Summary: Olenin is an aimless young nobleman who is disenchanted with city life. Taking....+
Olenin is an aimless young nobleman who is disenchanted with city life. Taking a post as a Cadet in the army, he finds himself assigned to the remote Cossack outpost in the Caucasus. It is here, among the Tatars, the Chechens, and the Old Believers, that he will fall in love with a beautiful Cossack girl. The only problem is that she is promised to a Cossack warrior.
In the setting of what is present-day Kazakhstan, Tolstoy examines two psychological problems. The first is the dilemma of a young man who desires both fulfilling love and a place as a respected member of society. The other is the difficulty of a primitive society to accept domination by a higher culture that has no understanding of the traditions it asks its colonists to cast aside.
One of Tolstoy’s lesser-known novels, The Cossacks is one of the finest pictures of Cossack society in all of Russian literature.
Summary: When a Roman ship is wrecked on the coast of Britain, Beric, the infant son....+
When a Roman ship is wrecked on the coast of Britain, Beric, the infant son of a Roman soldier, is the only survivor. Beric grows up with a Briton tribe, but to his foster people he remained an alien, one of the Red Crests. So when bad times come, the tribe holds him responsible and casts him out.
Rejected by the only life he knew, the boy turns to his own people, but Rome too rejects him. Lost, bewildered, a captive in his father’s land, he escaped from slavery only to be captured again and condemned to labor on the rowing benches of a galley of the Rhenus Fleet. Will Beric ever find ultimate happiness?
Rosemary Sutcliff provides a fine and exciting story with a background of Roman Britain that rings true from the first page to the last.
Summary: This book is the inspiration for the Academy Award-nominated film, There Will....+
This book is the inspiration for the Academy Award-nominated film, There Will Be Blood, starring Daniel Day-Lewis.
As he did so masterfully in The Jungle, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Upton Sinclair interweaves social criticism with human tragedy to create an unforgettable portrait of Southern California’s early oil industry.
Enraged by the oil scandals of the Harding administration in the 1920s, Sinclair tells a gripping tale of avarice, corruption, and class warfare, featuring a cavalcade of characters, including senators, oil magnates, Hollywood film starlets, and a crusading evangelist. At the center of the novel are an oil developer and his son. As the story moves forward, the divide between father and son grows until the young man is fighting the very industry that brought his father great success.
Sinclair’s glorious 1927 epic endures as one of our most powerful American novels of social injustice.
Summary: Written nearly a century ago and translated into over 40 languages, this masterpiece....+
Written nearly a century ago and translated into over 40 languages, this masterpiece of historical fiction is one of the best-selling novels in history and the inspiration for the MGM motion picture of 1951. An epic of love and courage in Nero’s time, it illustrates the conflict of moral ideas within the Roman Empire at the dawn of Christianity.
Marcus, a Roman officer in Nero's army, risks his career, his family, and even his life when he falls in love with a Christian woman named Callina. In order to win Callina’s love, Marcus must come to understand the true meaning of her religion, even as Rome sinks under the excesses of Nero and Christians are thrown to the lions. Quo Vadis brims with the passion and life as it explores one of the turning points in history.
Summary: Rob Roy MacGregor is the romantic outlaw who comes alive in Sir Walter Scott’s....+
Rob Roy MacGregor is the romantic outlaw who comes alive in Sir Walter Scott’s classic epic of the passions and struggles of the Scottish border lands.
In rich, vivid prose, Rob Roy follows the adventures of Frank Osbaldistone, who falls out of favor with his father after failing to measure up to his expectations in the world of business. Sent to stay in Scotland, Frank, an innocent, Protestant Englishman, is intrigued by the wild and noble land. He finds himself drawn to the powerful, enigmatic figure of Rob Roy who, with his passionate and fierce wife Helen, fights for justice and dignity for the Scottish people.
Twists of plot, Rob Roy’s cunning escapes, uprisings against English oppressors, and Frank’s forbidden love for a Catholic girl combine with superb period detail to make this an incomparable portrait of the highlands, a great hero, and a glorious Scottish past.
