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By: Thornton W. Burgess (1874-1965)

Mother West Wind's Children by Thornton W. Burgess Mother West Wind's Children

“You can’t fool old Mother Nature. No, Sir, you can’t fool old Mother Nature, and it’s of no use to try.” The animals of the Green Meadows and Green Forest have little adventures while Grandfather Frog tells stories to Mother West Wind’s children, the Merry Little Breezes. (Summary by Laurie Anne Walden)

The Adventures of Johnny Chuck by Thornton W. Burgess The Adventures of Johnny Chuck

The Adventures of Johnny Chuck is another in the long list of children’s books by conservationist Thornton W. Burgess. In this story, it is spring time and a young chuck’s fancy turns to thoughts of … traveling, protecting one’s turf, finding a new home, and yes, love. Along the way, we learn little lessons about life such as there are good and bad kinds of pride, the importance of keeping secrets and that, even in the animal world, the three most important factors in determining the desirability of property are “location, location, location.” (Summary by John Lieder)

Old Mother West Wind by Thornton W. Burgess Old Mother West Wind

Thornton Waldo Burgess (January 14, 1874 – June 5, 1965) was a conservationist and author of children’s stories. He loved the beauty of nature and its living creatures so much that he wrote about them for 50 years. By the time he retired, he had written more than 170 books. Many of his outdoor observations in nature were used as plots for his stories. In his first book, “Old Mother West Wind,” published in 1910, the reader meets many of the characters found in later books and stories. These...

Mother West Wind 'Why' Stories by Thornton W. Burgess Mother West Wind 'Why' Stories

Thornton W. Burgess was a conservationist and prolific author of children’s books. His gently humorous stories about the animals of the meadows and woods teach little lessons about getting along with others; they are perfect bedtime stories for small children. (Summary by Laurie Anne Walden)

By: Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri The Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy (Italian: Commedia, later christened “Divina” by Giovanni Boccaccio), written by Dante Alighieri between 1308 and his death in 1321, is widely considered the central epic poem of Italian literature, the last great work of literature of the Middle Ages and the first great work of the Renaissance. A culmination of the medieval world-view of the afterlife, it establishes the Tuscan dialect in which it is written as the Italian standard, and is seen as one of the greatest works of world literature...

By: Julian Hawthorne, editor

Library of the World's Best Mystery and Detective Stories by Julian Hawthorne, editor Library of the World's Best Mystery and Detective Stories

The Library of the World's Best Mystery and Detective Stories is a six-volume edition, which contains one hundred and one tales written by authors as diverse and separated by history as Pliny the Younger (first century AD), Voltaire (17th century) and Guy de Maupassant (19th century) and also from different parts of the world. This volume which is the first, contains twenty interesting stories, and an introduction by the editor. The fascinating aspect of mystery stories is that sometimes the author allows the puzzle to solve itself without expert detective aid, while in other cases, a sleuth bends his or her deductive powers to the mystery...

By: Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)

A Discourse Upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality Among Mankind by Jean-Jacques Rousseau A Discourse Upon the Origin and the Foundation of the Inequality Among Mankind

This work presents Rousseau’s belief in the profoundly transformational effects of the development of civilization on human nature, which Rousseau claims other political philosophers had failed to grasp. Specifically, before the onset of civilization, according to Rousseau, natural man lived a contented, solitary life, naturally good and happy. It is only with the onset of civilization, Rousseau claims, that humans become social beings, and, concomitant with their civilization, natural man becomes corrupted with the social vices of pride, vanity, greed and servility. (summary by brachypelma)

By: Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln The Gettysburg Address


Lincoln at Cooper Union by Abraham Lincoln Lincoln at Cooper Union

On 27 February 1860, Abraham Lincoln gave this address at the Cooper Union in New York City. When he gave the speech, Lincoln was considered by many to be just a country lawyer. After he gave the speech, he soon became his party’s nominee for president.(Summary by henkelsc)

By: Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter

A beautiful woman who is punished for the mortal sin of loving a man other than her husband, a cowardly lover, a vengeful husband, a rebellious illegitimate child and the oppressive and patriarchal morality of 17th century Puritanism in Boston. Together these form an unforgettable and thought-provoking glimpse of how much social attitudes have changed over the centuries. Nathaniel Hawthorne was the creator of such beloved works as Twice-Told Tales, A Wonder Book for Boys and Girls, The House of the Seven Gables and spine-chilling tales like Roger Malvin's Burial...

Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne Tanglewood Tales

A sequel to Nathaniel Hawthorne's earlier volume of Greek mythology interpreted and retold for young people, Tanglewood Tales includes more legends and tales of ancient heroes and monsters. In his earlier book, A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys, Hawthorne had designed the book to be a book within a book. A young college student keeps a group of young children entertained by retelling Greek myths in a way in which they can easily understand. Nathaniel Hawthorne also wrote a brief introduction to Tanglewood Tales, entitled The Wayside...

The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne The House of the Seven Gables

“The wrongdoing of one generation lives into the successive ones and… becomes a pure and uncontrollable mischief.” Hawthorne’s moral for “The House of the Seven Gables,” taken from the Preface, accurately presages his story. The full weight of the gloomy mansion of the title seems to sit on the fortunes of the Pyncheon family. An ancestor took advantage of the Salem witch trials to wrest away the land whereon the house would be raised… but the land’s owner, about to be executed as a wizard, cursed the Pyncheon family until such time as they should make restitution...

Book cover Rappaccini's Daughter

The story is set in Padua in a distant, but unspecified past. From his quarters, Giovanni, a young student of letters, observes Beatrice, the beautiful daughter of Dr. Rappaccini, a scientist working in isolation. Beatrice is confined to the lush and locked gardens filled with poisonous plants by her father. Having fallen in love, Giovanni enters the garden and meets with Beatrice a number of times regardless of the warning of his mentor, Professor Baglioni, that Rappaccini is up to no good and he and his work should be avoided.

The Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne The Blithedale Romance

The Blithedale Romance is the story of four principal characters who work with -- and sometimes against -- each other on Blithedale, a communal farm antecedent to those that sprang up later in the 1960s, and similar to one on which Hawthorne himself lived in 1841. These communes arose out of the pressures on society and the individual brought by the Industrial Revolution. Some were organized around religious philosophies, some were secular. Among the secularists, the Transcendental movement mentioned in the novel espoused the idea that the individual's intuition, rather than religious dogma, was the true path to spiritual enlightenment...

The Great Stone Face and Other Tales of the White Mountains by Nathaniel Hawthorne The Great Stone Face and Other Tales of the White Mountains

A collection of four short stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the common theme of which is New Hampshire's White Mountains. Consists of: The Great Stone Face, written in 1850 and revolves around the 'Old Man of the Mountain (Cannon Mtn.) in New Hampshire which sadly collapsed on May 3, 2003; The Ambitious Guest, written in 1835; The Great Carbuncle, written in 1837; and Sketches From Memory, written sometime prior to The Great Carbuncle as will become obvious. (Summary by Roger Melin)

The Marble Faun by Nathaniel Hawthorne The Marble Faun

The Marble Faun is Hawthorne's most unusual romance. Writing on the eve of the American Civil War, Hawthorne set his story in a fantastical Italy. The romance mixes elements of a fable, pastoral, gothic novel, and travel guide. In the spring of 1858, Hawthorne was inspired to write his romance when he saw the Faun of Praxiteles in a Roman sculpture gallery. The theme, characteristic of Hawthorne, is guilt and the Fall of Man. The four main characters are Miriam, a beautiful painter who is compared...

By: Andre Norton (1912-2005)

Plague Ship by Andre Norton Plague Ship

A Free Trader rocket ship heads for the remote planet, Sargol, which is blessed with immense natural wealth and precious gemstones. The ship is manned by the heroic Dane Thorson and his crew of intrepid space traders. On Sargol, they enter into complicated negotiations with the inhabitants of this strange planet. These feline people, the Salariki, are reluctant to enter into a business partnership with the free traders till they discover that the ship carries a small amount of catnip on board which they'd obtained from another trading post...

Star Born by Andre Norton Star Born

If you've read and enjoyed The Stars Are Ours, you will certainly enjoy this exciting sequel! Star Born by Andre Norton was first published in 1957, two years after the previous book and is in itself a complete and riveting read. The theme depicts an early inter-stellar flight undertaken by people who call themselves the Free Scientists escaping from an oppressive regime on Earth. When Pax, a global authoritarian regime takes over the planet, it deems all space travel illegal. However this small group flees before the rules come into force...

The Time Traders by Andre Norton The Time Traders

If it is possible to conquer space, then perhaps it is also possible to conquer time. At least that was the theory American scientists were exploring in an effort to explain the new sources of knowledge the Russians possessed. Perhaps Russian scientists had discovered how to transport themselves back in time in order to learn long-forgotten secrets of the past. That was why young Ross Murdock, above average in intelligence but a belligerently independent nonconformist, found himself on a “hush-hush” government project at a secret base in the Arctic...

Star Hunter by Andre Norton Star Hunter

A science fiction novella depicting a thrilling cat-and-mouse game which plays out between a credulous young man and an interstellar safari leader, as the two take up an unanticipated adventure on the mysterious planet Jumala. Norton combines mind control, cunning schemes, interstellar travel, and alien intelligence in an action-packed adventure. The story unfolds with the introduction of Ras Hume, a pilot and Out-Hunter, who with the help of a criminal mastermind from the planet Nahuatl plans a conspiracy to secure a fortune by manipulating its supposed beneficiary...

Key Out of Time by Andre Norton Key Out of Time

This is Book 4 in the Time Traders Series, In this book Ross Murdock and Arthur Ashe continue their adventures in Time and Space on the World of Hawaika. Hawaiian and Polynesian settlers help Ross and Ashe discover the way the world has changed from the data tape to present time. Helped by a girl (Karara) and her two trained dolphins (Tino-rau and Taua) (Summary by R. J. Davis)

The Defiant Agents by Andre Norton The Defiant Agents

Travis Fox and a band of fellow Apache AmerIndians have their racial memories and survival abilities enhanced by the Redax machine and are sent to the planet Topaz, one of the few worlds of the ancient star empire that the US has voyage tapes to. But the Reds have “snooped” the tapes and get there first, and have a nasty surprise waiting for any ship that does not have the proper identification. Travis and some of his fellow Apaches survive the ensuing crash landing…but can they defeat the Reds and win Topaz for themselves? This work is a sequel to both The Time Traders and Galactic Derelict...

Storm Over Warlock by Andre Norton Storm Over Warlock

The Throg task force struck the Terran survey camp a few minutes after dawn, without warning, and with a deadly precision which argued that the aliens had fully reconnoitered and prepared that attack. Eye-searing lances of energy lashed back and forth across the base with methodical accuracy. And a single cowering witness, flattened on a ledge in the heights above, knew that when the last of those yellow-red bolts fell, nothing human would be left alive down there. And so Shann Lantee, most menial of the Terrans attached to the camp on the planet Warlock, was left alone and weaponless in the strange, hostile world, the human prey of the aliens from space and the aliens on the ground alike...

The People of the Crater by Andre Norton The People of the Crater

An air force pilot adrift in peacetime is recruited to join an Antarctic expedition. When a strange mist downs his plane he discovers an ancient alien civilization which has prophesized his arrival. Now he and his faithful pet Ana must descend to the depths of the crater and face the Black Ones in order to rescue the fair Thrala, daughter of the Ancient Ones. – Andre Norton (Alice Mary Norton) was a popular author of science fiction and fantasy who began publishing stories in the early 1930s. “The People of the Crater” was first published in volume 1 number 1 of Fantasy Book in 1947. (Summary by Gregg Margarite)

By: Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1827)

Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)

If this is your first encounter with Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) you're certainly in for a treat! One of the most delightful examples of Victorian humor, this book by Jerome K Jerome is all the way a fun cruise down the Thames River with some funny characters for company. Three Men in a Boat was originally meant to be a serious piece of travel writing, full of local flavors, legends and folklore about England's mighty river. As it turned out, somewhere along the way, the author Jerome found himself catapulted into a madcap adventure...

Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow by Jerome K. Jerome Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow

Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, published in 1886, is a collection of humorous essays by Jerome K. Jerome. It was the author’s second published book and helped establish him as a leading English humorist. The book consists of 14 independent articles arranged by themes.

Told after Supper by Jerome K. Jerome Told after Supper

It is Christmas Eve, and the narrator, his uncle and sundry other local characters are sitting round the fire drinking copious quantities of whisky punch and telling ghost stories until bedtime, when… But no, I won’t spoil the fun. This is a little gem: Jerome at his tongue-in-cheek best. (Summary by Ruth Golding)

Three Men on the Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome Three Men on the Bummel

Our Friends from Three Men in a Boat, to Say Nothing of the Dog, are back. In this funny sequel to Three Men in a Boat J., George, and Harris are out of the boat and on the land riding their bikes. Their lives are too stressful and they need a break from the daily mundane, so they put their heads together and come up with a brilliant idea they decide to travel through the Black Forest of Germany on a bicycling tour. Since two of our friends are now married it seems they will also have to convince...

Stage Land by Jerome K. Jerome Stage Land

A comic look at the curious habits and customs of the inhabitants of ‘Stage Land’. Dedicated to ‘that highly respectable but unnecessarily retiring individual, of whom we hear so much but see so little, “the earnest student of drama”

They and I by Jerome K. Jerome They and I

A man and his three children leave the “Little Mother” at home in the city and set up temporary housekeeping in a country cottage to supervise the remodeling of the house he has just purchased there. The story is narrated by the father. His interactions with his children, interspersed with his own recollections of past events, make for hilarious reading. This is Jerome at his best, IMHO, although this is apparently one of this lesser known novels.

Tea-table Talk by Jerome K. Jerome Tea-table Talk

As the New York Times said in 1903, this lesser-known work by Jerome K. Jerome does not display “the wit of Congreve or even the glittering sort Mr. Jerome employs in some of his other books.”It takes the form of imaginary conversations between the writer and a number of un-named characters at the afternoon tea table. The Woman of the World, the Old Maid, the Girton Girl, the Philosopher and the Minor Poet wax lyrical on subjects like marriage, art, society and politics. Frequently they appear to prefer the sound of their own voice to that of others...

By: George Eliot (1819-1880)

Daniel Deronda by George Eliot Daniel Deronda

A lovely young woman gambling at a casino in Leubronn, Germany. A young man watches, fascinated from afar. She begins to lose heavily and leaves the casino. Thus opens the last and probably the most controversial of George Eliot's novels. Published in 1876, Daniel Deronda is also the only one in which the great Victorian novelist portrays contemporary society of her own time. There were only a few murmurs when it first came out, but later, they became a full fledged outpouring of resentment against what many readers felt was an extremely controversial stand on Jewish, proto-Zionist and Kabbalistic ideas...

Silas Marner by George Eliot Silas Marner

One of the most memorable scenes in this novel occurs in Chapter Twelve, when the dejected and desolate Silas Marner steps outside his lonely cottage on New Year's Eve. He suffers from one of his bizarre fits of catalepsy and stands frozen for a few seconds. When he regains consciousness, he returns to his fireside. There in front of the warm blaze he imagines he sees a heap of gold! The very gold that had been robbed from his house many years ago. He stretches out his hand to touch it. Instead of hard metal, he encounters a soft head of golden hair...

Adam Bede by George Eliot Adam Bede

A young carpenter falls in love with the village beauty. She, however, has set her sights on a dashing army captain who's the son of the wealthy local squire. Meanwhile, a beautiful and virtuous young woman preacher arrives in the village. What happens to these people and the strange twists and turns that their lives take are described in the rest of the book. Adam Bede was George Eliot's first published novel. Published in 1859, the book has remained a firm favorite with readers and academicians alike and is still taught in many English literature courses all over the world...

Middlemarch by George Eliot Middlemarch

George Eliot's seventh and perhaps most famous novel almost didn't get written! It took birth as a short novella titled Miss Brooke but she was unhappy with its progress and finally in despair, she decided to put it aside for a couple of years. Meanwhile, personal problems intervened and when she took up the project again, it was with a renewed sense of creativity. Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life first appeared as an eight-part serial novel in 1871-72. In 1874, it was finally compiled into a full length novel and attained instant fame and success...

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot The Mill on the Floss

The novel details the lives of Tom and Maggie Tulliver, a brother and sister growing up on the river Floss near the village of St. Oggs, evidently in the 1820’s, after the Napoleonic Wars but prior to the first Reform Bill (1832). The novel spans a period of 10-15 years, from Tom and Maggie’s childhood up until their deaths in a flood on the Floss. The book is fictional autobiography in part, reflecting the disgrace that George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) herself had while in a lengthy relationship with a married man, George Henry Lewes...

Romola by George Eliot Romola

George Eliot's own favorite among her novels, this novel tells the story of Romola, the intelligent daughter of a blind scoller, who is falling in love with a man who is going to change her life and the politics of Florence in a way she doesn't like. Set in 15th century Florence, it is "a deep study of life in the city of Florence from an intellectual, artistic, religious, and social point of view". (Summary by Stav Nisser and Wikipedia.)

The Lifted Veil by George Eliot The Lifted Veil

George Eliot’s 1859 novella, The Lifted Veil, departs radically from the grounded realism of her longer and better known works, such as Middlemarch and Daniel Deronda. Its tone calls to mind the works of middlebrow Sensationists, like Wilkie Collins (The Moonstone), and of some of the better known authors of Victorian era horror writings, such as Bram Stoker (Dracula) and Mary Shelley (Frankenstein.Eliot here explores mystical themes, considering the world of phenomena which are felt but not seen...

