Historical Fiction,  Review

#BookReview : This Was a Man (The Clifton Chronicles #7) by Jeffrey Archer #HistoricalFiction

This Was a Man(The Clifton Chronicles #7)by Jeffrey Archer
Publication Date : November 3rd 2016
Publisher : Macmillan
Genre : Historical Fiction
Pages : 420

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This Was a Man is the captivating final instalment of the Clifton Chronicles, a series of seven novels that has topped the bestseller lists around the world, and enhanced Jeffrey Archer’s reputation as a master storyteller.

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, but only after Hakim Bishara has to resign for personal reasons. Sebastian and Samantha’s talented daughter, Jessica, is expelled from the Slade School of Fine Art, but her aunt Grace comes to her rescue.

Meanwhile, Lady Virginia is about to flee the country to avoid her creditors when the Duchess of Hertford dies, and she sees another opportunity to clear her debts and finally trump the Cliftons and 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.

Previous books I read in Series:

Book 1 Only Time Will Tell
Book 2 The Sins of the Father
Book 3 Best Kept Secret 
Book 4 Be Careful What You Wish For
Book 5 Mightier Than the Sword
Book 6 Cometh the Hour 

This Was a Man was excellent last book of the series that revolved around Cliftons and Barrigtons’ life. It was about family and professional drama, secrets, scheming, life challenge, and good vs bad.

Finally, I have finished this series. It was getting tougher to review this series from 5th book and there is little I can tell differently except what characters have achieved, what they were facing and how developed and wise they were getting with each book.

Writing was as always amazingly gripping, flawless with right emotion, tension and humour. It was multiple third person narrative told from Harry, Emma, Giles, Sebastian, Jessica, and Virginia’s perspective that started in 1978 picking up from the end of previous book and ended in 1992 with so much happening in between.

It was character driven story started with tense beginning with uncertainty of what happened to Karin and how Giles will react when Cabinet secretary reveals the truth about Karin and what Emma and Harry will find on demolition of Maple Leaf ship, if they will find Harry’s father or not, and if he was the real father or it was Hugo Barrington. I was curious to find out how that was going to affect them.

It was pretty clear in early chapters, nothing happened to Karin and Giles surprisingly forgave Karin. (I think it was too easy). Most surprising thing was family was selling Barrington shipping. Even more surprising was I felt sad for Desmond for first time. He got what he deserved but at the same time I wished he didn’t have to suffer and go to jail alone. What he did in desperation, how his risky plan turned out, and what happened to his travel company was tense and thrilling to read. Finally, Sloan and Knowles got what they deserved and were out of Cliftons’ life.

I enjoyed the way Sebastian dealt with Mellor travel and Sorkin but also felt bad for him as his client had to pay more than they decided. His conversations with family and other characters was interesting to read and he made me laugh often. I even loved him for handling Jessica’ infatuation and trouble it caused to family. It was tense to read his conflict with his best friend. At one point I thought Victor was going to destroy bank but I liked how author ended tension between them.

I’m still thinking how Virginia lasted so long! This was most cunning character in history of literature whose luck lasted more than one can imagine. When she was facing bankruptcy I thought this might be her end but this wily woman found another wealthy victim to pay for her debts and her expenses. I thought family would never figure out what she was doing but knowing author, I knew she was going to get her comeuppance but even before that she didn’t miss her chance to strike on Cliftons and Barringtons because of Jessica’s naivety. Best part of her narration was auction of vase and what happened during and after auction.

Giles and Karin were good. Their closeness with Freddie- Virginia’s or should I say her brother’s adopted son as she abandoned Freddie as soon as she got what she wanted – was not something I expected in this book. Most interesting part was village vs castle cricket match and his battle against his sister in House of Lords. It was most interesting battle and I didn’t want him or Emma lose as both were my favourite and still, I knew he was best at handling defeat. I admired their brother-sister relationship. Even though they were in cut throat competition, at the end of day or political drama they stood waiting for each other to celebrate victory.

Emma’s achievements were amazing throughout series and even in this book she showed how much more she could achieve. She was now Baroness, a health minister of conservative party. She showed every member of House of Lords, she was as formidable as her brother. I laughed when she stole views of PPRA on Jessica’s RA School Gold medal entry portrait. What happened to her in climax and at the end was tragic and emotional. Another best bit was Clifton and Barrington’s Christmas resolutions.

Harry was best throughout the series and in this book as well. He ended William Warwick at last and fulfilled his mother’s wish by writing another great and best book of his life. His support to all characters was inspiring. No husband can be as great as him who supported Emma at every stage of life.

All of characters were realistic and relatable. By now you must have figured there were many shocking and surprising events and clever twist and turns with some memorable and entertaining scenes. Historical events of fall of Berlin wall was mesmerising to read.

Climax was most shocking of all. I knew one character was going to receive terrible diagnosis but couldn’t figure out who and what was the condition until it was revealed in climax. It was sad to read pain and suffering of family. End was emotional and Giles’ tribute to the best man of the book made it touching.


This Was a Man was captivating and well written historical fiction filled with twist and turns and drama.

Book Links : Goodreads | Amazon
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I hope you enjoyed this post and my review. Let me know in comments if you have read this book or any book by the same author. Which series you read had perfect ending?

Happy Reading!

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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”


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