Summary: Hector Monro, writing under the pseudonym of Saki, is justly renowned for his....+
Hector Monro, writing under the pseudonym of Saki, is justly renowned for his urbane and witty short stories. His eccentric characters, humorous dialogue, and engaging domestic situations all reveal a penetrating and sometimes disturbing insight into human nature. As a quixotic tour guide, Saki leads the reader from garden party to pig sty to political convention with the ease of one who is intimately familiar with the cares and foibles of the human condition, showing us this vista of life through the well-tempered lens of his gentle, British irony.
In this definitive collection of seventy short stories, we can browse and sightsee at our leisure, cross borders of fresh insight, admire and enjoy each whimsical tale as we journey through the imaginative landscape of a truly artful writer.
Summary: With swordfights and romance, adventure and treachery set against the backdrop....+
With swordfights and romance, adventure and treachery set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, this is the book that made Rafael Sabatini famous.
André-Louis Moreau has good prospects as a young lawyer, but an unfair duel with the ruthlessly cruel Count de La Tour d’Azyr leaves André-Louis’ best friend dead and André-Louis himself a fugitive from the king’s justice. While incognito, disguised as “Scaramouche,” he becomes both a wildly popular actor and a firebrand of the Revolution. His vow to avenge his friend’s murder leads him deeper into the political intrigues that surround the Revolution and to a position of power. But there are secrets to be revealed that will stun all of Paris.
One of the best historical romances of all time, Scaramouche was a bestseller upon its original publication in the United States in 1921. Today it remains a classic of swashbuckling adventure.
Summary: Ovid’s sensuous and witty poem brings together a dazzling array of mythological....+
Ovid’s sensuous and witty poem brings together a dazzling array of mythological tales, ingeniously linked by the idea of transformation, often as a result of love or lust, in which men and women find themselves magically changed into new and sometimes extraordinary beings. Beginning with the creation of the world and ending with the deification of Augustus, Ovid interweaves many of the best known myths and legends of ancient Greece and Rome, including Daedalus and Icarus, Pyramus and Thisbe, Pygmalion, Perseus and Andromeda, and the fall of Troy. Mortals become gods, animals turn to stone, and humans change into flowers, trees, or stars.
First published in a.d. 8, Ovid’s Metamorphoses remains one of the most accessible and inspirational introductions to Greek mythology.
Summary: Few works have captured the seamy side of American urban life with such graphic....+
Few works have captured the seamy side of American urban life with such graphic immediacy as Frank Norris’s McTeague. Heredity and environment play the role of fate in this portrayal of human degradation in turn-of-the-century San Francisco.
McTeague, a strong but stupid dentist, marries Trina, introduced to him by her cousin Marcus Schouler. When Trina wins $5,000 in a lottery and increases the sum by shrewd investment, Schouler, who had wanted to marry Trina himself, feels cheated. In revenge, he exposes McTeague’s lack of diploma or license. Forbidden to practice, McTeague becomes mean and surly, but the miserly Trina refuses to let him use her money, and they sink into poverty. What follows is a descent into the ultimate crime--murder--and life as a fugitive, in a tale that moves toward its harrowing conclusion with the grim power and inevitability of Classic tragedy.
Summary: Anne’s children were almost grown up, except for pretty, high-spirited Rilla.....+
Anne’s children were almost grown up, except for pretty, high-spirited Rilla. No one could resist her bright hazel eyes and dazzling smile.
Rilla, almost fifteen, can’t think any further ahead than going to her very first dance at the Four Winds Lighthouse and getting her first kiss from handsome Kenneth Ford. But undreamed-of challenges await the irrepressible Rilla when the world of Ingleside becomes endangered by a far-off war. Her brothers go off to fight, and Rilla brings home an orphaned newborn in a soup tureen. She is swept into a drama that tests her courage and leaves her changed forever.
