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139 of 149 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Archer's Inimitable Style once again
An absolute cracking read which is what I have come to expect from Jeffrey Archer's novels. However, I have one major criticism, and that is that I wished I would have been made aware from the beginning that this book was going to be part of what appears to be a 'Tribology'. Had I known this, I would not have been put in a rather bad mood by what appeared to be an open...
Published on 13 Dec 2011 by Amazon Customer

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377 of 394 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I have only read one Jeffrey Archer and that was Not a Penny Less, Not a Penny More, the book which restored him to financial security after his bankruptcy and have to say that I was distinctly underwhelmed. I read some of his short stories some years later which I remember being impressed with but since then nothing. So when this dropped through my letter box I really...
Published on 16 May 2011 by Elaine Simpson-long


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377 of 394 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 16 May 2011
By 
Elaine Simpson-long (Colchester, UK) - See all my reviews
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I have only read one Jeffrey Archer and that was Not a Penny Less, Not a Penny More, the book which restored him to financial security after his bankruptcy and have to say that I was distinctly underwhelmed. I read some of his short stories some years later which I remember being impressed with but since then nothing. So when this dropped through my letter box I really did not know what to expect.

Well, I loved it. I have heard all the rumours that seven editors or more sit down with seven pens and rewrite Archer's books and was never sure if this was true or not, or just one of those apocryphal stories that do the rounds, but I did rather sheer away from his output because of this. Read this through in one sitting and if ever the phrase a 'page-turner' was the right description, then it certainly is applicable here.

Harry Clifton is the son of a docker who had died in mysterious circumstances, and his mother is struggling to bring him up in dire poverty. Harry is fascinated by the docks, plays truant from school and doesn't seem to have much going for him. But he is the possessor of a beautiful, treble voice and this leads him to a choral scholarship at a posh school where he meets and befriends two companions who are going to influence his future life. One of these is Giles Barrington, son of a wealthy businessman and owner of the docks where Harry's father died. As soon as we meet Hugo Barrington and see his reaction to Harry, we are left in no doubt as to the possibilities for intrigue and underhand machinations ahead of us. And so it proves.

The story is told from several viewpoints, Harry, his mother Maisie, Hugo, Old Jack Tar (a mysterious and educated man who is one of Harry's supporters but who lives a reclusive life), Giles Barrington and his sister Emma. Not a huge amount of characterisation or details given in this book, the protagonists are there for one purpose only and that is to be the hook for the story line and to be moved around accordingly. The plot turns are signalled well ahead and are easy to spot before they even happen and the ending of this first volume entirely predictable, but this did not lessen my enjoyment in any way. It is a rattling good yarn, with pacy narrative and once started, almost impossible to put down.
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139 of 149 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Archer's Inimitable Style once again, 13 Dec 2011
This review is from: Only Time Will Tell (Clifton Chronicles Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
An absolute cracking read which is what I have come to expect from Jeffrey Archer's novels. However, I have one major criticism, and that is that I wished I would have been made aware from the beginning that this book was going to be part of what appears to be a 'Tribology'. Had I known this, I would not have been put in a rather bad mood by what appeared to be an open (and most unusual) ending. I will now have to wait at J.Archer's convenience before he gets around to publishing part 2 & 3 (which hopefully will be available in Kindle format).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good story telling which encourages to read the other books in the sequence., 20 July 2014
The first Jeffrey Archer novel I've read and I have to say I really enjoyed it.

Set between World War 1 and 2, the book tells the tale of the early life of Harry Clifton. The son of a dock worker who dies in mysterious circumstances, with a thirst for knowledge and blessed with a good choral voice, Harry finds himself through scholarships mixing with the upper classes and in particular with the Barrington family who were his fathers employers.

