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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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By cristina on 10-21-11
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.
31 of 31 people found this review helpful
By C. Johnson on 09-05-11
Standard Archer "class-clash". Stellar narration!!
Would you consider the audio edition of Only Time Will Tell to be better than the print version?
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...
What other book might you compare Only Time Will Tell to and why?
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.
What does Roger Allam, and Emelia Fox bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?
Evocative narration. Mastery of British / Irish (UK) dialects. Male / female narration lends further credibility to the various characters.
Who was the most memorable character of Only Time Will Tell and why?
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.
Any additional comments?
I eagerly anticipate the next book!
62 of 64 people found this review helpful