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  Classics

The Ant and the Grasshopper and Other Stories by Aesop

The stories in this book are more than a thousand years old. Some are serious. Most are funny. All make you think.

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The Brave Little Tailor and Other Stories by the Brothers Grimm

You can read five fairy tales in this book. The stories take us to palaces and a tall tower. They take us into the dark forest. They lead us into fairyland.

 

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The Emperor's New Clothes and Other Stories by Hans Christian Andersen

An emperor loves clothes. A tin soldier falls in love. A duckling thinks he is ugly. An emperor gets a new toy. A soldier finds a magic tinderbox. A prince wants to marry. Read these six favourite fairy tales to find out what happens to them all.

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Folk Tales from Around the World

Folk tales are old stories. They started as part of family life. No one knows who first made them up. Usually older people told them to younger people. The five stories in this book come from different parts of the world.

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The Lion and the Mouse and Other Stories by Aesop

The stories in this book are more than two thousand years old. Some are serious. Most are funny. All make you think.

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The Little Mermaid and Other Stories by Hans Christian Andersen

There are four stories. In each story, the character has a wish. The little mermaid wants to be a real girl and marry a handsome prince. A little girl wants some food and to be warm. Eliza, a princess, wants to help her brothers who have been turned into swans by a wicked witch. A poor young prince wants to marry the emperor's daughter.
What happens to all these characters? Do you think they get their wishes? Read these favourite fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen to find the answers.

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The Monkey King

A magic stone cracks open like an egg. Monkey jumps out! In this book, you will read about Monkey's adventures.

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Alice is sitting by the river when suddenly a white rabbit runs past her. Then the rabbit takes a watch out of its coat pocket, and says it is late! She runs after the rabbit, and follows it into a large rabbit hole. This is how Alice's adventures in Wonderland begin.

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The Call of the Wild and Other Stories

In the North it is so cold in winter that everything is covered with ice and snow. If you want to travel, you must use a sledge pulled by dogs. If you walk around in the cold, you must take great care to keep warm and dry. Why do people want to go to the North? They want to find gold there and become rich. These short stories are about some of the people and animals who lived and worked in the North, and how they fought to stay alive.

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Emma

Pretty, rich young Emma Woodhouse is very pleased with herself when her closest friend, Miss Taylor, marries Mr Weston. Emma thinks that these two people have fallen in love because of her. She decides to find good husbands for her other friends as well. Soon her matchmaking begins to go wrong ...

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The Golden Goose and Other Stories

Three brothers go to cut wood. The two older brothers come home with nothing, but the youngest one is given a bird with golden feathers. Two sisters, one kind, the other horrible, get water from a spring. The kind girl becomes rich. Her sister lives alone and never speaks again. Find out what happened in these and other fairy tales.

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Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre does not have an easy life. Her mother and father die when she is just a small child. She goes to live with her aunt and three cousins, but they treat her cruelly. She is sent away to a boarding school at Lowood. She does well and grows up to become a teacher there. Then she moves to Thornfield Hall and falls in love with the mysterious Mr Rochester ...

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Just So Stories

At the beginning of time, the animals were quite different from the ones we see today. Can you imagine a zebra with no stripes or a leopard with no spots? The first elephant did not have a trunk to swat flies with, and the first camel did not have a hump. How did they become the animals we know today? Read these strange and amazing stories to find out.

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Little Women

The four March girls work hard while their father is away at war. Life is hard, but the girls still have time for fun. The girls all learn something, and grow up a little, while their father is away. When he finally comes home, his 'little women' have a few surprises for him.

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The Secret Garden

After the death of her parents, Mary is brought back from India to live with her uncle in England. She is sickly and spoilt, and her uncle's big, old house is strange and mysterious. Mary is told of a secret garden that has been locked up for ten years, and she is determined to see it. What does she find there?

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Tales from the Arabian Nights

A cruel king marries beautiful young women, but always has their heads cut off in the morning. However, his new wife, Sheherezade, is clever. Every night, she starts to tell him a wonderful story. She tells him about a robbers' cave, full of treasure; she tells him the story of Sinbad the sailor, of a genie in a bottle, of Aladdin and his magic lamp, and many more.

