Thursday, March 31, 2011

Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer

The Clifton Chronicles is Jeffrey Archer's most ambitious work in four decades as an international bestselling 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 twenty 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.
In Jeffrey Archer's masterful hands, the reader is taken on a journey that they won't want to end, and when you turn the last page of this unforgettable yarn, you will be faced with a dilemma that neither you, nor Harry Clifton could have anticipated (from publishers site).
A new Jeffrey Archer!

I have been reading Jeffrey Archer since I was 11 years old. Back then I LOVED his plot twists and his clever prose. I think reading him made me feel intellectual, haha. (I would read a few Sweet Valley High books and then lounge around in front of my older brother with a Jeffrey Archer to balance it out... good times)

Since then, I have picked up all his new releases and loved the familiarity of his work. Though some of his books have appealed to me more than others. 

The thing about Jeffrey Archer is he is a Master Storyteller. He doesn't blow you away with lingering prose, or make you swoon or freak you out. Instead he starts with a simple story and just begins weaving it and as a reader I have always gotten caught up in the lives of the characters and how it is all going to play out.

Only Time Will Tell is the first book in a new series (The Clifton Chronicles) of five books. It follows the life of Harry Clifton from boyhood through to graduating school ~ and the lives of key characters in Harry's life. 

It's got the usual plot suspects and characters from Archer's novels: lower class protag thrust into privileged world, underhanded dealings from powerful characters, actions and secrets that snowball and come back to haunt, fortunes to inherit and exams to be aced, tragic events to good people who rise above the ashes and characters with the highest integrity/honour who are highly respected. 

This one is signature Archer ~ with a great opening followed by a slow-burner start (my advice is take a nice chunk of time to settle into the story). But it soon turns into an addictive read as more plot twists are hinted at and revealed ~ which then has you wanting to keep flipping those pages to see the fall-out and/or next twist/revelation. 

I was happily lounging around and then all of a sudden (when I was about half way through) I didn't want to put the book down. Which is an awesome feeling.

The thing that added another layer in Only Time Will Tell is how Archer changes narration as the story progresses so readers can follow events from the POV of key characters. Which often resulted in the reader being let in on secrets that certain characters were unaware of ~ and adds to the tension and that feeling of 'how is this all going to play out?' I really enjoyed this criss-crossing of POV's and events, hey. 

Archer is a brilliant storyteller with a kind of witty/intelligent narration style that doesn't necessarily reflect reality ~ but matches the epicness of the story. And The Clifton Chronicles are going to be an epic saga. It ends well for a first installment, kind of rounds off the phase of life Harry was in (just graduated) but also with a cliff-hanger (which I LOVED) that sets up where #2 will begin.

Out of all Archers works, I most enjoy his epic saga type ones (more than his suspense/mystery/crime/political novels ~ whatever they're classified as, haha). Only Time Will Tell is a strong comparison to Sons of Fortune (which is a fave of mine LOVE) and also reminiscent of his greatest and most popular book Kane and Abel (which completely blew me away when I read it as a teenager ~ and is featured on many top 100 books of all time lists. It's BRILLIANT).

Fans of Jeffrey Archer will not be disappointed :D 

Only Time Will Tell at Pan Macmillan Australia
Jeffrey Archer's website
Jeffrey Archers Blog
Only Time Will Tell @ goodreads

Author Information

Jeffrey Archer, whose novels and short stories include Not a Penny More, Not a Penny LessKane and Abel and A Twist in the Tale, has topped the bestseller lists around the world, with sales of over 250 million copies. The author is married with two sons, and lives in London and Cambridge.
Thanks to Pan Macmillan for sending me this review copy. Cheers!


  1. Oh wow, Nomes. Talk about old school. It has been years since I read Archer. I remember Kane and Abel. I read it around the same time when I was reading Sweet Valley High, VC Andrews and RL Stine. LOL

    Good times indeed! Sadly, my memory is foggy on Archer, but what you describe about his writing does sound familiar. I think I even have my old copy of K&A stashed somewhere in my house. I'm gonna have to hunt it down and re-read it soon.

    This new series sounds pretty compelling. Thanks for bringing back some good memories.

  2. Archer was here in Calcutta at the beginning of this month to promote the book :)

    Sadly, I haven't read any of his books. I have some catching up to do.

  3. It's been so long since I read Archer's books. I started reading Archer when I was 11 too (that's when I also discovered Harry Potter! ). I agree that Archer is a brilliant storyteller. His writing is not particularly unique or impressive but the way he tells the story make his books memorable.

    I love the sound of this new book. Thanks for the review!

  4. I have never read one of Archer's books, but I pretty much stopped reading adult books when I became a teacher and began my foray into YA. I do love suspense stories more than the epic sagas so some of his books would probably appeal to me. Thanks for the review and comments on this author.

  5. I have never heard of Archer before. I guess I was too buried in my Sweet Valley High books :)

    I love books that gradually pull you in too. Another great review :)

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  7. Must be an enjoyable read Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and original, this book is going in by "to read" list.


Thanks for the commenty love :)