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By: Howard Pyle (1853-1911)

Book cover Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates

Swashbuckling tales of legendary pirates, buccaneers, and marooners, terrors of the Spanish Main.

By: Washington Irving (1783-1859)

Book cover Old Christmas: From the Sketch Book of Washington Irving

Washington Irving's Old Christmas tells of an American's travels through England during the Christmas season. Through a chance meeting with an old friend he is able to experience Christmas in a stately manor house. Through his eyes as a houseguest he glimpses the uniquely British customs and celebrations of Christmas as it would have been experienced during the Middle Ages, rather than in the early 19th century.

By: James Oliver Curwood

The Alaskan by James Oliver Curwood The Alaskan

This story opens with a young woman who voyages alone into the wilds of Alaska to escape her tragic past. It then continues on to a young man who passionately protects the pristine environment, people and way of life in this snowbound country. Finally, a greedy profiteer arrives in the narrative whose only aim is to fill his pockets. When these three characters encounter each other on the stark and snowy plains, it's a clash of ideals and the sparks begin to fly. The Alaskan by James Oliver Curwood is one of his very engaging adventure romance conservationist stories and was an instant bestseller, like most of his books, when it was first published in 1923...

God's Country—And the Woman by James Oliver Curwood God's Country—And the Woman

James Curwood wrote many adventures of the far north. By 1909 he had saved enough money to travel to the Canadian northwest, a trip that provided the inspiration for his wilderness adventure stories. The success of his novels afforded him the opportunity to return to the Yukon and Alaska for several months each year that allowed him to write more than thirty such books. The Canadian North is often referred to as “God’s Country” God’s Country is a tale of adventure, mystery and romance!

By: Robert Michael Ballantyne (1825-1894)

Fast in the Ice by Robert Michael Ballantyne Fast in the Ice

At the age of 16 Ballantyne went to Canada and was six years in the service of the Hudson’s Bay Company. His rule in writing, being in every case, was to write as far as possible from personal knowledge of the scenes he described. In this book he details the lives of the crew as they must overwinter in the frozen north including their meetings with Eskimos and bears and their struggles with disease. This is a realistic account of what life was like for the explorers of the Arctic.

By: Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876-1958)

The Amazing Interlude by Mary Roberts Rinehart The Amazing Interlude

It is the early days of The Great War. As the curtain rises, Sara Lee is sitting by the fire in her aunt and uncle’s home, knitting a baby afghan. Her beau’s name is Harvey. He has his eye on a little house that is just perfect for two and he will soon propose to Sara Lee. But in this play, the mise en scène is about to change. A fairyland transformation will take place and Sara Lee will step into a new and different story, where she is the princess in a forest of adventure. There is a prince, too, whose name is Henri...

Book cover More Tish

Mary Roberts Rinehart wrote 6 books about the elderly Letitia (Tish) Carberry and the escapades she gets her elderly lady cronies into. The series led to a 1942 movie with Marjorie Main. This particular book, the third in the series, was written after Mary's stint as a war correspondent in Belgium during the first World War.

By: John Galsworthy (1867-1933)

The Man of Property by John Galsworthy The Man of Property

The first book in Galsworthy’s trilogy, The Forsyte Saga, The Man of Property revolves around the lives of the Forsytes, a self-conceited and cold family, who place a high value on propagating money and rising from their yeoman roots. The novel chronicles the events that lead to their inevitable demise, which is instigated by the stuffy man of property, Soames Forsyte, as he pursues the ideals of the preceding generation, whilst maintaining his own obsession with ownership. At the same time, Galsworthy candidly criticizes the values of the upper-middle classes, by means of satire, irony, a mixed array of realistic characters, an evocative setting, and an intricate plot...

Book cover Beyond

Gyp, the daughter of ex-Major Charles Claire Winton, at the age of 23 marries Fiorsen, a Swedish violin virtuoso. Her mother, the wife of another man, has been Winton's mistress; she had died when Gyp was born. A highly sensitive child, Gyp has grown up in isolated surroundings with a kind, but very British, father. As she gets older her father tries to introduce her into society. An attack of gout takes him to Wiesbaden for a cure and, as he never goes anywhere without her, she accompanies him...

By: Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880)

Book cover Salammbô

After completing the famous Mme Bovary, Flaubert put all his efforts into researching the Punic Wars and completed the lesser known Salammbô. In this volume, Flaubert describes in detail the Mercenary Revolt and the fight of the Mercenaries against the all-powerful Carthage, the theft of the magical Zaimph and the love and hate between the Carthaginian princess Salammbô and the fiercest leader of the Mercenaries, Matho.