The story unfolds by relating events from the point of view of the main characters involved, so each character's viewpoint reveals a little more insight into the events. This is the clever part of the writing, which kept me interested into how things would turn out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling family saga, 25 Sep 2013
This review is from: Only Time Will Tell (Clifton Chronicles Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This lavish storyline draws you in from page one. Descriptive, likeable characters pull at your heart strings. This book has everything, love, excitement, danger, family, lies, all woven into a saga set against the backdrop of impending war. I could not wait to start part 2 !
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very sad it's over..., 27 May 2011
Jeffrey Archer writes in such a fluid way that his books are among the most relaxing and enjoyable to read. Only Time will Tell seems like quite a gentle tale so it is almost surprising that it is impossible to put down and you long for your next quiet moment that you can settle down to a peaceful bit of indulgent reading (not easy with toddlers constantly under your feet!). I now have 20 or so pages left and the excitement of the story has definitely lifted, but above all else I'm just so sad that I've read this book the minute it was published and will therefore have to wait, presumably for a significant amount of time, until the next instalment is printed. Because of the gentle start to the story and the detailed shaping of the main characters, it is very apparent throughout the story that this is the first of a trilogy and that the story is going to build into something far more dramatic as the characters reach adulthood so I am greatly anticipating the future "Clifton Chronicles". Please let them be printed soon!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Started off well, 9 Dec 2013
By 
M. E. George - See all my reviews
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Started off well and the middle was good but the ending just ruined it for me and it all got very silly.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Prologue, 18 July 2011
By 
Ted Feit (Long Beach, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This aptly titled novel is the prelude to a series entitled The Clifton Chronicles, covering the lives of several characters over the span of a century. In the hands of the author, Jeffrey Archer, it follows the life of the main character, Harry Clifton, from his birth shortly after World War I to just short of WWII with more curves than a talented big league pitcher.

The story is told in succeeding chapters from the point of view of various persons, each contributing some insight into the questions raised in the last summation. It takes Harry from a fatherless tot to a school truant to a talented choir singer and his education right up to his acceptance at Eton. Meanwhile his life becomes complicated as he grows up by virtue of his background: the mystery of his father's death, his mother's struggles to support him, his questionable parentage.

No comment is necessary regarding Mr. Archer's ability to write a solid story, and to end it in cliffhanger fashion so readers will look forward to the sequel. It remains to be seen how ingenious he can be in the next book in the series.

Recommended.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great to start with but climax was disappointing and went downhill towards the end, 27 Sep 2014
Please note: This review contains spoilers.

I read this book without knowing it was a 'chronicle'. It started off really well with a captivating storyline that had me turning the pages wondering when the beans would be spilled and truth found out. The basic plot of the story was pretty standard: poor but smart boy excels through education with the help of family, friends & neighbours pulling the necessary strings and ties but a dark background secret causes problems and prevent things from running quite as smoothly.

What I couldn't understand and possibly believe was how Harry's mother and the 'evil guy' in the story could let Harry and Emma's relationship go so far before somebody else reveals the truth!
Also there is one major flaw to the story: how Harry is proven to be the son of Hugo because he is also colour blind like his father and other male generations. According to colourblindawareness.org "A colour blind boy can’t receive a colour blind gene from his father, even if his father is colour blind, because his father can only pass an X chromosome to his daughters."

I was greatly disappointed with the ending as mentioned previously, I wasn't aware the book had prequels and expected it to end in a happy way but it leaves you on a total cliffhanger with Harry ending up in a very different situation and scenario to deal with besides his other problems which he hadn't really solved/put an end to first. Also, I was a bit sceptical with the fact that the seemingly caring Sir Walter would let Harry go on the ship when the country was in the brink of a war - surely he would've known it could be dangerous to let him go to sea and he never even challenged Harry or tried to persuade him otherwise.
I also somehow wished that Harry could have proved he wasn't the son of Hugo and thus was able to marry Emma so that they wouldn't be committing the horrifying act of incest!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent family epic, 20 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Only Time Will Tell (Clifton Chronicles Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
This book is one of those family epics. I usually enjoy Jeffrey Archer's yarns and am completely able to divorce my view of his writings from my view of the man. The best ever for me was As the Crow Flies, but this one is almost as good. The only thing that slightly annoyed me was the fact that is was touted as a free download and just when the story really gets going, you reach the end and have to buy the next book in the series. Full marks, though to Amazon, because the second one is only 99p, whereas on iTunes for iBooks on my iPad the 2nd one is £2.99.

The plot reminded me a great deal of the book The View From Kleoboulos, though I don't want to give too much away, but I found myself wondering if Archer has read it by the time I was two thirds of the way through this one.

What I do like about this book is the total lack of foul language, which for me is far too common in novels nowadays. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I like John Grisham for similar reasons. Both authors prove that you can keep reader engaged without resorting to frequent uses of the "f" word or graphic sex or violence. A good story shouldn't need either.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice easy read, 15 May 2011
By 
R. Cameron "HT" (CA) - See all my reviews
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An enjoyable read, back to what Archer does best - the family dynasty & destiny. Doesn't challenge too much and some of the 'twists' were bleeding obvious but, nonetheless, was disappointed when it was over and looking forward to the next instalment.
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