Summary: The winsome Anne Shirley is grown, has been married to her beloved Gilbert....+
The winsome Anne Shirley is grown, has been married to her beloved Gilbert Blythe for fifteen years, and is the mother of six spirited children. When a strange family moves into a nearby mansion, Anne and her family are drawn into a host of trials, schemes and triumphs. The Meredith family is comprised of two boys and two girls, a minister father but no mother, and a runaway girl named Mary Vance. The clever and mischievous Meredith kids join Anne’s children in a private hideout to carry out plans to save Mary from the orphanage, to help the lonely minister find happiness, and to save a pet rooster from becoming a soup ingredient.
In this, another of L. M. Montgomery’s beloved books, the sun-dappled world of Rainbow Valley is always full of adventure and delight.
Summary: One of the great works of American literature, Moby-Dick is the epic tale of....+
One of the great works of American literature, Moby-Dick is the epic tale of one man’s fight against a force of nature. The outcast youth Ishmael, succumbing to wanderlust during a dreary New England autumn, signs up for passage aboard a whaling ship. The Pequod sails under the command of the one-legged Captain Ahab, who has set himself on a monomaniacal quest to capture the cunning white whale that robbed him of his leg: Moby-Dick. Capturing life on the sea with robust realism, Melville details the adventures of the colorful crew aboard the ship as Ahab pursues his crusade of revenge, heedless of all cost. This masterfully symbolic drama of the conflict between man and his fate has a special intensity that listeners will not soon forget.
Summary: Just before his regiment sails off to war in the Sudan, British officer Harry....+
Just before his regiment sails off to war in the Sudan, British officer Harry Feversham resigns his commission, wanting desperately to be free of his family’s proud military heritage and terrified of risking his life. He is immediately given four white feathers as symbols of cowardice, one by each of his three best friends and one by his fiancée. To disprove this grave dishonor, Harry dons an Arabian disguise and leaves for the Sudan, where he anonymously comes to the aid of his three friends, saving each of their lives. Having proven his bravery, Harry returns to England, hoping to regain the love and respect of his fiancée. This suspenseful tale movingly depicts a distinctive code of honor that was deeply valued and strongly promoted by the British during the height of their imperial power. Harry’s heroic attempts at redemption offer listeners a glimpse into a vivid array of human emotions.
Summary: For his Royal Highness Klaus Heinrich, prince of a small German duchy, life....+
For his Royal Highness Klaus Heinrich, prince of a small German duchy, life means servitude to traditional ducal functions--until he meets the independent-spirited and liberal-minded American Miss Spoelmann. During the course of his unorthodox and quixotically tender wooing, Heinrich is forced to reach into unknown depths of his personality and discover the real meaning of the word ‘duty’.
Peopled with a range of characters from aristocrat to artisan, Royal Highness provides a microcosmic view of Europe before the Great War. Mann’s charming fable of a decaying, stratified society rejuvenated by modern forces illustrates what he regarded as a universal truth: that ripeness and death are necessary conditions for rebirth.
Summary: A rare pearl is fought over during a hurricane on a South Sea island. A zealous....+
A rare pearl is fought over during a hurricane on a South Sea island. A zealous missionary sets out to spread the gospel in a land of cannibals. The son of a Polynesian chief becomes the slave of a white man. These stories and others portray life in the South Seas in the days of tall ships over a century ago. In powerful and compelling language that seems not the least bit dated, Jack London tells eight tales of high daring and great savagery, of bravery and death, even of occasional humor, that could only take place in the exotic South Sea islands. Based around themes London considered important--race, culture, justice, and heroism--the stories derive their intensity from the author’s own far-flung adventures, conveying an impassioned, unsparing vision borne only of experience.
Included here are the following stories: “The House of Mapuhi,” “The Whale Tooth,” “Mauki,” “Yah! Yah! Yah!” “The Heathen,” “The Terrible Solomons,” “The Inevitable White Man,” and “The Seed of McCoy.”
Summary: This new edition of Kafka’s terrifying and comic masterpiece is the product....+
This new edition of Kafka’s terrifying and comic masterpiece is the product of an international team of experts who used Kafka’s original text and notes to render this story as close to the author’s vision as possible. Kafka’s final novel tells the haunting tale of a man’s relentless struggle with authority in order to gain entrance to the Castle.
