The Sins of the Father: Clifton Chronicles II
New York City, 1939-1945. In the second of Archer’s five-part drama (Only Time Will Tell, 2011), young Harry Clifton has a promising future in England with Emma Barrington, the girl he loves, until he discovers a family secret that drives him away. Harry joins the merchant marine, changes his identity, and lands in New York City. How and why, which may continue to mystify readers, is important to the continuing plot. Suffice it to say, Harry uses his time productively and, unbeknownst to those who love him, turns his love of books and writing into a job.
Meanwhile, Archer accounts for the rest of his cast during the next four years, which coincide with the war in Europe. Harry’s mother, Maisie Clifton, believes her son is dead; she is building a life without him. Emma won’t give up; she goes in search of Harry. Hugo Barrington, Harry’s enemy, is still trying to ruin him. Giles Barrington, Harry’s longtime friend, is with British forces in Europe. Harry’s whereabouts and activities remain a mystery.
When the reader loses sight of Harry, the star is effectively removed from the stage. The rest of the cast has to carry the plot, which is so dependent on luck and coincidence that it often seems contrived. There is very little period detail or introspection. That’s not to say the novel is dull. It’s fast moving, with numerous twists and turns and, when Harry finally resurfaces, a tantalizing ending. There’s just not enough of the bright young Englishman in The Sins of the Father. Archer fans will be eager for Harry’s return in the third volume of the Clifton Chronicles.