Scenes of Clerical Life by George Eliot Scenes of Clerical Life

Scenes of Clerical Life, which appeared in book form in 1858 (after serial publication in the previous year), was the first published fiction by George Eliot, the pen name for Mary Anne Evans. It consists of three novellas based on the lives of country clergymen and their communities. These characters interest Eliot not for their theology — she had abandoned conventional Christian belief — but for their humanity. In these stories, we find the earliest signs of the narrative voice, the humanism, and the realism that would make George Eliot one of the greatest novelists of the 1800s. (Introduction by Bruce Pirie)

By: Joseph Smith Fletcher (1863-1935)

The Middle Temple Murder by Joseph Smith Fletcher The Middle Temple Murder

Midnight. A lonely courtyard. The dead body of a stranger—a prosperous looking, well dressed, elderly man is found in Middle Temple Lane, London. This is one of England's ancient Inns of Court where barristers were traditionally apprenticed and carried on their work. Middle Temple is just a few minutes walk away from busy Fleet Street and the Thames Embankment. In the dead man's pocket is a piece of paper with the name and address of a young barrister. One of the first people to reach the crime scene is the investigative reporter, Frank Spargo, who writes for a leading London newspaper, The Watchman...

Dead Men's Money by Joseph Smith Fletcher Dead Men's Money

A naïve but sincere young lawyer's assistant who only dreams of marrying his childhood sweetheart and yearns to have a home and family with her. His sharp witted boss keeps the firm going by dint of shrewd business sense and legal talent. When the assistant accidentally stumbles into a murder case, the scene is set for events that change all their lives. Dead Men's Money by Joseph Smith Fletcher was published in 1920, the era considered to be the Golden Age of detective fiction. Writers like Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy L...

The Middle of Things by Joseph Smith Fletcher The Middle of Things

If you're in the mood for a cracking good classic murder mystery, The Middle of Things by JS Fletcher will certainly come up to expectations! Richard Viner is your average man on the street who stumbles upon a dead body in a dimly lit alley while taking his usual nightly stroll. When the police arrive, they conclude that this is a case of a robbery gone wrong, as the dead man's valuables are missing. However, as the case progresses, Viner discovers to his consternation, that the prime accused in the case is an old school-mate who is caught pawning items of jewelry belonging to the dead man...

The Paradise Mystery by Joseph Smith Fletcher The Paradise Mystery

A quiet cathedral town in England, full of gossips and people who are not quite who they seem to be, is the setting for this murder mystery.(Summary by Gesine)

The Chestermarke Instinct by Joseph Smith Fletcher The Chestermarke Instinct

Bank manager John Hornbury is missing, as are securities and jewels from the bank’s vault. Gabriel Chestermarke and his nephew Joseph have unaccountably refused to call in the police to investigate the theft from their bank. When Betty Fosdyke shows up to visit her Uncle John, she finds it past belief that he would simply disappear – let alone that he would commit larceny. Unable to simply sit by and wait while a detective from Scotland Yard investigates, Betty elicits the help of the chief clerk at Chestermarke’s bank and launches into the middle of the mystery.(Summary by MaryAnn)

By: Marion Zimmer Bradley (1930-1999)

The Colors of Space by Marion Zimmer Bradley The Colors of Space

In "The Colors of Space," Marion Zimmer Bradley tells the story of Bart Steele, a human being who is disguised as a member of an alien species in order to discover the secrets of their space travel. This book is a science fiction novel set in the future, a time when humans can already travel faster than the speed of light and can reach the remote corners of the universe with the help of another type of beings called the Lhari. In the book, the Lhari help the humans to travel faster than light and go to the far corners of different galaxies but are unwilling to give their secrets to them...

The Door Through Space by Marion Zimmer Bradley The Door Through Space

At one time Race Cargill had been the best Terran Intelligence agent on the complex and mysterious planet of Wolf. He had repeatedly imperiled his life amongst the half-human and non-human creatures of the sullen world. And he had repeatedly accomplished the fantastic missions until his name was emblazoned with glory. But that had all seemingly ended. For six long years he’d sat behind a boring desk inside the fenced-in Terran Headquarters, cut off there ever since he and a rival had scarred and ripped each other in blood-feud...

The Planet Savers by Marion Zimmer Bradley The Planet Savers

The Terran colony on the planet Darkover faces imminent destruction by a plague of the deadly Trailmen's Fever. The only hope is to develop a serum in time, but this requires the cooperation of the elusive native Trailmen, the brilliant parasitologist Dr. Jay Allison, and his split personality. (Introduction by Mark Nelson)

By: Richmal Crompton

More William by Richmal Crompton More William

An eleven year old who remains eleven for more than half a century! As a literary creation, Richmal Crompton's scalawag schoolboy has few peers. Along with his notorious gang of Outlaws, William Brown wreaks havoc not just on his family but also across the entire village. His long suffering family, the local shopkeepers and a host of unforgettable characters make the William series of 21 books a delightful and most amusing read. More William is the second in the long series written by Richmal Crompton Lamburn...

By: H. Beam Piper (1904-1964)

Five Sci-Fi Short Stories by H. Beam Piper by H. Beam Piper Five Sci-Fi Short Stories by H. Beam Piper

Henry Beam Piper’s book “Five Sci-Fi Short Stories“ is a collection of: The Answer, Temple Trouble, Flight From Tomorrow, Police Operation and Graveyard of Dreams. “The Answer” is about two nuclear scientists who have successfully made a very powerful weapon and are planning to drop it from space on un-expecting earthlings. The story is set in 1984, many years after a supposed nuclear war between the US and the Soviet Union had ended. The stories "Temple Trouble" and "Police Operation" deal with alternate histories which is a theme that Piper is well known for...

