Only Time Will Tell (Archer) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers talking points to start a discussion for Time Will Tell...then take off on your own:

1. What's the significance of the novel's title, "Only Time Will Tell"? How does it apply to events in the story?

2. What do you think of young Harry Clifton? How would you describe his character?

3. In what way is Harry influenced by his uncle?

4. Did you have an idea as to Harry's paternity? Or were you taken by surprise?

5. Talk about Maisie, Harry's mother. Would you have made the sacrifice that she made for her son? Does her wish for him to have a good life justify her choices?

6. What about young Harry's experiences at boarding school? How does class hierarchy and social snobbery make itself felt at the school?

7. A fun thought experiment: what do you think of Harry's essay on Jane Austen, which purports that...

If Miss Austen had been able to go to university, she might never have written a novel, and even if she had, her work probably wouldn’t have been so insightful.

When challenged by his housemaster, Harry replies that "sometimes it's an advantage to be disadvantaged."

Two questions: 1) what do you think of Harry's statement regarding Austen; 2) what about Harry's response that being disadvantaged can be positive?

8. In what way does Archer draw Harry as a young hero with an almost a mythical quest? What is Harry's quest? And what role, for instance, does Old Jack Tar play in his quest? What about Captain Tarrant?

9. Why might Archer have used different voices to tell his story? What advantages does it offer a writer? Do you find the shifting perspectives illuminating...or distracting? Do you prefer some voices over others? Roger Allam, perhaps, or Emelia Fox?

10. Does the fact that the book ends with a cliff-hanger make you eager for the next installment in the series? Or do you wish this book's ending had offered more closure...a gentler "angel of repose"?

11. A number of readers and critics feel the plot is predictable. Do you agree or disagree? How did you experience the book—with excitement and suspense? Or were you turning pages because ... well, just because pages are meant to be turned?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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