The Clifton Chronicles is Jeffrey Archer’s most ambitious work in four decades as an international best-selling author. The epic tale of Harry Clifton’s life begins in 1920, with the chilling words, ‘I was told that my father was killed in the war.’ But it will be another 20 years before Harry discovers how his father really died, which will only lead him to question: who was his father? Is he the son of Arthur Clifton, a stevedore who worked in Bristol docks, or the first born son of a scion of West Country society, whose family owns a shipping line?
Only Time Will Tell covers the years from 1920 to 1940, and includes a cast of memorable characters that The Times has compared to The Forsyte Saga. Volume One 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.
©2011 Jeffrey Archer (P)2011 Macmillan Publishers
Archer carries a narrative strongly and this ripping yarn is no exception. However he presents his characters descriptively -- we see their actions and hear their words rather than clearly picture them or understand their (repressed) emotions. This is underscored by allowing different protagonists to take up various threads of the story. His women are somewhat cliched nineteenth / early twentieth heroines as they play their roles as martyr, lover, upholder of what is Strong and True. But that works ok -- and, after all, it is is set in the first half of last century. Archer does make us care what happens to his characters and of course he creates compelling twists and turns in the plot. The sequel will be eagerly awaited. The readers were first rate.
I have read everything Lord Archer has written. I bought this book assuming a good read and was very much disappointed. I would go so far as to say I do not believe this book would have been published if not for the author's fame.It was so boring I started to listen to it on fast play on my ipod (x2). Even then, the story progressed about as quickly as grass grows. I've read a review comparing it to The Forsyte Saga - I loved the Forsyte Saga - this is in no way in the same class. It is a long, long, long story with characters not totally likable, slightly unbelievable situations and no hook to capture your attention and make you want to keep reading. I would have returned this book, but for some reason my audible account says it accepts returns, but doesn't let me return them. All I can say is that if you like watching plants grow for hours on end, then this is the book for you.
I'd suggest that the telling of the same events several times from different viewpoints is the most frustrating part of this book.
After Kain and Abel always - these books are drawn out incomplete sequals, not complete books and as such boring and VERY pricey for a very average drawn out story. NO I have no interest in hearing the rest of it.
Am already listening to Ken Wilber and reading Jojo Moyos
The performance was OK, the storyline is the problem
The whole book needs a 20-40% or more condensation, too drawn out and painful.
My last Jeffrey Archer! - life is too short to read this.
The story is about an old theme of his in a new coat.
Not his follow up from this series.
So, so. Little bit dull.
No. It will be much of the same.
I love family stories and sagas, this once was a great one! Comparable to Ken Follett...
Old Jack Tar - it's nice to have an old misunderstood-by-most type of character
Sometimes I had the feeling that some parts of the book where missing - like a sentence stopping in the middle (but didn't impede the understanding of the book, and only happened once or twice at the beginning), but this problem would be due to technical issues, and not the story in itself.
Captivated me from the very beginning and couldn't wait to hear more and more. Excellent.
Matthew Flinders Cat. Both great stories and told in a way that keeps not only me but my husband enthralled.
Knowing that the main character may still be in the mix
One to watch
Hadn't read a Jeffrey Archer in years so thrilled to hear a great story. Reviews certainly count.
Not only is the story line thin, the same thin story is told from each main characters perspective. The characters are also one dimensional and not believable.
What a waste of listners time!
Found the story uninteresting and boring. Characters are unbelievable.
No but this author has.
Most boring narrator. He sounded bored with the story as well.
"The other side of the story"
The story takes you on a journey viewing the lives of the characters from many angles. Each character's view point either 'fills in the gaps' for the questions you want answered, or leaves you more intrigued. At the start there are several characters who go on to be pivotal to the life that Harry leads. However, just when you think others cannot make a difference, they make an appearance and change your thoughts on what may or may not happen. You often find yourself planning ahead in your mind for what you think is going to happen, only to be thrown a 'curved ball'. A great story that becomes impossible to stop. Is there, Can there be, a sequel?
"Wonderfully Enjoyable, then frustrating at the end"
I really enjoyed this book, took it with me all around the house, 'til it got to the end...... The characters are excellent, Mr Archer has a knack in making his characters very realistic, that you think you actually know these people! I have just got to the end.................. NOOOOOO!!!!! What happens now????? How can you leave us all hanging? Hurry up with book 2 - please do tell me there is a book 2! Hurry up Audible!
"Can't wait for the next book"
Have avoided this author previously as being a bit too mainstream and predictable - only ever seen TV versions of his novels - I am definitely chastened. A really good read with well drawn characters and a twist in the tail. (Have I heard that somewhere before?) Archer may write to a predictable format, but this is a good story. Shall be looking forward to the next episode.
Jeffrey Archer certainly knows how to tell a story that keeps you listening and wanting to know more. It's a bit like a modern fairy story with set-backs and triumphs for the hero. We are told the story through the eyes of the main characters who tell us in turn their view of what happens as Harry grows from boy to manhood in the period from just after the First World War to the outbreak of the Second in 1939. There's quite a bit of period detail of life at this time sprinkled with historical facts that add to narrative. There's a certain old fashioned charm about the book that makes a pleasant change from all the modern detective fiction I've been reading/listening to recently. I can't wait for the next book in this story of Harry Clifton as this book ends on a cliff-hanger.
The two readers are very good. Roger Allam has a lovely gravelly voice that is a pleasure to listen to and he's pretty good at different accents.
"Predictable - but a good yarn"
Rather a predictable story line, and as in other of his books some of the story line just a little unbelievable. Never the less I enjoyed the book and look forward to the next part.
I really enjoyed this book, the narration is excellent, and although the story isn't my usual reading material - I was absolutely gripped, and like some other reviewers I am now thinking - 'My goodness! How long must I wait for the next instalment?'
The characters were brilliantly drawn and I loved the way the storytelling switches between the main characters and one sees the story from differing points of view.
I enjoyed Jeffrey Archer's original books and bought this on the strength of those, however when I found that the story was of a different genre I was initially disappointed - but how wrong I was.
I really cared what happened in the lives of the characters, and cannot wait for the existing 'cliff-hanger' to be explained.
Why is that Jeffrey Archer writes such a good story. He really is one of the few authors that you just don't want to finish reading the book but can't put it down either. Another great book which I thoroughly enjoyed, can't wait for the next two to be published.
Jeffrey Archer is just a master at storytelling. He shapes the characters brilliantly and I particularly enjoyed the perspectives from each main character's point of view.
Some reviewers have expressed disappointment in the ending - clearly more will be revealed in Book 2! Please deliver it via Audible as soon as it's published.
I liked it and didn't think it was predictable (as something else thought). If you like Archer you will like this
"A good yarn"
This book is great fun to listen to. Like many other of Jeffrey Archer's books the good characters are squeaky clean and as a result a little unrealistic. Young Harry, the son of a docker, goes to boarding school with posh boys and only meets one bully, a problem which he quickly overcomes. When Harry is given sweets by his friend which he finds out are being stolen from the tuck shop, he secretly puts them back, and is willing to take the rap when he is caught. Some of the other events are a little far-fetched, but it's easy to listen to and very entertaining. Looking forward to the next one in the series!
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