The Cosmic Computer by H. Beam Piper The Cosmic Computer

Conn Maxwell returns from Terra to his poverty-stricken home planet of Poictesme, “The Junkyard Planet”, with news of the possible location of Merlin, a military super-computer rumored to have been abandoned there after the last war. The inhabitants hope to find Merlin, which they think will be their ticket to wealth and prosperity. But is Merlin real, or just an old rumor? And if they find it will it save them, or tear them apart? (Summary by Mark Nelson)

Space Viking by H. Beam Piper Space Viking

A galactic war has left the Terran Federation in ruins. Formerly civilized planets have decivilized into barbarism. Space Vikings roam the wreckage, plundering and killing for gain. Lord Lucas Trask of Traskon was no admirer of the Space Vikings, but when murder takes his wife on his wedding day, Trask trades everything he has for his own Space Viking ship and sets out on a galaxy-wide quest for revenge. (Summary by Mark Nelson)

Murder in the Gunroom by H. Beam Piper Murder in the Gunroom

The Lane Fleming collection of early pistols and revolvers was one of the best in the country. When Fleming was found dead on the floor of his locked gunroom, a Confederate-made Colt-type percussion .36 revolver in his hand, the coroner’s verdict was “death by accident.” But Gladys Fleming had her doubts. Enough at any rate to engage Colonel Jefferson Davis Rand—better known just as Jeff—private detective and a pistol-collector himself, to catalogue, appraise, and negotiate the sale of her late husband’s collection.

Omnilingual by H. Beam Piper Omnilingual

An expedition to Mars discovers the remains of an advanced civilization, which died out many thousands of years ago. They recovered books and documents left behind, and are puzzled by their contents. Would the team find their “Rosetta Stone” that would allow them to unlock the Martian language, and learn the secrets of this long-dead race? (Summary by Mark Nelson)

The Return by H. Beam Piper The Return

Two-hundred years after a global nuclear war, two explorers from a research outpost, that largely survived the cataclysm, discover a settlement of humans who have managed to maintain their civilisation despite ferocious cannibal neighbours, the Scowrers. However, the explorers must turn detective in order to understand the mystery of their hosts philosophy and religion. (Description by Reynard)

Uller Uprising by H. Beam Piper Uller Uprising

Uller Uprising is the story of a confrontation between a human overlord and alien servants, with an ironic twist at the end. Like most of Piper’s best work, Uller Uprising is modeled after an actual event in human history; in this case the Sepoy Mutiny (a Bengal uprising in British-held India brought about when rumors were spread to native soldiers that cartridges being issued by the British were coated with animal fat. The rebellion quickly spread throughout India and led to the massacre of the British Colony at Cawnpore...

Four-Day Planet by H. Beam Piper Four-Day Planet

Fenris isn't a hell planet, but it's nobody's bargain. With 2,000-hour days and an 8,000-hour year, it alternates blazing heat with killing cold. A planet like that tends to breed a special kind of person: tough enough to stay alive and smart enough to make the best of it. When that kind of person discovers he's being cheated of wealth he's risked his life for, that kind of planet is ripe for revolution. (Introduction from the Gutenberg text)

Oomphel in the Sky by H. Beam Piper Oomphel in the Sky

Natives of the distant planet of Kwannon believe that their world is about to end, and in preparing for the apocalypse, may be unnecessarily bringing about their own demise. The planetary government can’t overcome its own bureaucracy to help them, and the military is overwhelmed. Can a single newsman change the course of a whole people, and save their world? (Summary by Mark Nelson)

The Edge of the Knife by H. Beam Piper The Edge of the Knife

The Terro-Human Future History is Piper’s detailed account of the next 6000 years of human history. 1942, the year the first fission reactor was constructed, is defined as the year 1 A.E. (Atomic Era). In 1973, a nuclear war devastates the planet, eventually laying the groundwork for the emergence of a Terran Federation, once humanity goes into space and develops antigravity technology.The story “The Edge of the Knife” (collected in Empire) occurs slightly before the war, and involves a man who sees flashes of the future. It links many key elements of Piper’s series.

Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper Little Fuzzy

Jack Holloway, a prospector on the planet Zarathustra discovers small furry creatures. These creatures are obviously intelligent, but are they animals or are they sapient? If they are sapient the planet will be declared a protected zone and the company that is developing the planet commercially will lose their exclusive rights to the resources…

Police Operation by H. Beam Piper Police Operation

H. Beam Piper (1904–1964) was an American science fiction author. He wrote many short stories and several novels. He is best known for his extensive Terro-Human Future History series of stories and a shorter series of “Paratime” alternate history tales.

Last Enemy by H. Beam Piper Last Enemy

An undercover Paratimer has disappeared on assignment while in an alternate time line, and it’s up to Verkan Vall of the Paratime Police to save her. To do so, he must infiltrate a universe in which assassination is an honorable profession, and reincarnation a scientific fact. Will Verkan Vall survive in a world of killers and the undead? (Summary by Mark Nelson)

Book cover Null-ABC

"There's some reaction these days that holds scientists responsible for war. Take it one step further: What happens if "book-learnin'" is held responsible ...?"

Book cover Temple Trouble

I'll bet you did not know that our little earth is not limited to the single time line on which we happen to exist. That's right; There are actually thousands, no many millions of parallel times, each existing alongside all the rest, using the same real estate, but following their own path. Some extremely primitive, some very advanced, but all blissfully unaware of the others. Of course this does not affect us at all, unless ... unless one of these time lines discovers the existence of the others and then a way to move easily back and forth from one to the other...

By: Alexander Hamilton (1755/1757-1804)

The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton The Federalist Papers

In order to promote the ratification of the United States Constitution in the late 1780s, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Hay wrote a series of 85 articles and essays explaining their reasons to support the constitution. Most of these articles were published in The Independent Journal and The New York Packet and they later became known as “The Federalist Papers.” In reading the articles, one will encounter very interesting issues like Hamilton’s opposition to including the Bill of Rights in the Constitution and why he thinks a Union is better than a Confederation...