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Treasure Island

Jim Hawkins lives at an inn with his mother and father. One day an old sailor is killed there. In his bag, Jim finds a map of an island, with red crosses on it. Jim's friends, Squire Trelawney and Dr Livesey, say it is a treasure map. It shows where pirates have hidden their gold. Jim goes with his friends to find the gold, but they meet pirates on their journey.

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The Wizard of Oz

Dorothy and her little dog, Toto, are carried by a cyclone from her aunt and uncle's house in Kansas. When they come down, they find themselves in the land of Oz. There Dorothy begins an exciting journey with her new friends. They want to go and see the wonderful Wizard of Oz in the Emerald City. Only he can give them what they want.

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Hilton Cubitt lives in the country with his American wife. The couple start receiving drawings of little dancing men. Cubitt goes to see Sherlock Holmes about these drawings, which seem to have frightened Cubitt's wife. Then there is a murder. Now Holmes must quickly work out what the pictures mean so that he can catch the killer. Watch the detective, Sherlock Holmes, and his assistant, Dr Watson, at work in this and three other exciting mysteries.

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A Christmas Carol

A mean, lonely old man has an unpleasant surprise when he reaches the front door of his home on the night before Christmas. As he looks at the door knocker, it turns into the face of a friend who has been dead for many years! This is just the beginning of a long night in which Ebenezer Scrooge talks to his dead friend, and meets three other ghosts.

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The Golden Touch and Other Stories

Here you will read about a king who could make gold just by touching things; a young prince who killed a monster, but lost his father; a poor young woman who got into trouble by eating half an apple; a boy who loved flying so much that he flew too close to the sun; and much more. These are stories which can teach us about life.

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Gulliver's Travels — A Voyage to Lilliput

Gulliver's ship is lost in a storm, and he has to swim to save his life. After many hours, he reaches land. He lies down and falls asleep. When he wakes up, he can't get up. He is tied to the ground. His hair is tied down too, so he can't move his head. He feels something walking along his body. There, standing on his chest, is a man. He is no more than six inches tall!

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The Jungle Book

Mowgli, the man cub, is raised by Mother Wolf and soon becomes her favourite. He learns about the Law of the Jungle from Baloo, the old brown bear, and Bagheera, the black panther. But Mowgli is in danger. Shere Khan, the bad-tempered old tiger, hates him and wants to kill him.

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Lord Jim

Jim works as a waterclerk in the East. Everyone likes him, but he never stays long in the same job. He always leaves suddenly, and never tells anyone why he is going. He is a man with a secret. Wherever he travels, it seems he cannot hide from his secret. What is Jim's secret? What will happen to Jim? Read on and find out.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream and Other Stories from Shakespeare's Plays

One midsummer night, two lovers run away to the woods where they find two other lovers - and fairies and elves! Read how Viola dresses as a man to become the servant of a prince, and then falls in love with him. You can also read the famous story of the young lovers, Romeo and Juliet, who cannot live in peace, because their families hate each other.

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The Mill on the Floss

Maggie Tulliver is tall and beautiful, and she is clever. While Maggie's brother Tom works hard so that he can take over the flour mill which their father manages, Maggie's mind is on other matters.
Maggie loves the son of her father's greatest enemy. But the man who is expected to marry her cousin Lucy falls in love with Maggie.
Read this romantic and tragic story and discover Maggie's fate.

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Nicholas Nickleby

Nicholas Nickleby goes to London with his mother and sister Kate after his father dies. They are poor and ask a relative, Ralph Nickleby, to help.
Soon things start to go wrong. Ralph Nickleby decides he will do anything he can to punish his nephew, even if that means hurting the people Nicholas loves.
Read this exciting story, and find out how Nicholas saves his loved ones.

