Title: This Was A Man
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Series: The Clifton Chronicles (Book 7)
Publisher: Pan MacMillan
Genre: Historical Fiction, Family Saga
First Publication: 2016
Major Characters: Harry Clifton, Sebastian Clifton, Giles Barrington, Emma Barrington, Lady Virginia, Margaret Thatcher, Adrian Sloane, Jessica, Grace
Narration: Third Person
Preceded by: Cometh The Hour
Book Summary: This Was A Man
This Was a Man opens with a shot being fired, but who pulled the trigger, and who lives and who dies? In Whitehall, Giles Barrington discovers the truth about his wife Karin from the Cabinet Secretary. Is she a spy or a pawn in a larger game?
Harry Clifton sets out to write his magnum opus, while his wife Emma completes her ten years as Chairman of the Bristol Royal Infirmary, and receives an unexpected call from Margaret Thatcher offering her a job.
Sebastian Clifton becomes chairman of Farthings Kaufman bank after Hakim Bishara resigns for personal reasons. Sebastian and his wife Samantha’s talented daughter, Jessica, is expelled from the Slade School of Fine Art, but her aunt Grace comes to her rescue.
Lady Virginia is about to flee the country to avoid her creditors when the Duchess of Hertford dies, and sees another opportunity to clear her debts and finally trump the Cliftons and the Barringtons. In a devastating twist, tragedy engulfs the Clifton family when one of them receives a shocking diagnosis that will throw all their lives into turmoil.
Book Review: This Was A Man
We’ve finally come to the last installment in the Clifton Chronicles series. What was originally supposed to be a trilogy eventually turned into an amazing seven book series spanning more than 60 years, and I’m so glad it did. I have waited for this book (thankfully not so long in between book 6 and 7 this time!) to put an end to this fantastic series. I enjoyed every word and didn’t want the book to finish.
This opens with a gunshot, but who dies? As the shot rings out Giles Barrington is being told the truth about his wife Karin. Harry Clifton sets himself the task of writing his magnum opus and as Emma Clifton completes her ten years as chairman of the Bristol Royal Infirmary she receives an unexpected job offer from Margaret Thatcher. Sebastian Clifton becomes chairman of Farthings Kaufman bank, his daughter Jessica is expelled but can her aunt Grace save the day? Lady Virginia is about to flee the country when she spots a final opportunity to trump the Clifton/ Barringtons. Then as their lives settle one of them receives a shock diagnosis that will shatter the family dynamics.
“Winston Churchill had once told him, “An important speech should take an hour to write for every minute it took to deliver, while at the same time, dear boy, you must leave your audience convinced it was off the cuff.”
‘This Was A Man’ is the excellent final installment to the Clifton Chronicles and Archer proves yet again why he is a master storyteller.
This is an excellent family saga for anyone that enjoys this genre of books. The seven books cover the period from the 1920s until the early 1990s, covering the life of Harry Clifton and what a life he had! He was certainly a great central character but a good group of characters were built up across the seven books.
This book brought the series to a good conclusion rounding off some elements that ran through the books. I didn’t realize how attached I’d become to the characters until the events in the last couple of chapters in this book that really got to me! Emotions to the fore! This just told me how good a job the author had done in these books and how well written they were. I also like the way World and British events were integrated in with the family’s story. If I had one gripe it would be that I would have liked to see the Lady Virginia Fenwick get a greater comeuppance! I will definitely miss these characters and the books. If you haven’t read them yet, get reading!