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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    129
  • 4 Stars
    58
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    6

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    124
  • 4 Stars
    40
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    114
  • 4 Stars
    46
  • 3 Stars
    17
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    7
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A ripping yarn

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Carol
  • Australia
  • 08-07-12

Brilliant

What made the experience of listening to Only Time Will Tell: Clifton Chronicles, Book 1 the most enjoyable?

Captivated me from the very beginning and couldn't wait to hear more and more. Excellent.

What other book might you compare Only Time Will Tell: Clifton Chronicles, Book 1 to and why?

Matthew Flinders Cat. Both great stories and told in a way that keeps not only me but my husband enthralled.

Which scene was your favorite?

Knowing that the main character may still be in the mix

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

One to watch

Any additional comments?

Hadn't read a Jeffrey Archer in years so thrilled to hear a great story. Reviews certainly count.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great read!!

Beautifully narrated. Good story. Well defined characters. I'm looking forward to sequel of this book!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tracey
  • craigmore, Australia
  • 05-06-15

only time

What did you love best about Only Time Will Tell: Clifton Chronicles, Book 1?

it was a good story with the characters shown from there sides of the story

What did you like best about this story?

old jack he is good

Have you listened to any of Roger Allam and Emilia Fox ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

no i haven,t

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

only time and truth can tell

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Barbara
  • Prince Albert, South Africa
  • 05-12-14

These are not individual books!

Would you try another book from Jeffrey Archer and/or Roger Allam and Emilia Fox ?

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.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Am already listening to Ken Wilber and reading Jojo Moyos

What aspect of Roger Allam and Emilia Fox ’s performance would you have changed?

The performance was OK, the storyline is the problem

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Only Time Will Tell: Clifton Chronicles, Book 1?

The whole book needs a 20-40% or more condensation, too drawn out and painful.

Any additional comments?

My last Jeffrey Archer! - life is too short to read this.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • elly
  • heemstede, Netherlands
  • 11-05-12

Not his best ever

What did you like best about Only Time Will Tell: Clifton Chronicles, Book 1? What did you like least?

The story is about an old theme of his in a new coat.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Not his follow up from this series.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

So, so. Little bit dull.

Do you think Only Time Will Tell: Clifton Chronicles, Book 1 needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No. It will be much of the same.

Any additional comments?

No.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great saga

What did you like best about this story?

I love family stories and sagas, this once was a great one! Comparable to Ken Follett...

Who was the most memorable character of Only Time Will Tell: Clifton Chronicles, Book 1 and why?

Old Jack Tar - it's nice to have an old misunderstood-by-most type of character

Any additional comments?

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.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Time Waster

What disappointed you about Only Time Will Tell: Clifton Chronicles, Book 1?

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!

Would you ever listen to anything by Jeffrey Archer again?

No

Which character – as performed by Roger Allam and Emilia Fox – was your favorite?

Old Jack

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Boredom

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Henny
  • Bega NSW, Australia
  • 04-29-12

Predictable Story

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Found the story uninteresting and boring. Characters are unbelievable.

Has Only Time Will Tell: Clifton Chronicles, Book 1 turned you off from other books in this genre?

No but this author has.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Most boring narrator. He sounded bored with the story as well.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

disappointment.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Boring and extremely disappointing

What disappointed you about Only Time Will Tell: Clifton Chronicles, Book 1?

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.

Has Only Time Will Tell: Clifton Chronicles, Book 1 turned you off from other books in this genre?

Yes

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Read faster

What character would you cut from Only Time Will Tell: Clifton Chronicles, Book 1?

I'd suggest that the telling of the same events several times from different viewpoints is the most frustrating part of this book.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kirstine
  • 06-16-11

Great story-telling

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.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • mollyeyre
  • 01-27-12

A Surprise

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.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Polly
  • 11-09-11

Loved It

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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bernard
  • 08-23-11

Story Meister

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.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • jean
  • 10-13-15

Looking forward to next instalment.

