A collection of short... stories by W W Jacobs. Serpents, skinflints, skivers, suitors and sundry sailors take the foreground in these stories about the East End of London and the mythical village of Claybury at the turn of the century.
Among the first espionage thrillers and an acknowledged classic, The Thirty-Nine Steps well deserves its accolades as one of the best adventure stories of all time. Leaving aside the improbable denouement, the fast paced, brilliantly conceived narrative still excites and carries one along with the sheer suspense of the manhunt - a recurring theme in literature - and Hannay's struggle against the evil that is the 'Black Stone'.
"It's good enough, but perhaps aclaim is overdone"
Sir Richard Hannay introduces this last adventure involving his old friends.
John Blenkiron discovers that a ruthless industrialist is plotting to destabilise America and cause global turmoil. Although Bavarian born, Castor plans to dominate the world from Olifa, a small country in Latin America. Hannay realises he is now too old for the job of thwarting these evil designs and enlists the aid of his old friend Sandy Arbuthnot, now Lord Clanroyden.
Hannay to the rescue once more! This time...our hero is summoned from his tranquil life in rural Oxfordshire to save the world from a financial conspiracy which threatens the global economy. Hannay comes to believe that the villain behind all this must be Dominick Medina. But can such a brilliant, charming idol of the nation be using Eastern magic to suborn industrialists, magnates and other such pillars of society as his slaves?
A wonderfully evocative tale of the courtship of Fancy Day, newly arrived schoolmistress, by Dick Dewy, carrier of goods, during the four seasons of one year in Wessex. Most of Hardy's work had tragedy woven into the narrative but 'Under the Greenwood Tree' is full of whimsy and good humour. The story is not without its serious comment, however, as Hardy reflects on class division and the disappearance of heritage in the rural community.
The last of John Buchan's thrillers and the final appearance of Richard Hannay now in retirement reverie deep in the comfortable Cotswolds.However, he and Sandy [Lord Clanroyden] are roused to action once more to help the son of a recently deceased treasure hunter, called Haraldsen. The heir is receiving threats from Lancelot Troth, a man who believes himself ill treated financially by Haraldsen's father and seeks revenge and reparation.
Lonely Viviette Constantine awaits the return of her husband from a hunting expedition to Africa. She becomes involved with a young astronomer, Swithin St.Cleeve, who observes the night sky from a disused tower on her estate. Despite their differing ages and social backgrounds they soon find their destinies linked - but with fateful consequences.
Set in stifled, industrial Staffordshire in the late 19th century, against a strong evangelical background, Anna of the Five Towns tells of the courting of hard businessman Ephraim Tellright's daughter by prosperous and accomplished Henry Mynors. As her father's fortune grows, so does Anna understanding. She realises her legacy and responsibility for the possible ruination of her father's tenants, Titus Price and his son, Willie, who also loves her.
"Brilliantly read and totally absorbing"
The second of Richard Hannays' adventures takes him from the trenches of the First World War on a mission of vital importance to the British campaign in the East. In an attempt to manipulate their Turkish allies the Germans have created a religious figurehead, a prophet of a new order to unify the disparate tribes of Asia and crush the allied offensive.
"Peter Joyce brings Buchan to life..."
A tale of smuggling and mystery on the Dorset coast as told by John Trenchard, a boy obsessed with discovering the secret of Colonel 'Blackbeard' Mohune's hidden treasure. One night, trapped in the Mohune family vault beneath the church, John finds a locket round the Colonel's neck which contains verses from the Psalms of David. What could it mean?
"It's a classic"
This comprehensive novel consists of three subplots which interlink to form the whole and supply a trio of targets at which Trollope aims his proselytising pen. The first treats on the courtship of a woman by a man whom she does not love and with whom she is not compatible. Mary Lowther will not accept such a marriage of dishonesty. The second deals with the plight of a young woman who has fallen prey to the wiles of an evil seducer and subsequently adopts a life of prostitution.
"How I missed Timothy West"
Heroes Ralph, Jack and Peterkin set sail on the Arrow and are the only three survivors of a fearful shipwreck. They are washed ashore on a seemingly idyllic coral island.This tranquillity is violently disturbed, first by a tribe of bloodthirsty cannibals and then by the invasion of a vicious pirate and his gang of cut-throats. Will the boys thwart their enemies and live to see England again?
"The Coral Island - An old fashioned adventure"
Ludwig Horace Holly, a Cambridge professor, travels to Africa with his adopted son Leo to investigate the death of Kallicrates, Leo's ancestor, who was murdered by an unknown woman centuries before.They encounter the Amahagger, a fierce tribe of cannibals who live in the caves of Kôr, a huge burial ground of an ancient civilisation decimated by plague
Richard Wardour leaves England on a voyage to the African coast under the impression he is engaged to delicate orphan Clara Burnham. Despite sending him a letter stating the contrary Clara is anxious for her honour. She is aware that he may not have received the missive and is now betrothed to another, Frank Aldersley. When Richard returns and is refused, he immediately sets sail on an expedition to the Arctic, unaware that in the same party is Clara's accepted lover.
Once again Brigadier General Hannay is taken from the trenches of the front line to save his country on a desperate mission. This time he must find the genius behind a vast network of spies infiltrating English pacifists and conscientious objectors. Hannay finds the man only to have him evade capture at the last moment.
"Brilliant -- but with blemishes"
Revolutionary for the time in encouraging children to think like children, the adventure of Princess Irene and Curdie, the boy miner, was to influence generations of writers, including Chesterton and Tolkien. Overflowing with fantastic ideas and images to delight the young and allegory to inspire their morality 'The Princess and the Goblin' has remained one of the most exciting tales for over 100 years.Irene lives in a castle on a mountain under which there is a labyrinth of tunnels inhabited by Goblins.
Arnold Bennett's... splendidly comic portrayal of Edward Henry Machin, known as Denry to his mother to save time, is set in Bursley, one of the author's Five Towns of Staffordshire. Starting in 1897, when Denry first saw the smoke of the potbanks, the tale chronicles his rise to fame and wealth including such events as improving his exam results to guarantee success, adjusting the guest list of the municipal ball to include himself and then daring to ask the Countess of Chell to dance!
"Old fashioned but wonderful"
The resurrected Raffles has his final innings in these whimsical adventurous reminiscences recounted by his accomplice and friend Bunny Manders. The author skillfully manages to tie up a few loose ends from preceding plots and the final revelation is a moving tribute to his fictional hero, the finest slow bowler of his generation and best known gentleman thief in literary history.
A Child of the Jago is both thriller and condemnation of social conditions in the East End slums at the turn of the century. Boy hero Dicky Perrott is at heart full of humane instinct but his environment ensures his down fall. "It was my fate to encounter a place in Shoreditch where children were born and reared in circumstances which gave them no reasonable chance of living decent lives: where they were born fore-damned to a criminal or semi criminal career.
The aptly titled sequel to Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow which is also recorded by Assembled Stories and proved immensely popular.In this succeeding outburst of whimsy Jerome reflects on a variety of subjects such as 'the art of making up one's mind', 'the care and management of women' and 'the minding of other peoples business'.