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Only Time Will Tell


Only Time Will Tell (The Clifton Chronicles) - Summary

This MDX formatted summary provides an overview of Jeffrey Archer's "Only Time Will Tell," the first novel in the Clifton Chronicles series.

Main Characters

  • Harry Clifton: The protagonist, whose life story begins in 1920. A dock worker in Bristol, Harry's life takes a dramatic turn after receiving a scholarship to an exclusive school.

Plot Overview

"Only Time Will Tell" revolves around the life of Harry Clifton, starting from 1920. The novel opens with Harry learning about his father's death in the war. This event sets off a series of changes in his life.

Early Life and Education

  • Harry, initially a dock worker, is exposed to new opportunities after winning a scholarship to a prestigious boys' school.
  • This educational opportunity marks a significant departure from his expected life path.


  • Family and Legacy: Harry's journey is deeply intertwined with his family's history and the legacy of his father.
  • Ambition and Triumph: The story showcases Harry's ambition as he navigates through the challenges of his new life.


The novel is notable for its detailed portrayal of a family's saga across generations. It explores the impact of personal history and circumstances on one's life choices and destiny.


"Only Time Will Tell" sets the stage for an expansive narrative that spans across various books in the Clifton Chronicles. It lays the groundwork for exploring complex themes of identity, legacy, and the influence of the past on the future.