reading. Jeffrey Archer is an AMAZING story teller, and the reader feels like he's right there in the pub, in the ship, in the class, and I absolutely love it to the point of maddening. Bring on the sequel Jeff and lets get answers. Great job from a great writer!
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