Imagine living your life over and over again, with each iteration presenting the opportunity to make different choices and experience new outcomes. In “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August,” acclaimed author Claire North takes you on a thrilling journey through the mind of a man who is born, lives, and dies, only to be reborn again with the memories of his past lives intact. As you delve into the pages of this mesmerizing novel, you will be captivated by the intricate twists and turns of Harry August’s multiple lives, and drawn into the mystery that lies at the core of his existence.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

This image is property of

Plot Summary

A Nod of Approval

In “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” by Claire North, the story begins with the birth of Harry August, an ordinary child with an extraordinary ability. As Harry grows up, he soon discovers that he is not like other people – he is a kalachakra, someone who is born again after death, retaining his memories and experiences from his previous lives. This discovery is met with a nod of approval from Vincent Rankis, another kalachakra who reveals the existence of a secretive society known as the Cronus Club.

A Life That Keeps Repeating

Harry August’s life takes on a cyclical pattern as he continues to die and be reborn, living the same life over and over again. Each time he is reborn, Harry retains the memories and knowledge of his previous lives, which gives him a unique perspective on the world. However, this repetitive existence comes with its own challenges and existential dilemmas.

The Cronus Club

Through the Cronus Club, a group of kalachakras, Harry learns about the rules and responsibilities that come with his unique ability. The club operates in secret and seeks to prevent major changes to history. However, when a message travels back in time warning of the imminent end of the world, Harry inadvertently becomes embroiled in a battle against another kalachakra, Angharad Mead, who seeks to bring about the apocalypse.

The Child Who Remembers Everything

During Harry’s many lives, he encounters another kalachakra named Rose Tamworth, who possesses a remarkable ability to remember every detail of her past lives. Together, they form a deep bond and partnership, working together to solve the mystery of the impending apocalypse. Through their friendship, Harry begins to question his own purpose and his place in the world.

The End of the World

As Harry and Rose delve deeper into the mystery, they uncover a plot to use time travel to manipulate history and bring about the destruction of the world. With the help of Gruffudd, a rogue member of the Cronus Club, they attempt to save humanity from annihilation. Their journey takes them across time and space, as they race against the clock to prevent the catastrophic events that will lead to the end of the world.

Main Characters

Harry August

Harry August is the protagonist of the story, a kalachakra who relives his life over and over again. Through his many iterations, he learns about the complexities of his existence and the responsibilities that come with his unique abilities. Harry strives to make a positive impact on the world and prevent the impending apocalypse.

Vincent Rankis

Vincent Rankis is an influential member of the Cronus Club, who mentors Harry and introduces him to the secret society. Vincent recognizes the significance of Harry’s abilities and becomes a guiding presence in his life.

Angharad Mead

Angharad Mead, another kalachakra, becomes the main antagonist of the story. She seeks to use her time-traveling abilities to alter history and bring about the end of the world. Angharad represents the darker side of immortality, consumed by power and willing to do whatever it takes to achieve her goals.

Rose Tamworth

Rose Tamworth is another kalachakra who becomes Harry’s close friend and confidante. Unlike Harry, Rose possesses the ability to remember every detail of her past lives. Together, they work to uncover the truth behind the impending apocalypse and fight against Angharad’s plans.


Gruffudd is a member of the Cronus Club who becomes disillusioned with the organization’s motives. He helps Harry and Rose in their quest to save humanity, providing them with crucial information and navigating the complexities of time travel.

Dr. Lorna Godefroy

Dr. Lorna Godefroy is a scientist who plays a pivotal role in the plot. Specializing in quantum physics, she assists Harry and his companions in understanding the science behind time travel and unravels the mysteries of their unique abilities.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

This image is property of


Identity and Self-discovery

Throughout the novel, the theme of identity and self-discovery is prominent. As Harry relives his life, he grapples with questions of who he truly is and what his purpose is in the grand scheme of things. This exploration of identity extends to the other characters as well, as they confront their own pasts and reconcile their actions in previous lives.

Mortality and Immortality

The concept of mortality and immortality is a central theme in the story. Harry’s ability to be reborn and retain his memories gives him a taste of immortality, but it also comes with the burden of witnessing the passage of time and the flaws of humanity. The eternal nature of his existence forces him to confront questions of what it means to truly live and the value of finite existence.

Time and Fate

Time and fate are interwoven throughout the narrative. The characters navigate the complexities of time travel and its impact on the course of history. As they discover the existence of the Cronus Club and the kalachakras’ responsibility to maintain the temporal order, they confront the idea that their actions and choices can alter the future.

Humanity and Responsibility

The theme of humanity and responsibility explores the ethical implications of the characters’ abilities. As kalachakras, they have the power to shape the course of history, but must grapple with the consequences of their actions. The story raises questions about the moral obligations that come with capabilities beyond average human capacity.

