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Synopsis

From the internationally bestselling 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 will never be the same again.

As he enters into adulthood, Harry finally learns how his father really died, but the awful truth only leads him to 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 readers on a journey through to future volumes, which will bring to life one hundred years of recent history to reveal a family story that neither the reader nor Harry Clifton himself could ever have imagined.

Book Reviews

Only Time Will Tell
Average rating
4.1 / 5
Only Time Will Tell
January 14th, 2016
Great read! I look forward to the next! This book takes you from Europe to North America, peace time to war with a dash of intrigue and unrequited love. Compelling!
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1 review
Only Time willtell
January 13th, 2016
Jeffery Archer always succeeds in keeping me captivated. Wonderful characters and great storryline, I can't wait to open the cover of the second book.
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1 review
Fantastic
November 30th, 2015
Very well written. Fast paced but very detailed in characterization both hallmarks of a Jeffrey Archer novel. I want to definitely finish the rest of the saga.
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1 review
Only time will tell
November 15th, 2015
Great read - histrical fiction done well. Terrily abrupt ending which was disappointing. obviosly not a stand alone book.
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1 review
Thrilling
October 31st, 2015
Excellent read kept me gripped right to the end, Jeffrey Archer captures the essence of each character, you become the character and see through their eyes. I have just purchased the next two books in the series and can't wait to see what happens to Harry Clifton highly recommend this book, l caution you purchase Sins of the Father also. Happy reading
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1 review
Only Time Will Tell
October 20th, 2015
For the most part, a very enjoyable read: held my interest, well-written. However, the last few chapters were not realistic and the author leaves the reader hanging so we will read the next book - a tactic I detest and is why I gave it just 3 stars.
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1 review
Lovely
October 4th, 2015
This book is a page turner. Nice book to read during the summer. Never knew that the British aristocrats were so arrogant and pompous.
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1 review
Only Time Will Tell
July 22nd, 2015
This book is so well written that it is very difficult to put down. I have almost finished reading the second book in the series and can't wait to pick up again on the third.
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1 review
Only Time will tell
June 12th, 2015
Jeffrey Archer is one of my favourite auhors. The start of the book was slow and had too many characters so it was confusing, However, the story picked up fromm there. I found it hard to
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1 review
A bit of history
June 5th, 2015
Sort of -- a fascinating tale of British common, noble, monies, poor etc., etc., etc. Of course the true Gentleman is a Scott!
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1 review
Only time will tell
May 17th, 2015
Amazing, very interesting and keeps you wanting to read and not put the book down. The ending surely makes you want to read the rest of the books
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1 review
Excellent read!
March 5th, 2015
First Jeffrey Archer book that I read. Could hardly wait for the second book...."Sins of The Father" which I am now reading. Even better than the first. Looking forward to the third in the series.
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1 review
A New Favourite
March 5th, 2015
An excellent read!! My first of his books, & won't be the last. Looking forward to the next in this series.
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1 review
Excellent storyline
February 16th, 2015
Have not read Jeffrey Archer for many years but tried this book and found it to be a "hard to leave down" book.Characters are solid and believeable.Description of the period confirms stories told by my grandparents I.e. Class distinction very prevalent.
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1 review
Only Time Will Tell
February 11th, 2015
I was intrigued by the story of Harry Clifton and his two classmates. Harry came from humble beginnings while the others came from money and class. Still they were competing for rankings and scholarships to reach Oxford. How their friendship developed and their lives intertwined held my interest to the very end. I'm ready to jump into the next in the series.
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1 review
Page turner
February 9th, 2015
This booked evokes a range of strong emotions . I found it to drag on a bit, but it is expected when getting the story from different character's perspective. I enjoyed the twist and turns and look forward to book #2.
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1 review
Easy quick read
February 7th, 2015
This novel is an easy quick read that is interesting although the 'twists and turns' are predictable. What is annoying the ending which is an obvious ploy to get you to continue to read the series (which I probably will but annoying all the same!).
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1 review
4 of 4 people found this helpful
Archer does it again!!!
January 31st, 2015
I picked up this book in paper form - didn't realize it was part of a series. Now I can't wait (a) to read the previous novels in the series and, but especially, (b) for the next novel in the series to come out. Talk about a cliff-hanger ending. Definitely a good read.
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1 review
Page turner!
January 4th, 2015
Well fleshed_out characters in this historical ficture set in pre-Ww Ii England. Can,t wait for sequel.
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1 review
Only Time Will Tell
November 16th, 2014
Great, can't wait to start book 2
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1 review
July 25th, 2014
as usual Archer's books are fantastic. Not sure if a sequel is coming. His earlier books are very reverting and a must read - there is a different theme in each books - Though I am not sure I would like to read a continuance of this family saga.
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1 review
July 19th, 2014
Always enjoy a generational book from this author. He keeps me coming back from more every time.. Multiple settings are always of interest.
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1 review
July 3rd, 2014
Jeffrey Archer is always an enjoyable read. The story moves at a good pace and often goes where you don't expect it to
