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Only Time Will Tell Audiobook

Only Time Will Tell: The Clifton Chronicles, Book 1

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Publisher's Summary

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

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  •  
    Lori Chesterfield, NJ, United States 09-23-11
    Lori Chesterfield, NJ, United States 09-23-11 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A long time coming"

    I have truly, truly, truly enjoyed this book. The story was so well narrated, and well told until I couldnt put it down. Each and every person involved in the story had their own voice and I could see them in my mind's eye. When the "deep secret" finally came out I could barely contain myself. I loved the twists, and turns and the story told from everyones point of view. I'm only sorry that I will have to wait for the next book to see what happens to Harry. Loved it, loved it!

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wayne Matthews, NC 10-19-16
    Wayne Matthews, NC 10-19-16 Member Since 2017

    I am a husband/dad/granddad who loves books. My reviews are my subjective opinions. My hope is they will help others make buying decisions.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Now is the time to listen to this series"

    First The Clifton Chronicles was to be a trilogy, then five books, and finally 7 novels. #7, the real final one is titled This Was a Man, and it will be released on November 8, 2016. With all prior novels in the series ending in cliff hanger situations (a serialized series), rather than wait a year for the next novel why not just wait until the series is done and listen to all of them? I wish I had!! Frustration would have been a lot less. Make no mistake every novel in the series is great with almost all earning 5 stars. Jeffrey Archer writes wonderful historical fiction. Narration has been consistently superb with Alex Jennings narrating most of the series and Roger Allam and Emilia Fox narrating this one. The Clifton Chronicles is a must-read series, but its best to wait until the series is complete to avoid cliffhangers that require a year wait to resolve.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric MALIBU, CA, United States 08-28-14
    Eric MALIBU, CA, United States 08-28-14 Member Since 2016
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    "Good, but not as good as Prisoner of Birth"

    This story took a longer time to incubate than the five-star Prisoner of Birth. Once the story of Maisy and Harry took more form, the story became more engrossing. Moving in and out of different points of view, Archer uses the brilliant device of narrating the same story from the vantage of each of the seven main characters in the story. Spoiler coming>


    As a mini-spoiler, the main evil character does not see justice done, for the most part, in this story, though perhaps time will tell, as the title suggests. And the ending, another Count of Monte Cristo/take someone else's identity similar to the one in Prisoner of Birth, is less satisfying, plausible, and wrapped up as Prisoner of Birth. But worth of credit.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angelyn S. Furst 03-31-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Glaring lack of research"

    This book had a glaring lack of research. In the book the year is 1934 and the police are reading the Miranda warning, right down to the Supreme Court wording, to someone they had just arrested. The Miranda warning was not implemented until 1966.

    Unfortunately this was the only thing that stuck out in a totally unmemorable book. Absolutely predictable at every turn. I sould have used my credit more wisely.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A 10-06-11
    A 10-06-11 Member Since 2013

    No vampires. No zombies. No self-help. Find me on BookLikes. Audible Member since 2002!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A long time fan"

    Jeffrey Archer has been one of my favorite storytellers for a very long time now. While I might not have always liked the story, I have always like the way it was told. As for JA's latest project, I can only say that I am hooked and I can't wait for the next one--I'm just sorry that it is going to take five years to get to the end of the story. I can deal with the shifting points of view and the multiple narrators; they make the story interesting.

    I have just one criticism of the book: historical inaccuracies and anachronisms drive me crazy. Fortunately, I don't know enough about English social history between the wars to be able to catch errors but I do know that Miranda rights did not exist in 1939 and that glaring error just drove me nuts. Killed the end of the book for me.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Waltham, MA, United States 04-06-14
    Mark Waltham, MA, United States 04-06-14 Member Since 2010

    MTF

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    "entertaining enough to stay with"

    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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nora Portland, OR, United States 02-11-12
    Nora Portland, OR, United States 02-11-12 Member Since 2017
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    "If you watch soap operas, you might like this book"

    The characters in "Only Time Will Tell" are one-dimensional and trite: The poor, struggling virtuous (or at least mostly virtuous) single mother sacrificing all for her son. The evil, rich ship-yard scion. The hard-working, nice-guy hero. Good grief. At any moment I expected the evil, rich guy to tie the poor, struggling, single mother to the railroad tracks. But that would have been too original for Archer. I fell asleep a few times while listening, only to awake to another absurd plot twist. I won't give any away, but Archer uses every silly soap opera trick. Occasionally, he injects historical facts to set the story in a real timeframe; these references are so obtrusive I'm guessing he employed a researcher and plugged in the researcher's notes whenever he got writer's block. (Note to Archer: fire your researcher. the Miranda case which resulted in the reading of Miranda rights was in 1966.) As one other reviewer stated, "...this is not literature." Nope. Not even close.
    The readers' performances, however, are very good.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dana 12-01-11
    Dana 12-01-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hurry on for the story across the ocean"

    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!

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron 12-01-16
    Aaron 12-01-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Pretends at Dickens"


    The story is set in last-century London. The author has created a believable nostalgic atmosphere. It features a luckless "underdog hero" who prevails against the odds, against life, and against the pitfalls set by a dislikable antagonist.

    Archer appears to be heavily inspired by Dickens. Having grown up reading Dickens (though I am no scholar), I recognize it as a nod of admiration. At the same time I found Archer's work slightly disingenuous. Archer is a gifted writer, but it is as if he is actively trying to pay homage to Dickens, rather than to write in his own unique style.

    I appreciate that someone out there (namely Archer) is attempting to write on the level (and style) of Classic Lit., but I have never liked copy-cats.

    Aside from this stylistic anomaly, the story itself was just okay (perhaps a bit cliched). The one element of uniqueness (unnamed here to avoid spoilers), will likely be unsettling to the average reader. Suffice it to say that I would have enjoyed the story as much (or more) with a different, more accessible plot-twist.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracey Devlyn 04-04-16
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    "Unique Stoytelling"

    ONLY TIME WILL TELL is my first Jeffrey Archer story. Loved the author's rich historical detail and multi-layered characters.

    Reading the multiple points of view took awhile to get used to, but I wound up loving it. The only thing that keeps me from giving the story 5 stars is the cliffhanger.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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