(three audiobook set)
Zorro, the masked alter ego of Don Diego de la Vega, first rode out on his black stallion to avenge the oppressed of Spanish California in The Curse of Capistrano (1919). Zorro was so popular, his creator, Johnston McCulley (1883–1958), wrote three more books of adventures. The novellas are read here by Bill Homewood. Unabridged. The items included in this set are:Sign of Zorro (Read more...) Further Adventures of Zorro (Read more...) Zorro Rides Again (Read more...)
Mightier than the Sword
This fifth book in the Clifton Chronicles series opens with an IRA bomb exploding during MV Buckingham’s maiden voyage – with repercussions for Emma Clifton, chairman of Barrington Shipping. Meanwhile, Harry Clifton is campaigning to free a Russian dissident author. Jeffrey Archer’s cliffhanger is read here by Alex Jennings. Unabridged.
In Mary Shelley’s powerful Promethean fable, Dr Frankenstein’s experiment and its terrible outcome is told through the letters of an English explorer who met the doomed scientist as he pursued his monster into the Arctic wilderness. This abridged version is read by Daniel Philpott, Jonathan Oliver and Chris Larkin. Naxos Young Adult Classics. 2 CDs 2hrs 37mins, plus a bonus CD-ROM with a full text and study guide.
The Master and Margarita
One of the most popular Russian novels of the 20th century, The Master and Margarita blends surrealism and political satire with a dazzling cast that includes Satan, Pontius Pilate and a talking cat. This careful abridgement of a new translation is read by the charismatic Julian Rhind-Tutt.
Around the World in Eighty Days
Having made a wager at his gentlemen’s club in London, Phileas Fogg, along with his long-suffering manservant Passepartout, sets off on the race of a lifetime – to circumnavigate the globe in exactly 80 days. In pursuit is Detective Fix, convinced that Fogg is a bank robber. Read by Bill Homewood. Unabridged.
In Mary Shelley’s powerful Promethean fable, Dr Frankenstein’s experiment and its terrible outcome is told through the letters of an English explorer who met the doomed scientist as he pursued his monster into the Arctic wilderness. Read by Daniel Philpott, Roger May and Jonathan Oliver.
Written in Reading Gaol, De Profundis is Oscar Wilde's letter to Lord Alfred Douglas, whose relationship with Wilde had led to the writer’s trial and imprisonment for ‘gross indecency’. In the first part, Wilde reflects on Douglas’s vanity and his own weakness, but goes on to describe how his ordeal has brought a deeper wisdom. The work is read here by Simon Russell Beale.
The Lady Elizabeth
The Lady Elizabeth is the daughter of Henry VIII, but disinherited and declared a bastard after the execution of her mother. How the young Elizabeth survives the savage world of Tudor politics, inherits the throne and becomes queen is the subject of Alison Weir's novel. It is read here by Emma Fielding. Abridged.
Rip Van Winkle
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Pride of the Village
This famous tale by Washington Irving (1783–1859) is set before and after the American Revolutionary War and tells of a Dutch villager who went wandering in the Catskill Mountains, fell asleep and awoke 20 years later – after the Revolution – to find the world much changed. Rip van Winkle and two more short stories are read here by Adam Sims. Unabridged.
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater
Thomas De Quincey's powerful autobiographical study describes the psychological effects of his addiction to opium: childhood experience turning into dreams, at first euphoric, but becoming horrific as dependence on the drug deepened. Published in 1822, the book brought De Quincey literary fame and was an important influence on later writers. It is read here by Gunnar Cauthery. Unabridged.
The Essential Edgar Allan Poe
Stories. Poems. Biography
Although stories such as The Pit and the Pendulum, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Murders in the Rue Morgue have remained popular to this day, Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849) felt that his vocation was poetry. This collection includes both stories and poems, plus a biography of Poe. The works are unabridged and read by Kerry Shale, William Roberts and John Chancer.
The Golden Notebook
Set in London in the late 1950s, this novel by the Nobel laureate Doris Lessing (1919–2013) describes the challenges of life in the aftermath of war. It follows the psychological turmoil of Anna, a novelist and a single mother – as Lessing was – struggling to cope as her personal life and political certainties collapse around her. The Golden Notebook (1962) is read here by Juliet Stevenson. Unabridged.
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Ian Holm narrates the famous tale of Dr Henry Jekyll and the elixir which he hoped would help him explore the hidden depths of his personality. Jekyll's experiments coincided with the appearance of Mr Edward Hyde on London's streets; but how are the two men related and how can the evil Hyde be stopped? 2 CDs, running time 2.5 hours.
