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 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.
Edge of Eternity
Ken Follett's epic The Century Trilogy follows the experiences of families across the globe during the 20th century's most tumultuous events, and this final novel explores the impact of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Civil Rights movement and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Read by John Lee. Abridged.
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.
Henry Fielding's bawdy and hilarious parody of Samuel Richardson's Pamela (1740) transforms the eponymous innocent virgin into a shameless slut and predatory social climber intent on marrying Squire Booby. The unabridged novel is read here by a cast led by Clare Corbett as Shamela. 2 CDs 1hr 30mins
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 Vicar of Wakefield
‘A Book of Job transferred to 18th-century bourgeois England’, Goldsmith's tale begins with Charles Primrose, his wife and four children in their tranquil rural parish: an idyll to be shattered by bankruptcy, seduction and prison. Whether a story of suffering and fortitude or a satire of 18th-century life, the novel's appeal has never faltered. Read, unabridged, by Nicholas Farrell.
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.
Against a background of social stagnation, apathy and outmoded institutions, Dickens uses a gallery of vivid characters to show that it is individuals and their acts of kindness, love and generosity that can revitalize society. This Complete Classics unabridged edition of Little Dorrit is read by Anton Lesser. 28 CDs 35hrs 15mins
Probably Victor Hugo's best-known work, Les Misérables (1862) is set in Paris between 1815 and the Paris Rebellion in 1932. It tells the story of Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who redeems his early crime by showing compassion, forgiveness and, ultimately, his courage on the rebels' barricades. This vast novel is presented here in an abridged version, read by Bill Homewood, with music by Berlioz and Honegger.
The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm
With a head full of brilliant ideas and wild inventions which never work out quite as planned, Professor Branestawm sets off with his friend Colonel Dedshott on a series of adventures involving wild waste paper, burglars and screaming clocks – among other disasters. First published in 1933, the unabridged classic tales of Branestawm are read here by Martin Jarvis. Age 7+
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.
The Spanish Bride
When Brigade-Major Harry Smith meets the beautiful Juana Maria, a spark is kindled, and she rides with the troops on his campaigns. Set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, Georgette Heyer’s novel is both a stirring true love story and a dramatic account of Wellington’s Spanish battles. Unabridged.
DH Lawrence’s classic novel follows the lives and loves of three generations of the Brangwen family as their world is transformed by industrialization, culminating in the passionate, headstrong sisters Ursula and Gudrun’s struggle to grasp a higher form of existence, symbolized by the rainbow.
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.
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.
The Cellist of Sarajevo
During the Siege of Sarajevo, a cellist plays at a site where many have died, while enemy snipers besieging the city try to kill him. Galloway’s bestselling novel revolves around the cellist, following three citizens as they go about their lives, risking death with every simple journey. Read by Gareth Armstrong.
The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner
Published in 1824, James Hogg's masterpiece is set in 18th-century Scotland and recounts the corruption of Robert, a boy of strict Calvinist upbringing, by the mysterious Gil-Martin. Read by Peter Kenny and Nicholas McArdle. 7 CDs 8hrs 42mins
South of the Border, West of the Sun
Haruki Murakami’s seventh novel is narrated by Hajime, who tells the story of his relationship with Shimamoto, a girl he has known since childhood. They grew up together and were students together, but drifted apart. Several years later, Hajime, now a family man, meets the companion of his youth again. Read by Eric Loren.
Haruki Murakami’s ninth novel is a strange tale of a young woman called Sumire, an aspiring writer, who falls in love with an older, successful businesswoman and wine expert. The story is told through the eyes of Sumire’s close (male) friend. It is read here by the actor Adam Sims.
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.
Wild Sheep Chase
One of Murakami’s earliest and most fantastical novels begins when the narrator, an advertising executive, is sent to the North of Japan in search of a sheep with a strange star-shaped mark on its back that appeared in one his advertisements – a chase after the unknowable. Read by Rupert Degas.