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Oliver Twist

Poor Oliver! He has no family, and no friends. Nobody cares for him. The only people he knows are thieves, and they want him to be a thief, too. Now the police have caught him for stealing. Oliver has done nothing wrong, but the judge does not believe him. He wants to send Oliver to prison. One kind old man thinks Oliver might be a good boy, and tries to help him. Find out how Oliver gets away from the thieves, and how, at last, he discovers the truth about his past.

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The Prince and the Pauper

One day two young boys meet. They look exactly the same, but there is one big difference: Tom is a poor beggar and Edward is a prince, the son of the King of England. The boys swap clothes, and Edward, now dressed in beggar's rags, is mistaken for Tom and thrown from the palace by his own guards. Suddenly Prince Edward has to live as a pauper in the streets of London, while Tom rules the country, enjoying being a prince. What will happen when the king dies, and the real prince must take his place?

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Stories from Greek Tragedies

The greed, courage, love and jealousy of the characters make these stories as sad and moving today as they were to the ancient Greeks. Read on to discover the strengths and weaknesses of humankind.

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Stories from Shakespeare's Comedies

These stories come from the plays of William Shakespeare. They are set in different places hundreds of years ago. They are comedies about love, with silly fights, plots, tricks, and disguises.

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Tales of King Arthur

Young Arthur needs a sword. He runs into a church and finds one stuck in a stone, so he takes it. Then he finds out that only one person in the land can take the sword from the stone, and that person is the true king of Britain. Arthur becomes King, marries a beautiful princess and receives the Round Table as a gift. The table has room for 150 good, brave knights. These tales of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table have been popular for over 700 years.

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Through the Looking Glass

A little girl called Alice suddenly finds herself in the dreamlike Looking-Glass world, where she seems to be a pawn in a chess game. If, as the Red Queen tells her, she can get as far as the eighth square, then she too can become a Queen.
Find out how Alice gets into this strange world, and what happens when she arrives at the eighth square.

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Huck is only fourteen when he escapes from his bad-tempered and no-good father. Soon he reaches Jackson's Island, and finds himself sharing the island with Jim, a runaway slave. Together they put all their things on a raft and set off on what becomes a great adventure down the Mississippi River.
Will Huck be caught by his father? Will Jim ever be a slave again? Read on to enjoy the exciting and amusing story of Huck Finn and his friends.

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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Running away from home; hiding in a dark graveyard at midnight; camping out as pirates on an island in the Mississippi; going to their own funeral; looking for treasure; and getting lost in a deep, dark cave, are all part of the exciting and amusing story of Tom Sawyer and his friends.

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Around the World in Eighty Days

Phileas Fogg is a gentleman who always does exactly the same thing every day. His life changes one day, when he bets twenty thousand pounds that he can make a tour of the world in eighty days! This bet takes him and his servant, Passepartout, to many countries, and leads to many exciting adventures. However, someone is following them, and trying to stop them from winning the bet.

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The Canterville Ghost and Other Stories

The poor old Canterville Ghost is meant to frighten people, but the American people who live in Canterville Chase are not frightened by anything he does. Just when he doesn't know what to do, Virginia, the beautiful daughter of the family, comes to talk to him. In this and six other short stories, love and selfishness meet in different ways. The results are sometimes sad and sometimes funny, but always interesting.

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David Copperfield

Young David Copperfield's life starts to go wrong when his mother marries the cruel Mr Murdstone. David is sent to school, where the headmaster hits him whenever he can. Poor David is only happy when he is visiting the strange boat-house home of his nurse, Peggotty. When he runs away from school to find his Aunt Betsy Trotwood, however, things begin to get better.

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Hilton Cubitt lives in the country with his American wife. The couple start receiving drawings of little dancing men. Cubitt goes to see Sherlock Holmes about these drawings, which seem to have frightened Cubitt's wife. Then there is a murder. Now Holmes must quickly work out what the pictures mean so that he can catch the killer. Watch the detective, Sherlock Holmes, and his assistant, Dr Watson, at work in this and three other exciting mysteries.

