Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer

A quick rundown…The story of Harry Clifton and his entanglement with the Barrington family. Part One of a trilogy.

Strengths: Fantastic action and plot.

Weaknesses: Hearing the same event from another character’s point of view gets a bit boring.

Why I read it: Enjoy historical fiction family sagas.

Pages: 343 (ebook)

Published: 2011

Publisher: Macmillan

Setting: England (primarily Bristol), the high seas

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

If you liked this, try: Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

For some inexplicable reason, this series is linked in my mind with Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants. Is it that they both deal with families and war? Or that they will both be a trilogy? While Jeffrey Archer’s prose may not be quite as eloquent and detailed as Ken Follett’s, he does have several benefits:

  1. He can write a page turner that will keep you up late at night. You can’t just stop reading this, there’s always a twist that will make you think, ‘just one more chapter’.
  2. The books are easier to lift than Mr Follett’s chunksters. Still better if you’re reading the ebook!
  3. The sequel, Sins of the Father is already out in hardcover and ebook in Australia. (The sequel to Fall of Giants will be released in September 2012 in the UK and USA. Not release date for Australia as yet).

Archer’s book deals with Harry Clifton, who never knew his father after he disappeared, presumed dead. The book deals with Harry’s life from birth to university days. We hear about Harry’s life from various points of view – from Harry himself, his mother, his friends, mentors and lovers. This is useful because you can get different points of view on one particular event, but sometimes hearing each person’s version of events can be tedious. You know what’s going to happen and you’re looking out for the titbit that adds another dimension to the mystery of the death of Harry’s father. This improves later on in the book as Harry goes to secondary school and then on to university. The subplot about how Maisie, Harry’s mother, tries to raise the fees for Harry’s private school, is also interesting with lots of unexpected events! This book is certainly never dull.

The last few chapters of the book are a real twist in events and the action steps up a lot of notches. Don’t expect a resolution at the end either – this is only the first book in the trilogy and there’s a lot more to come! If you have peeked at the jacket of the sequel, things will make much more sense after reading the closing chapters.

If you haven’t read this book and enjoy plot driven family saga style historical fiction, I’d recommend you read it, as you can read the sequel straight after! It’s not deep, but a lot of fun. Book 3 of the series will be called Best Kept Secret.


3 thoughts on “Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer

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  1. I just stopped by from The Intrepid Reader and I’m so excited to see this review – I don’t know anyone else who’s read this book and your review is right on target. I read this earlier this year (behind on posting reviews) and enjoyed it enough that I put a hold on the next one at my library (still 20-something in line).

    1. Thank you 🙂 I’m waiting for the next book too – it’s so expensive to buy as it’s only available in hardcover at the moment. My library has about 40 people waiting for it – at 3 weeks each, it will be a long time! I’m hoping to get it for Christmas.

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