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Monday, March 31, 2014
By Robin Shukla

This is a Pan Macmillan page, thanks to them having Jeffrey Archer in their stable. It all started way back in March 2011 with Only Time Will Tell, followed by The Sins of the Father in March 2012.  Best Kept Secret came out a year later in March 2013, and now, in March 2014, with Be Careful What You Wish For, the fourth novel in the five-book Clifton Chronicles series, Jeffrey Archer takes the gripping saga forward.

There is always someone waiting to bring you down
Be Careful What You Wish For by Jeffrey Archer comes as Clifton Chronicles volume number four, with one book being written each year since March 2011. The fifth and final effort is slated for March 2015, we wish and gather.The Family tree chart provided at the start in each book does only so much to help recap the entire saga till date. We are therefore putting on this page our reviews of the earlier books so that readers can opt to pick up the series in one lot. Friends who have looked this book over and have also read the previous three over the years, did admit to using the Internet for a sort of refresher course on the past books in the interests of re-establishing continuity. The book starts with Harry and Emma rushing to the hospital where Sebastian and Bruno have been brought in after a terrible car accident, which was actually an attempt on Sebastian's life by Bruno's father, Don Pedro Martinez, who is not aware that the boys are together. Martinez is the villain in this book too and goes about trying to destroy the Cliftons and the Barringtons. Emma is involved in Barrington Shipping and there is an attempt by Martinez to get Alex Fisher to destroy the firm just as it it going about with an ambitious plan to launch its transatlantic luxury liner. Virginia Fenwick too comes in to ruin the marriage plans of Jessica, the adopted daughter of Harry and Emma. A new entrant in the plot, Cedric Hardcastle, gets on the board of Barrington Shipping and shakes its foundations.
Be Careful What You Wish For
by Jeffrey Archer

There is no escaping consequences
Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer, is the first of five novels comprising the Clifton Chronicles, and revolves around the main protagonist, Harry Clifton. It spans the period from 1920 to the outbreak of the Second World War in 1940, covering the first twenty years of Clifton's life.

Harry Clifton, struggling to stay alive in the backstreets of Bristol, has to cope with the tragedy of his father’s death during World War 1. The shock only gets compounded when he learns that the man he always thought was his father and a war hero at that, wasn’t really his real father. To Harry, who has always believed since childhood that his father was killed in WW1, this revelation about not being the son of the man he knew as his Dad, comes as a truth he hates to face, but has still to delve under. The painful truth comes at a time when, after losing everything in the tragedy of the war, he was only starting to put his life together, piece by piece.

World War II breaks out and Harry has to decide whether to continue with his studies at Oxford or enlist and fight against Nazi Germany.The uniqueness in this book is how Archer changes narration as the story progresses so readers can follow events from the perspective of key characters and one is let in on secrets which the other players in the book are not aware of. Archer is a brilliant storyteller, and this book is replete with his trademark wit and intelligence.
Only Time Will Tell
by Jeffrey Archer
Price Rs.325

When loyalties get stretched
The Sins of the Father by Jeffrey Archer is the second Clifton Chronicles book. The misgivings that Harry Clifton had in Only Time Will Tell, about who his real father was, now destroy his marriage while he and Emma Barrington are at the altar and Hugo Barrington stands up to announce that he is Harry’s father. To escape the trauma and give Emma a clean chance elsewhere, Harry moves away to join the Merchant Navy. This scandal has also hurt Giles Barrington, Emma’s brother and dear friend to Harry.Britain declares war on Germany, and Harry’s ship is sunk in the Atlantic by a German U-boat. Harry and an American officer on board the ship, Tom Bradshaw, are among the few survivors. When the officer dies, Harry assumes the identity of Tom Bradshaw, to unpredictably disastrous consequences as Tom is wanted for the murder of his brother, Bill Bradshaw. Harry, on landing in New York, is arrested for first degree murder. A crooked lawyer, Sefton Jelks, convinces him to plead guilty to a lesser charge of desertion. Harry gets six years in jail but continues to conceal his identity because of his love for Emma, and because accepting Tom’s identity would ensure that 10,000 dollars will be sent to his mother, Maisie, in England. Emma, gives birth to Harry’s child, learns Harry is still alive, and sets off for America. Giles goes off to war, gets glory and recognition for valour at Tobruk in Egypt. When Sir Walter dies, ever the corrupt villain, Hugo takes over the Barrington shipping enterprise, only to run it aground.
The Sins of the Father
by Jeffrey Archer

When the odds are stacked against you
Best Kept Secret by Jeffrey Archer was the third Clifton Chronicles book, and the story matured into an engrossing page turner. Apart from ruining the marriage plans of Harry Clifton and Emma Barrington by announcing that Harry was his son, Emma’s father, Hugo Barrington also created a problem of inheritance between Harry and his friend, Giles Barrington, who by virtue of the announcement, has also become a brother.Harry and Emma disregard the slur of consanguinity. Harry is now a well accepted thriller writer and Giles a Member of Parliament facing another round of campaigning. However, a rogue element, Major Alex Fisher, who has had run-ins with Harry as well as Giles, conspires Giles' ex-fiancee, Virginia, and with the help of a private eye of shifting loyalties and a trader based in Hong Kong,  manipulates shares to get greater powers on the board of Barrington’s shipping companies. However, some clever manoeuvring sees Fisher outplayed and Virginia divested of her hold on Giles and the family.Harry and Emma's bonny boy, Sebastian, helping uncle Giles with his electioneering, detects a fraud being perpetrated by Fisher in the counting of votes, and ensures victory for his uncle. Sebastian has trouble in school for consorting with a serving maid and for smoking, endangering his chance for further education at Cambridge. He also has befriended Bruno Martinez, whose rich father has hobnobbed with the Nazis and is spreading counterfeit British currency around. Sebastian becomes an unwitting collaborator. There is also a sister/aunt Jessica who Emma has rescued. Awaiting book numbers four and five.
Best Kept Secret
by Jeffrey Archer

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