Unabridged Access

23 February 2016

Keeping Up with the Cliftons

Our Publisher’s Assistant, Alex, shares her new-found love for Jeffrey Archer’s Clifton family saga.

only time will tell - book 1 the clifton chroniclesWhen I began listening to Jeffrey Archer’s first Clifton Chronicles audiobook, Only Time Will Tell, I was not convinced I was going to like the series. I’ve never watched an episode of Downton Abbey and British family dramas do not fall in my wheelhouse, but that was the type of audience I had heard would most likely be fans. In the end though, The Clifton Chronicles was so popular among other listeners that I decided to see what all of the fuss was about . . . and I was not disappointed.

I have only listened to Only Time Will Tell thus far, and I’m so glad that I happened to start the series in the year that it will end (the final book, for which Archer recently announced the title, will be released this fall!). Harry Clifton is now one of my favorite leading male characters across all fiction. This first book essentially chronicles Harry’s young adult life—from childhood into his twenties—and focuses in on the mystery of Harry’s parentage and the lengths to which his mother, Maisie, is forced to go in the face of this burdensome secret and her low income to provide for a young man who has the potential to achieve far beyond his current station. Maisie is the fictional mighty mom of the last century. It is because of her and Harry’s mentor and stand-in father figure, Boer war hero Old Jack Tar, that Harry is able to become a mature, intelligent gentleman. Besides Harry, Maisie, and Old Jack, there is an entire cast of characters to keep this story fully engaging. The audio moves between characters like Harry, Maisie, and Old Jack, along with other members of the Barrington family—a family Harry becomes closely tied to in more ways than one. It’s a family drama, it’s a love story, it’s a survival story and it’s a story that has so many characters that it is easy to find yourself relating to at least one.

Each of the novels in The Clifton Chronicles covers large expanses of time and many events through multiple perspectives, making it as much a sweeping epic as it was an addictive, edge-of-your-seat thriller. Listen to an excerpt of Only Time Will Tell, the first book in Jeffrey Archer’s The Clifton Chronicles:

BONUS! Listen to an excerpt of the penultimate volume in the series, Cometh the Hour, available now wherever audiobooks are sold:

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