By: Arnold Bennett (1867-1931)

The Card by Arnold Bennett The Card

The ‘Card’ in question is Edward Henry Machin – his mother called him ‘Denry.’This light-hearted story is of his rise from humble beginnings as the son of a washerwoman and sempstress in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, in the pottery towns (which Arnold Bennett christened ‘The Five Towns’) of the English Midlands; how, by his own wits, enterprise and ‘nerve’ he rose to wealth, married bliss and public recognition as the youngest-ever mayor of his home town. “’And yet,’ demanded Councillor Barlow, ‘what’s he done? What great cause is he identified with?’‘He’s identified,’ said the speaker, ‘with the great cause of cheering us all up’...

The Price of Love by Arnold Bennett The Price of Love

Rachel Louise Fleckring works for the elderly Mrs Maldon, and although with the woman for only a short time, she is taken into the heart of the family. She falls in love with one of Mrs Maldon’s descendents, but along the way, she has to come to terms with the fact that he isn’t, perhaps, the perfectly honest man she thought he was. (Summary by Christine)

The Grand Babylon Hotel by Arnold Bennett The Grand Babylon Hotel

Theodore Racksole, a rich American multi-millionaire, buys the Grand Babylon Hotel, a luxurious hotel in London, as a whim – and then finds out there are strange things going on – a German prince is supposed to arrive but never turns up, someone is found murdered in the hotel, but then the body disappears. With the help of his independent daughter Nella and another German prince, Racksole sets out to solve the mystery.Bennett wrote this as a 15-part serial, for a lark, in 15 days, and sold it for 100 pounds. It first appeared in The Golden Penny in 1902, which described it as “the most original, amusing, and thrilling serial written in a decade”. (Summary by Anna Simon)

The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett The Old Wives' Tale

The Old Wives’ Tale is a novel by Arnold Bennett, first published in 1908. It deals with the lives of two very different sisters, Constance and Sophia Baines, following their stories from their youth, working in their mother’s draper’s shop, into old age. It is generally regarded as one of Bennett’s finest works. It covers a period of about 70 years from roughly 1840 to 1905, and is set in Burslem and Paris. (Summary by Andy)

Literary Taste: How to Form It by Arnold Bennett Literary Taste: How to Form It

Arnold Bennett describes a method for enjoying literature, and suggests the contents of a comprehensive library. Chapters 1-10 and 14 describe his method for learning to enjoy literature. Chapters 11, 12, and 13 contain detailed lists of the 337 volumes required to complete a comprehensive library of English works. This reading is from the 1913 version at Project Gutenberg, and so does not contain the revisions made by Swinnerton for the 1939 edition, which included authors of the early Twentieth Century. Swinnerton’s revisions are available from Wikipedia. (Summary by Timothy Ferguson)

Tales of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett Tales of the Five Towns

This is a selection of short stories recounting, with gentle satire and tolerant good humour, the small town provincial life at the end of the nineteenth century, based around the six towns in the county of Staffordshire, England, known as the Potteries. Arnold Bennett chose to fictionalize these towns by changing their names and omitting one (Fenton) as he apparently felt that “Five Towns” was more euphonious than “Six Towns”. The real town names which are thinly disguised in the novel are: Hanley, Longton, Burslem and Tunstal, the fifth, Stoke became “Knype”...

Anna of the Five Towns by Arnold Bennett Anna of the Five Towns

The plot centers on Anna Tellwright, daughter of a wealthy but miserly and dictatorial father, living in the Potteries area of Staffordshire, England. Her activities are strictly controlled by the Methodist church. Having escaped her father by marrying the respectable and attractive Henry, she attempts in vain to help Willy, son of a drunken and bankrupt business associate of her father's.

The Regent by Arnold Bennett The Regent

'The Regent' is, if not a sequel to 'The Card', then a 'Further Adventures of' the eponymous hero of that novel.Denry Machin is now forty-three and begins to feel that he is getting old, that making money and a happy home life are not enough and that he has lost his touch as the entrepreneur and entertainer of the 'Five Towns'.In fact, as he says to himself 'What I want is change - and a lot of it too!'. A chance meeting at the local theatre leads to his going to London and then... (Summary by A.J.M.)

The Human Machine by Arnold Bennett The Human Machine

Bennett asks us to consider our brains as the most wonderful machine, a machine which is the only thing in this world that we can control. As he writes: "I am simply bent on calling your attention to a fact which has perhaps wholly or partially escaped you -- namely, that you are the most fascinating bit of machinery that ever was."As ever, his prose is honeyed, his thoughts inspired, and his advice as relevant today as when it was written. (Introduction by Ruth Golding)

Hilda Lessways by Arnold Bennett Hilda Lessways

This book is the second in Bennett’s four books about life in the Five Towns (the real life Potteries in Staffordshire). It tells the story of Hilda before her marriage to Edwin Clayhanger (from the first book). Bennett explores Hilda's ambition to make a career for herself, her coming of age and her working experiences as a shorthand clerk and keeper of a lodging house in London and Brighton. He also shows her intensifying relationship with the enigmatic George Cannon that ends in her disastrous bigamous marriage and pregnancy, and finally her reconciliation with Edwin Clayhanger (Summary by Simon Evers)

By: Grenville Kleiser (1868-1953)

Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases by Grenville Kleiser Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases

Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases is a practical handbook written by Grenville Kleiser. Grenville is known for his writings on humor, positive thinking and inspirational thought. This serves as a handbook of pertinent expressions, striking similes and terms for embellishing speech and literature. This book can be used to improve vocabulary for reading, writing and speaking alike. Through mastery of words, the most powerful and perfect expression of thought can be delivered orally. Choosing the correct words conveys ideas in a crisp and clear way that will hold and audience's attention...

By: Wilkie Collins (1824-1889)

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins The Moonstone

A young woman who inherits a beautiful diamond known as The Moonstone on her eighteenth birthday becomes the center of this mystery story. The diamond is a gift from an uncle who once served as an army officer in British India. She proudly wears the jewel on her dress at her birthday party that night. The precious stone has a dark and sinister history, which will have a terrible impact on her life and the lives of those around her. You're about to read what's been termed the very first real detective story in the English language...