Where does Only Time Will Tell: Clifton Chronicles, Book 1 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Very high on my list of favourites.

What did you like best about this story?

Roger Allam and Emilia Fox.

Have you listened to any of Roger Allam and Emilia Fox ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No, I have not. Now a fan, I intend to follow their work.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

The Touch of Life.

Any additional comments?

One of the most absorbing, superbly narrated audiobooks I have listened to.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-11-12

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.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Welshlad
  • 03-02-12

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!

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gail
  • 11-06-11

Fab!

Another fabulous Jeffrey Archer book. Brilliantly read by Roger Allam & Emilia Fox. Roger's voice is so mesmerising. I can't wait for the next Chronicle!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • sally
  • 05-31-11

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?

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jacqui
  • 11-18-11

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.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Marisha Stone
  • 09-29-16

must read

the narration is awesome, great storyline. interesting twists and different characters speaking in the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kim
  • 08-30-16

Really enjoyed the story

Loved it. So much in the book, like the characters. Looking forward to volume 2

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Noelene
  • 02-10-16

A Must to Read

Could not put it down. Great story line right from the start & beautifully narrated by Roger Allam & Emilia Fox. Would recommend this book .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tegan
  • 05-19-15

READ THIS BOOK SERIES!!!

I started reading this book series as from a recommendation, from my Dad... Hey I thought at least we will have something to talk about... I was so engrossed by this novel that I bought all the currently available books in the series and listened to them back to back... AMAZING!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Susan
  • 04-09-14

Want a great story that really hooks you?

If you could sum up Only Time Will Tell: Clifton Chronicles, Book 1 in three words, what would they be?

Thoroughly enjoyed this book, all the characters, the storyline, the narrator just a great read had me listening 100% - happily enjoying the story and all of a sudden it finishes at a gripping part - have to quickly download part 2!!

What did you like best about this story?

How you get to know the characters & start to have real empathy for them

Have you listened to any of Roger Allam and Emilia Fox ’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No I havent' but certainly excellent work

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Quite a few

Any additional comments?

Must read

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jan Seymour
  • 05-31-18

Kept me interested!

The male narrator was a little bland, and some aspects of the story were a bit hard to believe but overall I enjoyed it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rita Wadick
  • 08-16-17

Brilliant story. Hooked line and sinker.

The narrators are to be highly recommended. I look forward to the next Clayton Chronicles.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Emma
  • 04-05-17

wish I never heard this book.

Would you listen to Only Time Will Tell again? Why?

I wish I never read this book so I can experience it again for the first time. If this was the only story I was allowed to listen to for the rest of my life (including the rest of the books) id be extremely happy.

What did you like best about this story?

The story line, the plot and the endless twists keep you glued to your head phones and you honestly can lose time from this.
The cliffhangers are just juicy enough to keep you coming back for more and more but not too juicy as to leave you frustrated.
You can form a connection with nearly all the characters and can love and hate with them. Just a captivating book with very satifying story lines that leave you smiling when justice is served to a hated character and leave you crying when something horrible happens to the main characters.

What about Roger Allam and Emilia Fox ’s performance did you like?

The narrators truly do the book justice by painting the picture and expressions of characters for you.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

If I had 12 hours in a day to listen to a book this would be it

Any additional comments?

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rebecca
  • 02-22-17

second listen and still loved it!!!

Love Jeffrey Archer and the Clifton series. Second time listening to the first book and it is even better the second time around. This series is a new favourite of mine and I think everyone needs to give it a listen!!! The books just get better and better each time. I do enjoy the performance, both Emilia and aroger are great! However, now that I hace heared books 2-6, I prefer Alex Jennings in his readings of the other books in the series.

The only shame with auidble for this series js that it seems to sometimes cut off mid sentence. Very bizarre

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • clare
  • 01-15-17

great read

i admit i only got this book because it was free, but it was an absolute "page turner" will be investing in the others in the series