Beau Geste. Dramatisation of PC Wren’s classic story of honour, love and adventure.The Geste brothers become the focus of suspicion and hostility from an assortment of international ne’er do wells thrown together as a platoon of the French Foreign Legion. A sudden attack on a remote desert fort by Toureg raiders brings matters to a head and provides the explanation for the disappearance of the Blue Water sapphire.
Watership Down. Richard Adams’ extraordinary best-seller, Watership Down takes us to a world we have never truly seen: to the remarkable life that teems in the fields, forests, and riverbanks, far beyond our cities and towns. It is a powerful saga of courage, leadership, and survival; and epic tale of a hardy band of Berkshire rabbits forced to flee the destruction of their fragile community and their trials and triumphs in the face of extraordinary adversity as they pursue a glorious dream called “home.”
The Siege of Krishnapur. By James Gordon Farrell. India, 1857 – the year of the Great Mutiny, when Muslim soldiers turned in bloody rebellion on their British overlords. This time of convulsion is the subject of J. G. Farrell’s The Siege of Krishnapur, widely considered one of the finest British novels of the last fifty years. Farrell’s story is set in an isolated Victorian outpost on the subcontinent. Rumours of strife filter in from afar, and yet the members of the colonial community remain confident of their military and, above all, moral superiority. But when they find themselves under actual siege, the true character of their dominion – at once brutal, blundering, and wistful – is soon revealed.
‘For a novel to be witty is one thing, to tell a good story is another, to be serious is yet another, but to be all three is surely enough to make it a masterpiece’. John Spurling, The New Statesman.
The Norman Conquests is a trilogy of plays written in 1973 by Alan Ayckbourn. The small scale of the drama is typical of Ayckbourn. There are only six characters, namely Norman, his wife Ruth, her brother Reg and his wife Sarah, Ruth’s sister Annie, and Tom, Annie’s next-door-neighbour. The plays are at times wildly comic, and at times poignant in their portrayals of the relationships between six more or less unhappy characters. Each of the plays depicts the same six characters over the same weekend in a different part of a house. Table Manners is set in the dining room, Living Together in the living room, and Round and Round the Garden in the garden. Each play is self-contained, and they may be listened to in any order. Some of the scenes overlap, and on several occasions a character’s exit from one play corresponds with an entrance in another.
A Stir of Echoes. By Richard Matheson. Tom Wallace lived an ordinary life, until a chance event awakened psychic abilities he never knew he possessed. Now he’s hearing the private thoughts of the people around him-and learning shocking secrets he never wanted to know. But as Tom’s existence becomes a waking nightmare, even greater jolts are in store as he becomes the unwilling recipient of a compelling message from beyond the grave!
The Body on the Beach. By Simon Brett. In the English seaside village of Fethering (located next to the town of Tarring), recently retired Carole Seddon just wishes to live a quite, sensible life with Gulliver, her Labrador Retriever. But when she discovers a dead body on the beach while walking the dog, her sensible life is suddenly quite complicated. And with the help of her bohemian neighbor Jude, Carole finds a new purpose in life: as a detective.
More detective stories in the Detective Pages.
The Age of Innocence. By Edith Wharton. Newland Archer, gentleman lawyer and heir to one of New York City’s best families, is happily anticipating a highly desirable marriage to the sheltered and beautiful May Welland. Yet he finds reason to doubt his choice of bride after the appearance of Countess Ellen Olenska, May’s exotic, beautiful thirty-year-old cousin, who has been living in Europe. Ellen has returned to New York after scandalously separating herself (per rumor) from a bad marriage to a Polish Count. At first, Ellen’s arrival and its potential taint to his bride’s family disturbs him, but he becomes intrigued by the worldly Ellen who flouts New York society’s fastidious rules. As Newland’s admiration for the countess grows, so does his doubt about marrying May, a perfect product of Old New York society; his match with May no longer seems the ideal fate he had imagined.
Fatherland. By Robert Harris. The story begins in Nazi Germany, the Third Reich in April 1964, in the week leading up to Adolf Hitler’s 75th birthday. The plot follows detective Xavier March, an investigator working for the Kriminalpolizei (Kripo), as he investigates the suspicious death of a high-ranking Nazi, Josef Bühler, in the Havel, on the outskirts of Berlin. As March uncovers more details he realises that he is caught up in a political scandal involving senior Nazi party officials, who are apparently being systematically murdered under staged circumstances. In fact, as soon as the body is identified, the Gestapo claims jurisdiction and orders the Kripo to close its investigation.
Birdsong. By Sebastian Faulks. This intensely romantic yet stunningly realistic novel spans three generations and the unimaginable gulf between the First World War and the present. As the young Englishman Stephen Wraysford passes through a tempestuous love affair with Isabelle Azaire in France and enters the dark, surreal world beneath the trenches of No Man’s Land, Sebastian Faulks creates a world of fiction that is as tragic as A Farewell to Arms and as sensuous as The English Patient. Crafted from the ruins of war and the indestructibility of love.
Becket or The Honour of God. By Jean Anouilh. It is 1173 and Henry II, the King of England does penance for the murder of the Archbishop Thomas Becket, once Chancellor and his friend. Plantagenet power has triumphed over the independence of the clergy, but at what personal cost?
The Nine Days Queen. By Amanda Whittington. The story of the trial of Lady Jane Grey, proclaimed Queen of England in 1553 at the age of 16, nine days later locked in the Tower and, within a year, dead.
Sword of Honour. By Evelyn Waugh. Sword of Honour is set during World War II, largely based on Waugh’s own experiences as an army officer, and is the crowning achievement of Evelyn Waugh’s career. Its central character is Guy Crouchback, head of an ancient but decayed Catholic family, who at first discovers new purpose in the challenge to defend Christian values against Nazi barbarism, but then gradually finds the complexities and cruelties of war too much for him. Yet, though often somber, Sword of Honour is also a brilliant comedy, peopled by the fantastic figures so familiar from Waugh’s early satires.
There are two versions available:
Version one: an 11 part adaptation from 1984.
Version two: a 7 part adaptation from 2013.