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins The Woman in White

Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White tells the story of two half-sisters, Laura Fairlie and Marian Halcombe who were embroiled in the sinister plot of Sir Percival Glyde and Count Fosco to take over their family’s wealth. It’s considered to be one of the first “sensation novels” to be published. Like most novels that fall into this category, the protagonists here are pushed to their limits by the villains before they finally got the justice they deserved. The story begins with Walter Hartright helping a woman dressed in white who turned out to have escaped from a mental asylum...

Book cover The Haunted Hotel, A Mystery of Modern Venice

A kind, good-hearted genteel young woman jilted, a suspicious death or two that only a few think could be murder, strange apparitions appearing in an hotel all combine to create a horrifying conundrum. Who was the culprit and will finding out finally put an end to the mystery? (Summary by Kehinde)

Armadale by Wilkie Collins Armadale

The novel has a convoluted plot about two distant cousins both named Allan Armadale. The father of one had murdered the father of the other (the two fathers are also named Allan Armadale). The story starts with a deathbed confession by the murderer in the form of a letter to be given to his baby son when he grows up. Many years are skipped over. The son, mistreated at home, runs away from his mother and stepfather, and takes up a wandering life under the assumed name of Ozias Midwinter.”

The Black Robe by Wilkie Collins The Black Robe

The church has lost out on a valuable piece of land through wars and transfers. Father Benwell is determined to reclaim that property by the conversion of the owner, Lewis Romayne. Enter beautiful Stella, who captures the heart of Romayne. Should Stella capture the love and devotion of Romayne, Father Benwell's scheme would fail, and that is something that he can not allow. Complicating things is the fact that both Romayne and Stella are hiding their own terrible secrets.The Black Robe is an 1881 epistolary novel by famed English writer, Wilkie Collins. The book centers around the misadventures of Lewis Romayne, and is also noted for a perceived anti-Catholic bias

No Name by Wilkie Collins No Name

The story begins in 1846, at Combe-Raven in West Somersetshire, the country residence of the happy Vanstone family. When Andrew Vanstone is killed suddenly in an accident and his wife follows shortly thereafter, it is revealed that they were not married at the time of their daughters' births, making their daughters "Nobody's Children" in the eyes of English law and robbing them of their inheritance. Andrew Vanstone's elder brother Michael gleefully takes possession of his brother's fortune, leaving his nieces to make their own way in the world...

I Say No by Wilkie Collins I Say No

Emily Brown is an orphan girl that almost no one can help but love when they meet her. She is pursued by two worthy men: Mr. Alban Morris, the drawing master at her school; and Rev. Miles Mirabel, a clergyman. However, one of them is lying to her after she discovers that her father's death wasn't natural, as she was led to believe. (Introduction by TriciaG)

The Law and the Lady by Wilkie Collins The Law and the Lady

Valeria Brinton marries Eustace Woodville despite objections from Woodville's family leading to disquiet for Valeria's own family and friends.Just a few days after the wedding, various incidents lead Valeria to suspect her husband is hiding a dark secret in his past and she discovers that he has been using a false name. He refuses to discuss it leading them to curtail their honeymoon and return to London where Valeria learns that he was on trial for his first wife's murder by arsenic. He was tried in a Scottish court and the verdict was 'Not Proven' rather than 'not guilty' implying his guilt but without enough proof for a jury to convict him...

The Frozen Deep by Wilkie Collins The Frozen Deep

The Frozen Deep is a story of a love triangle between Clara, Frank and Richard, spiced up with dangerous expeditions, mysterious visions and life-threatening circumstances. The end is as surprising and unexpected as we are (or are not) accustomed to in Collins' books. (Summary by Diana Majlinger)

The Dead Alive by Wilkie Collins The Dead Alive

Ill feelings exist between the Meadowcroft sons and John Jago, the foreman of the Meadowcroft estate. Then, John Jago disappears, and a body is found in a kiln. The Meadowcroft brothers stand accused of the crime, but are they guilty? The Dead Alive is a novel written by Wilkie Collins based on the true-life Boorn Brothers murder conviction case of 1819. Jesse and Stephen Boorn were sentenced to death for the murder of their brother-in-law, but were they wrongly convicted? (Summary by M Z Spark, Phil, and Barry)

Basil by Wilkie Collins Basil

Basil, son of a father who values the family pedigree and who would not let him marry below his station, falls in love at first sight with a girl he sees on a bus. He stalks her and discovers she is Margaret Sherwin, only daughter of a linen draper. He stalks her and persuades her father to let him marry her secretly. He agrees on the condition, that, as his daughter is only seventeen, they live apart for the first year. At first the secret works, but then the mysterious Mannion, whose emotions cannot be read in his face, returns from abroad. On the last night of the year Basil follows Margaret and Mannion and discovers them in flagrante delicto. (Wikipedia)

Poor Miss Finch by Wilkie Collins Poor Miss Finch

"Poor Miss Finch." That is what everyone calls the courageous protagonist of this book. In other words, "poor thing, she's blind, isn't it awful?" Ha! Lucilla Finch is the wisest of all the characters, in spite of, and perhaps because of, her blindness. This story is about her trials, tribulations and triumphs. She reminds me of myself. Not the falling recklessly in love and being pulled this way and that by foolish young men and mad old doctors. I mean that, like her, I'm blind and proud of it! (Introduction by Sandra G)

Jezebel's Daughter by Wilkie Collins Jezebel's Daughter

A brilliant chemist and a shrewd businessman — die on the same day. The widow of the chemist, Mrs. Fontaine, is left with the poisons he was researching , while Mrs. Wagner is left with her husband's mental health institution reforms and his plans for hiring women along with men in his firm's offices. Mrs. Wagner believes in treating madmen gently, and requests for the funny little man Jack Straw to be released from the madhouse. At the same time, her nephew David Glenney is sent to the Frankfurt office, where he works with Mr Engelmann and Mr Keller...