By: Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850)

Book cover Father Goriot

One of Balzac's most popular works, set around 1815 during the re-ascendancy of the Bourbon kings following the defeat of Napoleon. Said to have been an inspiration to Charles Dickens and Henry James as well as others, the novel seeks to portray the realism of scenes and people. It is also a commentary upon the changing social strata and mores of the day.

By: William Makepeace Thackeray

The History of Henry Esmond, Esq., A Colonel in the Service of Her Majesty Queen Anne by William Makepeace Thackeray The History of Henry Esmond, Esq., A Colonel in the Service of Her Majesty Queen Anne

A classic Victorian novel and a historical novel rolled into one! Read about court and army life during the reign of Queen Anne – a story of Catholic – Protestant intrigue, and the party which aspired to the restoration of Bonny Prince Charlie. And, a good love story as well.

Book cover Virginians

It tells the story of Henry Esmond's twin grandsons, George and Henry Warrington. Henry's romantic entanglements with an older woman lead up to his taking a commission in the British army and fighting under the command of General Wolfe at the capture of Quebec. On the outbreak of the American War of Independence he takes the revolutionary side. George, who is also a British officer, thereupon resigns his commission rather than take up arms against his brother.

By: Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?)

In the Midst of Life; Tales of Soldiers and Civilians by Ambrose Bierce In the Midst of Life; Tales of Soldiers and Civilians

These stories detail the lives of soldiers and civilians during the American Civil War. This is the 1909 edition. The 1909 edition omits six stories from the original 1891 edition; these six stories are added to this recording (from an undated English edition). The 1891 edition is entitled In The Midst Of Life; Tales Of Soldiers And Civilians. The Wikipedia entry for the book uses the title Tales of Soldiers and Civilians. Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842 – after December 26, 1913) was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist and satirist...

By: Willa Cather (1873-1947)

My Antonia by Willa Cather My Antonia

Two young children arrive in a small frontier settlement on the wild and desolate plains of Nebraska, on the same day and by the same train. Jim Burden is a ten year old orphan from Virginia who has come to live with his grandparents, while Antonia Shimerda who's the same age as Jim, arrives with her large, immigrant family from Eastern Europe to try and eke out a living in the New World. The children find themselves thrown together as they live in adjoining farms. Jim tutors Antonia in English and they become good friends as they grow up...

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather O Pioneers!

Published in 1913, O Pioneers! is the first novel in Cather’s Great Plains trilogy and follows the life of its young heroine, Alexandra Bergson, as she fulfills her father’s dying wish to take care of his farm, while also ensuring her brothers are well looked after. Entrusted with a great responsibility, Alexandra is determined to fulfill her father’s wish, as she goes on to prove her skills as a thriving farmer even though the task comes with a hefty price on her happiness. In addition, the...

By: Guy Wetmore Carryl

Grimm Tales Made Gay by Guy Wetmore Carryl Grimm Tales Made Gay

A comic rendering in verse of well-loved Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, each ending with a moral and full of puns. The titles of the tales themselves make another verse.

By: Robert W. Service (1874-1958)

Book cover Ottawa Folk Festival Robert Service Collection

The Spell of the Yukon by Robert Service with patrons, musicians and organizers. Robert Service is an iconic Canadian poet.

By: Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951)

Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis Babbitt

By: Charles Kingsley

Hypatia by Charles Kingsley Hypatia

Charles Kingsley (June 12 1819 - January 23 1875) was an English divine, university professor, historian, and novelist, particularly associated with the West Country and north-east Hampshire. As a novelist, his chief power lay in his descriptive faculties, which are evident in this novel as he pictures the Egyptian desert and the ancient city Alexandria. Hypatia, 1st published in 1853, is set in 5th Century A.D. Egypt. It centers upon a young orphan monk from a desert monastery who feels called to continue his religious life in the city...

By: Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1837-1915)

Lady Audley's Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon Lady Audley's Secret

Inspired by a true life story, Lady Audley's Secret is the story of a woman's overwhelming ambition and passion for social success. When the first book came out in 1862, Victorian readers were shocked and outraged by its portrayal of aspects like bigamy, insanity, yearning for social status and the will to commit murder to achieve one's goals. The novel belongs to a genre that became very popular during that era. Known as “sensation novels” they can probably be equated to today's pulp fiction...

By: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)

The Mystery of Cloomber by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle The Mystery of Cloomber

This novel is written by the author of, among other novels, the Stories of Sherlock Holmes. It is narrated by John Fothergill West, who tries to discover why the tenant of Cloomber Hall, General Heatherstone, is nervous to the point of being paranoid. Why are his fears becoming stronger every year at the fifth of October? And why doesn't he let his children leave home? This is a great mystery novel with a sharp twist at the end.