The story of K--the unwanted land surveyor who is never to be admitted to the Castle and yet cannot go home--seems to depict, like a dream from the deepest recesses of consciousness, an inexplicable truth about the nature of existence. A perpetual human condition lies at the heart of this labyrinthine world: dualities of certainty and doubt, hope and fear, reason and nonsense, harmony and disintegration. An unfinished novel that feels strangely complete, The Castle uses absurd fantasy to reveal a profound truth.
Summary: It is 1793 in France--the year of the guillotine. Already, Louis XVI has been....+
It is 1793 in France--the year of the guillotine. Already, Louis XVI has been sentenced to the scaffold, and terror reigns. Ideals topple in the face of political necessity, alliances founder, and intrigue is a way of life.
The architects of the Revolution--Marat, Danton, and Robespierre--have set up an embryo parliament called the Convention, designed to stem social chaos. As Republican troops engage in bloody battle with counter-revolutionaries, a peasant woman strives simply to protect her three children.
The characters of Ninety-Three define the French Revolution, and history hangs on their actions. As they battle for their own future, the future of a large part of the world can be seen to sway in the balance. Hugo’s epic masterpiece captures brilliantly the moment that shaped the destiny not only of France but of all European monarchy.
Originally published in France as Quatrevingt-treize in 1874. Translated from the French by Frank Lee Benedict in 1874.
Summary: Hardy’s harrowing novel of seduction and abandonment introduced his most....+
Hardy’s harrowing novel of seduction and abandonment introduced his most memorable tragic heroine, Tess, whose vivid, breathing life was remarkable even for the author: “I have not been able to put on paper all that she is, or was, to me.”
On her morning journey to earn money for her impoverished family, Tess’s horse has an accident, forcing to go to some newly-rich relatives to seek assistance. There, she is vigorously pursued by Alec, who corners her in a field one night and takes advantage of her. After bearing a child who quickly dies, Tess meets and falls is love with Angel, a minister’s son who is infatuated with the image of Tess as the pure country maid. But when he learns the truth of her past, he shuns his new bride and leaves Tess once again to fend for herself in a world where she is only valued for her uses to others.
Summary: The three novels that make up The Forsyte Saga chronicle the ebbing social....+
The three novels that make up The Forsyte Saga chronicle the ebbing social power of the commercial upper-middle class Forsyte family through three generations, beginning in Victorian London during the 1880s and ending in the early 1920s. Galsworthy's masterly narrative examines not only their fortunes but also the wider developments within society, particularly the changing position of women.
The Forsyte Saga is a sequence of novels comprising The Man of Property (1906), In Chancery (1920), and To Let (1921) with two interludes, "Indian Summer of a Forsyte" (1918) and "Awakening", published together in 1922.
The saga begins with Soames Forsyte, a successful solicitor who buys land at Robin Hill on which to build a house for his wife Irene and future family. Eventually, the Forsyte family begins to disintegrate when Timothy Forsyte, the last of the old generation, dies at the age of 100.
In these novels, John Galsworthy documented a departed way of life, that of the affluent middle class that ruled England before the 1914 war. The class is criticized on account of its possessiveness, but there is also nostalgia because Galsworthy, as a man born into the class, could also appreciate its virtues.
Originally published as five books between 1906 and 1921.
Summary: Beyond the gardens of Hamilcar’s palace, beyond the walls of Carthage, the....+
Beyond the gardens of Hamilcar’s palace, beyond the walls of Carthage, the Roman hordes stood waiting to annihilate the noblest city of ancient Africa. Within the city, all was madness: the houses were filled with the screams of women and the streets teemed with terrified men. The veil of the goddess Tanit, sacred to Carthage, had fallen to Matho, Roman soldier-of-fortune.
But when Salambo, the exquisite daughter of Hamilcar, rode into the Roman camp, into Matho’s tent, to exchange her beauty for the veil of Carthage--he would throw away victory and forsake his army, his nation, and his soul for the price of her body.
Set during the historical struggle between Rome and Carthage, Flaubert’s novel offers a richly detailed portrait of the lives and rites of two ancient kingdoms moved by their allegiances to very different gods.