We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
Only Time Will Tell Audiobook

Only Time Will Tell: The Clifton Chronicles, Book 1

Regular Price:$27.99
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (4474 )
5 star
 (2595)
4 star
 (1380)
3 star
 (345)
2 star
 (93)
1 star
 (61)
Overall
4.4 (3935 )
5 star
 (2317)
4 star
 (1149)
3 star
 (321)
2 star
 (93)
1 star
 (55)
Story
4.6 (3961 )
5 star
 (2688)
4 star
 (1019)
3 star
 (191)
2 star
 (35)
1 star
 (28)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Buzz Scottsdale, AZ, United States 11-13-12
    Buzz Scottsdale, AZ, United States 11-13-12 Listener Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    68
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    20
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    13
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "From the Master of the Novel as Soap Opera"

    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.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 10-15-15
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 10-15-15 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2096
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    399
    315
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    333
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Accidental Discovery"

    After giving Jeffery Archer's "A Prisoner of Birth" ten stars I wanted more Archer. So I stupidly bought "Mightier Than The Sword:. MISTAKE! Stupidly? Uh-huh, it was the fifth book in the "The Clinton Chronicles" and while it was intriguing from chapter one, it was quickly obvious that I'd come in the middle of this saga. So... I've stopped that book and downloaded "Only Time Will Tell" the first i this Epic. Whew... great relief.

    YOU MUST START WITH THIS BOOK! Which is an intriguing story that sets the character foundation for the entire series. Archer's cast is well defined and Roger Allam together with Emilia Fox make them live.

    Do I recommend "Only Time Will Tell"? Well facing an eleven hour drive tomorrow, I've j just downloaded "The Sins Of The Fathers"... Number 2 in "The Clifton Chronicles". That's as good a recommendation that's in me.

    24 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 05-08-13
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 05-08-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2107
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    563
    298
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1721
    17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Addictive storyteller, outstanding narration."

    Mr. Archer is just a great teller of tales. His heroes and heroines, in this case autobiographical, are so engaging and charismatic I became hopelessly addicted to the series.

    The same can be said of the villain. he a tragically bad seed from a family of outstanding good character, nobility and wealth. He reminds me of several of Follet's villains in Pillars of the Earth and Dangerous Fortune.

    The intricate British cast system is brilliantly exposed as it provides much of the series' theme.

    The performance is, in a word, brilliant.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 09-19-16
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 09-19-16 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2946
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    566
    350
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    289
    33
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Curiosity Got The Better of Me"

    I never read a book by Archer before, though I certainly heard his name tossed about. This seemed as good a place as any to start. I skimmed the reviews, it seemed like a generally well-liked book. So I gave it a try.

    Over all, I really enjoyed it. For some dumb reason, I decided, while listening to the book, to further scrutinize the reviews, something I should not allow myself to do. I wish I hadn't, as I seemed to focus on the critics of which there are always some. Complaints abounded that Archer is not an elegant writer and that the ending was poor, in that the story finished abruptly offering no satisfaction.

    Well, I am here to say that you should not underestimate good old-fashioned storytelling, of which Archer seems to excel. I also believe that from the get-go, he said he was writing a 5 part series about the Clifton's. Well, if that's the case, there are bound to be cliffhangers to keep us interested and going back. Makes sense to me.

    I really enjoyed the story which takes place in the early 1900's. Harry and the other characters remain in my thoughts now that I have finished Book 1. Each of 7 characters had their own chapters and each of the "cohorts" got to express their own viewpoints regarding how they perceived Harry Clifton. New things came out in each individual's sections, and in that way, questions were answered. I haven't encountered this writing style before and it worked for me.

    As for the much maligned ending? I knew it was going to end abruptly and it had a great twist I never saw coming. The twist and the good storytelling AND a great narration all combined to make me want to get Book 2, which I will.

    And anyway, I was not in the mood for a 50-plus hour saga!

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wayne Matthews, NC 10-19-16
    Wayne Matthews, NC 10-19-16 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7957
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    1758
    1401
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    509
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric MALIBU, CA, United States 08-28-14
    Eric MALIBU, CA, United States 08-28-14 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    310
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    154
    55
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    14
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    81
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    266
    36
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    23
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    Mark Waltham, MA, United States 04-06-14
    Mark Waltham, MA, United States 04-06-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    367
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    164
    131
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    64
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    Aaron 12-01-16
    Aaron 12-01-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    312
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    147
    94
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    23
    67
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    RATINGS
    REVIEWS
    25
    15
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.