Sir Nigel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Sir Nigel

By 1348 the House of Loring has fallen on hard times. Together, the Black Death and the greedy monks of Waverley have bled away all of the Loring wealth. Even the manor house will have to go to pay their debts.Then a chance encounter with the King of England provides Nigel, the last of the Lorings, with the chance to seek his fortune in the constant wars with France. But more importantly for Nigel it also means that he may be able to do the "three small deeds" that will show he is worthy to ask for the hand of the Lady Mary in marriage.Filled with chivalry, humour, and high romance, Sir Nigel is simply a rattling good yarn.

Book cover Uncle Bernac: A Memory of the Empire

Looking for a replacement to Sherlock Holmes after the author had killed him off in 1894, Doyle wrote this murder mystery in the dying years of the 19th century. Set in Napoleon’s era, it involves a Frenchman returning to his native land to join the Emperor’s ranks.

Book cover Desert Drama: Being the Tragedy Of The Korosko

Also published under the title The Tragedy of the Korosko (1898). A group of European tourists are enjoying their trip to Egypt in the year 1895. They are sailing up the River Nile in a "a turtle-bottomed, round-bowed stern-wheeler", the Korosko. They intend to travel to Abousir at the southern frontier of Egypt, after which the Dervish country starts. They are attacked and abducted by a marauding band of Dervish warriors. The novel contains a strong defence of British Imperialism and in particular the Imperial project in North Africa. It also reveals the very great suspicion of Islam felt by many Europeans at the time.

By: Henry Handel Richardson (1870-1946)

Australia Felix by Henry Handel Richardson Australia Felix

The story of Richard Mahony, a doctor trained in Edinburgh who comes to Ballarat in the gold rush of the 1850s. At first he runs a shop but later he marries and returns to medical practice. His story is interwoven with that of his wife’s brothers and sister. Even after his medical practice becomes successful he is still unhappy living in the colony and decides to return home to Britain. Richard is a restless irritable man whose character is said to be based on the author’s own father. This book is the first of the trilogy ‘The Fortunes of Richard Mahony’, but stands well on its own...

By: Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott Ivanhoe

Medieval England in the 12th century. The evil Prince John rules England in place of his brother, the noble Richard the Lionheart, who is being held in an Austrian prison by Duke Leopold of Austria, while returning from one of his Crusades. Under the avaricious and Machiavellian John, the Norman aristocrats are in constant conflict with the native Saxon people. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott is set in these turbulent times. The eponymous hero, Wilfred of Ivanhoe, the son of a Saxon nobleman has been disinherited by his father for following King Richard into war...

The Talisman by Sir Walter Scott The Talisman

The Talisman is a gripping tale set near the end of the Third Crusade. King Richard the Lionheart is grievously ill, and all around him the leaders from allied countries plot and scheme to gain personal power, putting the future of the crusade in jeopardy. Sir Kenneth of Scotland finds himself caught up in events, and finds both his honour and his life are now on the line. Can a cure be found for the King? Can Kenneth redeem his honour? – Written by Rowen.

Rob Roy by Sir Walter Scott Rob Roy

Rob Roy is a historical novel by Walter Scott. It is narrated by Frank Osbaldistone, the son of an English merchant who travels first to the North of England, and subsequently to the Scottish Highlands to collect a debt stolen from his father. On the way he encounters the larger-than-life title character of Rob Roy MacGregor. Though Rob Roy is not the lead character (in fact the narrative does not move to Scotland until half way through the book) his personality and actions are key to the development of the novel.

Waverley by Sir Walter Scott Waverley

Waverley is set during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, which sought to restore the Stuart dynasty in the person of Charles Edward Stuart (or 'Bonnie Prince Charlie'). It relates the story of a young dreamer and English soldier, Edward Waverley, who was sent to Scotland in 1745. He journeys North from his aristocratic family home, Waverley-Honour, in the south of England first to the Scottish Lowlands and the home of family friend Baron Bradwardine, then into the Highlands and the heart of the 1745 Jacobite uprising and aftermath.

Kenilworth by Sir Walter Scott Kenilworth

An Elizabethan era historical novel by Scotland’s master of fiction, Sir Walter Scott. With a cast of historical and created characters, including the Queen herself, Scott presents the sad history and tragic consequences of the secretive marriage of young Amy Robsart and the Earl of Leicester. (Summary by SK)

By: Rabindranath Tagore

The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore The Home and the World

Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941), also known by the sobriquet Gurudev, was a Bengali poet, Brahmo religionist, visual artist, playwright, novelist, and composer whose works reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He became Asia’s first Nobel laureate when he won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature. The Home and the World is a 1916 novel, set in the estate of the rich Bengali noble Nikhil. He lives happily with his beautiful wife Bimala until the appearance of his friend and radical revolutionist, Sandip...

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