In the summer of 1546, Matthew Shardlake is unexpectedly summoned to Whitehall Palace and asked for help by his old patron, the now beleaguered and desperate Queen Catherine Parr. Her secret confessional book is missing and its contents, in the wrong hands, could destroy her. This is the 6th of Sansom's Shardlake series of thrilling mysteries.
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.
Volume Five of The Cazalet Chronicles
As this fifth volume of The Cazalet Chronicles opens, the Cazalets' beloved matriarch is dying, and with her will go the last remnants of the old life of servants, class and tradition. The next generation of Cazalets is set to take over Home Place. The author provides a brief background for readers new to the Chronicles.
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 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
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+
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.
The Mayor of Casterbridge
While drunk at the county fair, hay-trusser Michael Henchard sold his wife and child for five guineas. The next morning he vowed to redeem himself by abstinence and hard work; and eventually he rose to the rank of mayor. Then, 18 years after being sold, his wife returns. Read by Anton Lesser. 10 CDs 12hrs 20mins.
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.
Volume Five of The Cazalet Chronicles
As this fifth volume of The Cazalet Chronicles opens, the Cazalets' beloved matriarch is dying, and with her will go the last remnants of the old life of servants, class and tradition. The next generation of Cazalets is set to take over Home Place. The author provides a brief background for readers new to the Chronicles. Slightly off-mint.
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
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.
Red and The Black
First published in 1830, Stendhal's great psychological novel tells the story of Julien Sorel, an ambitious and intelligent youth from a poor country family, who uses the church as his career path into society and thence the army; but Julien's fate is ultimately decided by his passion for two women. Here, Bill Homeward reads the Scott Moncrieff translation (1926). Abridged.