Friendship and Betrayal

The bonds of friendship are explored in the relationships between the characters. Harry and Rose’s friendship serves as a pillar of support, as they face the challenges of unravelling the mystery and saving the world. However, betrayal also plays a significant role, as characters are forced to question their loyalties and navigate the complexities of trust.

Writing Style

Narrative Structure

“The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” is written in a non-linear narrative structure. The story moves seamlessly between past and present, as Harry’s various lives are intertwined. This structure allows the reader to experience the cyclical nature of Harry’s existence and adds depth to the exploration of time and memory.

Character Development

The novel excels in character development, particularly with Harry August. As he relives his life, the reader witnesses his growth and evolution as he confronts the challenges and dilemmas posed by his unique abilities. Other characters also undergo transformative journeys, grappling with their identities and motivations.

Worldbuilding and Historical Accuracy

Claire North’s worldbuilding is immersive and intricately detailed. The novel spans different time periods and locations, capturing the essence of each era with historical accuracy. The author seamlessly integrates the fantastical elements of time travel into a believably grounded world, supplementing the story with a rich tapestry of historical events and cultural references.

Engaging and Accessible Language

The language used throughout the novel is engaging and accessible, allowing readers to easily connect with the narrative and the characters. Claire North’s prose combines poetic elegance with a casual conversational tone, creating a captivating reading experience that keeps the pages turning.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

This image is property of


Science Fiction

“The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” falls under the science fiction genre, primarily due to its exploration of time travel and its implications. The novel delves into the scientific and philosophical aspects of time travel, offering a unique and thought-provoking take on the genre.


The story also carries elements of a thriller, as Harry and his companions race against time to uncover the truth and prevent the apocalypse. The high stakes and constant sense of urgency keep readers on the edge of their seats, eagerly turning pages to unravel the mysteries of the plot.


A sense of mystery permeates the novel, as Harry and Rose uncover hidden secrets and attempt to piece together the puzzle of the impending apocalypse. The reader is kept in suspense, eagerly awaiting the resolution of the mysteries that unfold throughout the narrative.

Time Travel

Time travel is a central concept in the story, allowing characters to navigate different time periods and alter the course of history. The novel explores the consequences and complexities of time travel, leading to a deeper understanding of the ramifications of manipulating the temporal order.


Critical Acclaim

“The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” received widespread critical acclaim upon its publication. Critics praised the intricate storytelling, the immersive worldbuilding, and the philosophical themes explored throughout the narrative. The novel was celebrated for its unique take on time travel and its thought-provoking exploration of immortality and human existence.

Award Nominations and Wins

The novel garnered several award nominations and wins. It was shortlisted for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel and the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Claire North’s skillful storytelling and imaginative premise earned her a nomination for the British Fantasy Society Award for Best Newcomer.

Readers’ Response

Readers responded enthusiastically to “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August”. Many praised the complex and relatable characters, the gripping plot, and the thought-provoking themes. The novel garnered a dedicated following, with readers applauding Claire North’s ability to seamlessly blend genres and create a compelling narrative.


Film Adaptation

“The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” is currently in development for a film adaptation. The project has generated excitement among fans, who eagerly anticipate seeing the story come to life on the big screen.

TV Series Adaptation

In addition to the film adaptation, there are also plans to adapt the novel into a television series. The episodic format could allow for a more in-depth exploration of the characters and the intricacies of the plot, further immersing viewers in the world of Harry August.


Claire North

Claire North is the pseudonym of British author Catherine Webb. Known for her inventive storytelling and genre-blending narratives, North has gained recognition for her novels that explore philosophical and speculative concepts. “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” is one of her most celebrated works, showcasing her unique voice and ability to captivate readers with her imaginative storytelling.

Publication History

Release Date

“The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” was first published on April 8, 2014, by Orbit Books. Since its release, the novel has garnered widespread acclaim and a dedicated fan base.


The novel has been translated into multiple languages, allowing readers worldwide to enjoy the thought-provoking story and unique premise. Translations include editions in Spanish, French, German, Italian, and many more.

Other Editions

In addition to the original hardcover and paperback editions, “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” is also available in e-book and audiobook formats. The audiobook version, narrated by Peter Kenny, received high praise for its engaging performance.


“The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” is a captivating and thought-provoking novel that seamlessly blends genres while exploring complex themes. Claire North’s adept storytelling and character development create an immersive reading experience that keeps readers engaged from start to finish. With its critical acclaim, dedicated fan base, and upcoming adaptations, the impact and legacy of this novel are sure to endure. Reflecting on time, identity, and the human experience, “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” offers a compelling narrative that sparks discussion and leaves readers pondering the mysteries of life and the choices we make.