The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

Author – Claire North

Claire is an English author who also writes under the name of Kate Griffin and Catherine Webb.  The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August was shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clarke award, and was selected for the Radio 2, Waterstones and Richard and Judy book clubs.  She wrote her first novel when she was just 14 years old, Mirror Dreams, and has been prolific since then under her different pen names.

Her website is kategriffin.net and is on Twitter @ClaireNorth42

Publisher – Orbit

Pages – 405

The Blurb – Some stories cannot be told in just one lifetime.  No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, every time Harry dies, he always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life lived a dozen times before.  Nothing ever changes – until now.

I read this book as part of Tamworth Library’s book group.  We meet every third Tuesday of the month on the first floor.

My thoughts – What an incredible book.  I don’t usually read science fiction so was a bit apprehensive before starting.  However that was quickly swept away by the story of Harry August,  which reeled me in immediately.  Although I don’t read science fiction I am a big fan of Doctor Who, and this is in the same vein, with a lot more layers.

As Harry goes through his life he realises that he is different to other people and belongs to a small group of people, who when they die, go straight back to where they started.   The majority of these people belong to The Cronus Club, a group that literally have time on their hands. This story follows Harry as he tries to decipher what meaning his life has and whether subtle changes can alter his eventual outcome, and that of The Cronus Club.

The book is beautifully written and it is evident that a lot of research has gone into all aspects of it, there is some very technical science in it, which I won’t pretend to understand but it was written in such a way that the depth of it doesn’t distract from the story.  The story poses lots of questions one of which is what would you do with eternity?  You live the same life over and over again, do you lead hedonistic lifestyles in each or do you progress with each lifetime?  Learn new languages and travel the world, gaining knowledge, new skills?  If you knew that time isn’t progressing as it should, would you dedicate your life or lives to preventing the end of time?

The book contains a few extras.  And a two page extract of Claire North’s next book, Touch and the four chapters of The OverSight by Charlie Fletcher.

I thoroughly recommend this book, it is a brilliant read and it really got me thinking and playing out endless scenarios relating to time travel universes etc.

This book counts towards as part of my British Book Challenge

You can purchase it here


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