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1 review
Only time Will Tell
June 16th, 2014
An another wonder start of a J Archer series.
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1 review
Can't wait to finish the series
May 29th, 2014
Twists and turns and a brilliant story.
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1 review
Excellent read.
May 18th, 2014
As I read this book, I forgot I wasn't reading a classic along the lines of Dickens. Although this is a familiar story line, it was in no way trite or overdone. There were surprises aplenty and many gripping moments. I will not go into the plot, as I don't wish to give anything awa, but I will say I found the story compelling. I found many characters that could have walked right out of the book and into real life. I didn't find any of the characters to be unbelievable or two dimensional. Overal, it was a well written and enjoyable book. I am very glad I finally got to read a Jeffrey Archer book. I had heard that he was a great author, and I have found that the reality of his book far surpassed anything I was expecting. I highly recommend this book to anyone.
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1 review
Only time will tell
May 3rd, 2014
Very unrealistic! More representative of a Harlequin romance than an English saga of war time generations. Does not entice me to read the second Chronicle.
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1 review
Only time will tell
April 25th, 2014
First in a series. Looking forward to the next installment.
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1 review
Only Time Will Tell
April 14th, 2014
As The Crow Flies was my , out favourite novel ever. This comes a very close second. Can't wait to read the Sins of the Father.
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1 review
1 person found this helpful
Only time will tell
April 13th, 2014
Fast moving. Interesting writing style .
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1 review
Great book
April 9th, 2014
Always love Jeffrey's books can't wait to read the rest of the series
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1 review
Clifton chronicles
April 4th, 2014
I love epic stories that tell the history of generations of family. Can't wait to read #2 and #3
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1 review
Grest read
March 16th, 2014
I can't wait for tje sequel. All the characters were interesting.
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1 review
March 11th, 2014
Throughly enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the 2nd in the series. It was hard to put down. The characters were riveting.
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1 review
5 of 6 people found this helpful
March 6th, 2014
A great book. I could not put it down. The story is well written, and its a page turner. You feel like you are in the book relating with all the characters.
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1 review
Only Time Will Tell
March 5th, 2014
An enjoyable read.
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1 review
Only time will tell
March 1st, 2014
I really enjoyed this well written, intriguing, novel. Mr. Archer brings to life the human struggles of poverty against wealth and the determination of a loving mother to give her son a chance at a better life. The twists and turns of a small town mentality are not only believable, they get you thinking. Wonderful read, highly recommend.
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1 review
Loved it!
February 25th, 2014
From the moment I picked up this book I could not put it down. By the time you reach the bottom of one page you can't wait to see what is on the next.
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1 review
February 25th, 2014
I read Kane and Abel, it was a great book. When I read Only Time Will Tell I just confirmed how wonderful this author is .
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1 review
February 23rd, 2014
I really enjoyed this book and couldn't wait to begin the 2nd in the series - Sins of the Father - that I'm reading right now. I liked the way the story is told through the different characters. It allows the reader to see the same story from different angles. Mr. Archer is a good writer who keeps the story flowing. Interesting characters in an interesting time period. All round good read.
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1 review
Amazing
February 6th, 2014
The way he weaves all the characters lives together is so amazing and makes it hard to put the book down. I feel that when I don't read the book for a while I am leaving the characters in a lurch. I have been a fan of Jeffrey Archer's since I read Kane and Abel back in high school and this book does not disappoint.
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1 review
6 of 7 people found this helpful
January 24th, 2014
Jeffrey Archer never fails with his riveting page turners they just keeps you going. Throughout the whole trilogy the twists and turns and wanting to find out what happens next I could not put the book down, but that's how all his novels are. You get caught up emotionally with the characters and join the roller coaster ride. Wait till you read the last page of this trilogy Best Kept Secret!!
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1 review
January 23rd, 2014
Jeffrey Archer is one of my favorite fiction authors. These series go along a similar plot line as Kane and Abel. If you liked Kane and Abel, I believe you will also like this book.
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1 review
Good read
January 3rd, 2014
Very good novel now I can read my christmas present :)
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1 review
Only time will tell
December 14th, 2013
What an awful trick to end a book without finishing the story. I regard this as literary blackmail!
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1 review
Only time will Tell.
December 5th, 2013
Couldn't put this books down. Read all 3 as soon as they became available.
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1 review
September 14th, 2013
The hero of this story reminded me of Harry Potter, but without the magic part. A boy full of talent that evolves into manhood with resilience and good values. A family story with an interesting point of view from each of the main characters.
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1 review
Loved the characters!!
January 23rd, 2013
Can't wait for next one!!!
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1 review
Great read
January 8th, 2013
I so enjoyed this book and am now ready to dive into the second book of this series. Had to purchase this book on Kobo as I have the second one from the library. Jeffery Archer is a great story teller and love the history he feeds into his tales.
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1 review

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