Science Fiction Writers
Douglas Adams on Desert Island Discs, Ursula K LeGuin interviewed on Woman's Hour, Kurt Vonnegut talking on Third Ear in 1990.... Originally broadcast on BBC radio, these interviews feature ten of the really great science fiction writers talking about their art. The other seven writers are Isaac Asimov, Brian Aldiss, Doris Lessing, Michael Moorcock, JG Ballard, Arthur C Clarke (another Desert Islander) and Ray Bradbury. One CD: duration 73 minutes.
Jane Austen's first novel, Lady Susan is written in epistolary style and tells the story of the recently widowed Lady Susan Vernon, an intelligent and highly manipulative woman intent on procuring financially secure matches for herself and her daughter. The novel is read here by a full cast led by Harriet Walter.
Scouting for Boys
Robert Baden-Powell intended his 1908 scoutcraft manual to be a book of practical advice and instruction for boys' self-improvement, but its success gave impetus to the foundation of the Scout movement. Mixing practical advice on topics such as woodcraft, camping and first aid with personal anecdotes and moral observations. Read by Hugh Dennis.
The Swiss Family Robinson
The epic tale of a Swiss family’s shipwreck and their survival on an uncharted tropical island has been a bestseller since it was published in 1812. What started as a bedtime story for Pastor Wyss’ own four sons, aiming to teach them about nature, survival, self-reliance and cooperation, is now a classic of children’s literature. This abridged version is read by Jonathan Keeble. Naxos Junior Classics.
The Metaphysical Poets
This collection of over 40 poems illustrates how the metaphysical poets of the 16th and 17th centuries used subtle and complex ideas and imagery to explore their themes of carnal love and religious faith. Works by John Donne, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell and twelve less well-known poets are read by actors including Nicholas Boulton and Jonathan Keeble. One CD: duration 79 mins.
The Glory of the Pharaohs
Designed as an introduction to ancient Egyptian civilization for older children, this audiobook gives an account of Egyptian mythology, the world of the Egyptians and the history of the pharaohs, all brought to life in an exciting reading by Nicholas Boulton and accompanied by excerpts from Egyptian-inspired classical music.
Written in 1857 with the intention of giving boys ‘valuable information, much pleasure, great profit and unbounded amusement’, this is the story of Ralph, Jack and Peterkin, three boys shipwrecked on a desert island, kidnapped by pirates, attacked by sharks...but Ralph always longed for adventure. This abridged version is read by Wayne Forester.
Famous Heroes of the American West
William Roberts tells the stories of iconic figures from the history of the American ‘Wild West’, exploring in detail the real exploits of ‘heroes’ including Daniel Boone, Kit Carson, Davy Crockett, Sitting Bull, Geronimo, Calamity Jane and Wyatt Earp. The text is read by Adam Sims, with music by Gottschalk and Macdowell.
The Glory of Ancient Greece
Read by the actor Benjamin Soames, this introduction to ancient Greek culture for older children covers Greek mythology, society and warfare, Athens and democracy, the Athenian Empire, the Peloponnesian War, drama and philosophy. The reading is accompanied by excerpts from music from d’Indy, Beethoven and Glazuniov.
Puck of Pook's Hill
In Kipling's magical stories, Puck is accidentally conjured up by two children performing their version of A Midsummer Night's Dream near an ancient shrine. Puck and his friends tell the children stories, weaving together ancient and medieval history, myth, folklore and fantasy. Read by Peter Kenny. Unabridged.
‘It’s the dramatic, astonishing, comic or eye-popping truth that you’ll hear about in Pirates! ’ Roy McMillan traces the history of piracy on the high seas – often more extraordinary than fiction – since antiquity and tells the stories of notorious individuals such as Blackbeard, Anne Bonny, Barbarossa and Mary Read. Read by Jasper Britton.
Our Island Story
HE Marshall (1867–1941) incorporated folk legends and focused on famous people and dramatic events in her books to give children a lively and engaging introduction to British history. Anna Bentinck and Daniel Philpott read the unabridged third volume, covering the period from James I and Guy Fawkes to Queen Victoria.
What Katy Did at School
Based on Susan Coolidge’s own upbringing in a well-to-do New England family, the Katy books are among the best-loved of children’s classics. This second book in the series sees Katy and her sister Clover adjusting to life in boarding school. Here, the American actress Laurel Lefkow reads an abridged version.
Perhaps the quintessential novel of 19th century London and the miserable treatment meted out to the disadvantaged, Oliver Twist was a success when it first appeared in 1838 and has remained one of the best-loved books in English, not least for its memorable characters - Fagin, the Artful Dodger and Oliver himself. This Complete Classics set presents the novel unabridged, read by Jonathan Keeble. 13 audio CDs; running time approx 16.5 hours.