The Guilty River by Wilkie Collins The Guilty River

After his father’s death Gerard Roylake returns from Germany to take up his inheritance at Trimley Deen. On one evening he meets his childhood friend, Cristel Toller. They fall in love, but there is a crux. A deaf man, called The Lodger is obsessed with Cristel. He invites Gerard to tea with evil intentions… and Gerard accepts the invitation.The book is written in the first person and tells the story from Gerard's point of view. (Summary by Diana Majlinger)

By: Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane The Red Badge of Courage

The Red Badge of Courage is a fiction that tells the story of a soldier named Henry Fleming during the American Civil War. The novel gained widespread praise from critics and was also a commercial success shortly after its release and made Stephen Crane an instant celebrity at the young age of 24. In the novel, Henry was one of the enlisted soldiers in the 304th New York Regiment. He flees from battle in one of the skirmishes they had against the Confederates and to hide his cowardice, he attempted to inflict a wound to himself which is referred to as the “red badge of courage...

Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane Maggie: A Girl of the Streets

Stephen Crane’s first novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets has been called “the first dark flower of American Naturalism” for its distinctive elements of naturalistic fiction. The chief character, Maggie, descends into prostitution after being led astray by her lover. Rather than focusing on those that make up the very rich or middle class, the novel highlights the deplorable living conditions of the working class during the so-called Gilded Age in New York’s Bowery. (Summary adapted from Wikipedia by Illiterati)

Selected Short Stories by Stephen Crane Selected Short Stories

At the time of his death at the age of 28, Stephen Crane had become an important figure in American literature. He was nearly forgotten, however, until two decades later when critics revived interest in his life and work. Stylistically, Crane's writing is characterized by vivid intensity, distinctive dialects, and irony. Common themes involve fear, spiritual crises and social isolation. Although recognized primarily for The Red Badge of Courage, which has become an American classic, Crane is also known for short stories such as "The Open Boat", "The Blue Hotel", "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky", and The Monster...

By: Plato (428/427 BC - 348/347 BC)

Phaedo by Plato Phaedo

Plato's Phaedo is one of the great dialogues of his middle period, along with the Republic and the Symposium. The Phaedo, which depicts the death of Socrates, is also Plato's seventh and last dialogue to detail the philosopher's final days (the first six being Theaetetus, Euthyphro, Sophist, Statesman, Apology, and Crito).In the dialogue, Socrates discusses the nature of the afterlife on his last day before being executed by drinking hemlock. Socrates has been imprisoned and sentenced to death by an Athenian jury for not believing in the gods of the state and for corrupting the youth of the city...

By: Edward George Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873)

Last Days of Pompeii by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton Last Days of Pompeii

The Last Days of Pompeii, a novel by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton tells the love story of the Greeks Glaucus and Ione who were living in Pompeii when Mt. Vesuvius erupted and destroyed the city. But aside from telling their romance, the book is also full of insights about the decadent lifestyle of the Romans during the later part of their empire’s history. The different characters in the story represent the different civilizations which they come from. Glaucus, the main protagonist in the novel was portrayed as a handsome Greek nobleman...

By: James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)

The Last Of The Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper The Last Of The Mohicans

The Last of the Mohicans is an epic novel by James Fenimore Cooper, first published in January 1826. It was one of the most popular English-language novels of its time, and helped establish Cooper as one of the first world-famous American writers.The story takes place in 1757 during the French and Indian War, when France and Great Britain battled for control of the American and Canadian colonies. During this war, the French often allied themselves with Native American tribes in order to gain an advantage over the British, with unpredictable and often tragic results. Summary from Wikipedia

The Spy by James Fenimore Cooper The Spy

Between 1865-73 the tumultuous American Revolution rages on in different battlefields. The air is thick with hatred and suspicion as the Continental and British armies clash in bloody warfare. In Westchester County, New York, an area is considered a neutral ground for both forces, Harvey Birch plies his dangerous mission. An innocuous peddler by day, he is in fact an American spy, though he does nothing to correct anyone who assumes he is a British spy. In a magnificent country mansion, The Locusts, live the wealthy Whartons...

The Pathfinder by James Fenimore Cooper The Pathfinder

Natty Bumppo goes by many names: La Longue Carabine, Hawk Eye, Leatherstocking, and in this tale, The Pathfinder. Guide, scout, hunter, and when put to it, soldier, he also fills a lot of roles in pre-Revolution upstate New York. An old friend, Sergeant Dunham of the 55th Regiment of Foot, asks him to guide his daughter through the wilderness to the fort at Oswego where Dunham serves. With the French engaging native Indian allies against the British and the Yankee colonists, such a journey is far from safe...

The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper The Deerslayer

The Deerslayer, or The First Warpath (1841) was the last of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking tales to be written. Its 1740-1745 time period makes it the first installment chronologically and in the lifetime of the hero of the Leatherstocking tales, Natty Bumppo.

The Pioneers by James Fenimore Cooper The Pioneers

The Pioneers: The Sources of the Susquehanna; a Descriptive Tale is one of the Leatherstocking Tales, a series of five novels by American writer James Fenimore Cooper. The Pioneers was first of these books to be published (1823), but the period of time covered by the book (principally 1793) makes it the fourth chronologically. (The others are The Deerslayer, The Last of the Mohicans, The Pathfinder, and The Prairie.)The story takes place on the rapidly advancing frontier of New York State and features...

By: Kate Chopin (1851-1904)

The Awakening by Kate Chopin The Awakening

This book opens with a young wife and mother, vacationing at a resort in the Gulf of Mexico with her husband and children. The resort is run by an elderly Frenchwoman, who manages the place along with her two sons. The young wife and one of the sons develop a deep and passionate attachment to each other, with devastating effects on both families and their circle of friends. When Kate Chopin's 1899 novel The Awakening, originally titled A Solitary Soul, was first released, it evoked a storm of controversy...

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