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Great Expectations

Pip is a poor orphan who dreams of becoming a gentleman so that he can win the heart of Estella, a beautiful but proud girl. Estella lives with a strange, rich old lady called Miss Havisham. Years later, it seems that Pip's dreams have come true. An unknown person is going to give him a fortune, so that he can be a gentleman. But who is this mysterious person? Is it Miss Havisham, or someone else from his past? When he finds out, Pip's troubles are only just beginning ...

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Gulliver's Travels ˇX Further Voyages

Gulliver is abandoned in a land of giants. His life is not always easy. Once he is mistaken for a baby monkey and a monkey tries to feed him! His next voyage is even stranger: he visits an island that floats in the sky.
Read about Gulliver's last voyages and all the amazing adventures he has.

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The Hound of the Baskervilles

The great detective, Sherlock Holmes, has another case to solve. The body of Sir Charles Baskerville has been found lying in the garden of his house, on Dartmoor. There are no marks on the body, and it seems that the old man simply died of fright. Was he trying to escape from some dreadful thing — perhaps the ghostly animal called the Hound of the Baskervilles?

 

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The Merchant of Venice and Other Stories from Shakespeare's Plays

Shylock, the moneylender, hates Antonio and wants to hurt him. He has an idea. He lends money to Antonio. If Antonio cannot pay back the money, he must give Shylock a pound of his flesh. From cold, dark Scotland to the blue sky of the Mediterranean, from the Danish court to the court of Britain long ago, these five well-known stories are filled with murder, madness and magic.

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The Pickwick Papers

Mr Pickwick and his three friends from the Pickwick Club — Tracy Tupman, Nathaniel Winkle and Augustus Snodgrass — set out on a scientific journey around Britain. To their surprise, their trip quickly turns into a series of romantic and amusing adventures.

 

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The Red Badge of Courage

When Henry Fleming heard there was a war, he did not really believe it. He did not think there could be a war in his own country. However, he wanted to be part of it.
Later Henry finds out that war is not what he imagined. Would he run away, when the fighting got too fierce? Or would he stand up bravely and lead his companions in acts of great heroism?

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Robinson Crusoe

When Robinson Crusoe's ship is wrecked, he swims to a desert island. At first he is afraid that he might be eaten by wild animals. He knows that some people in that part of the world are cannibals, and they might eat him too! Soon, he realizes that he is all alone. He brings as much as he can from the wrecked ship, and over his long years on the island, he learns how to make himself safe and comfortable.

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Silas Marner

The people of Raveloe are very curious when a lonely weaver, Silas Marner, comes to live in their village. He works hard to earn gold, but this seems to be all he cares about.
Then, one winter, everything changes. Silas's gold is stolen, and Squire Cass's younger son disappears. Then a stranger dies in the snow and a golden-haired girl appears in Silas's cottage.
What will happen to the girl, Silas and the people of Raveloe?

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Stories from Shakespeare's Histories

Henry the Fourth, King of England, has a son called Harry, who prefers to drink than win honour on the batterfield. Can the king persuade Harry to help him defend the crown against a rebellion?
Later, Henry the Fourth is dead and Harry is crowned Henry the Fifth. Does Henry the Fifth continue a life of playing and drinking, or does he become a king that England can be proud of?

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A Tale of Two Cities

Lucie thinks that her father, Dr Manette, is dead. Then she finds out that he is alive - he has just been released from prison in Paris. Lucie finds her father there, and goes back to England with him. When Dr Manette and Lucie return to Paris some years later, everything has changed. The French Revolution has begun, and the poor people are killing the noblemen. Lucie's husband, the kind Charles Darnay, is the heir of some of the cruellest noblemen, and he is in great danger. Only love and courage can save him ...

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Two Boxes of Gold and Other Stories

A young man who works for a bank is taking two boxes of gold from London to Italy. On the way, everything begins to go wrong. His travelling companions seem friendly, but are they all trying to help him? Or is one of them trying to steal the gold? Read this and six other stories by Charles Dickens. Some are amusing, some strange and frightening - all are full of surprises.

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Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Other Stories

Everyone who sees the face of Mr Hyde hates him. He is as evil as the Devil himself. So why is he the friend of the respectable Dr Jekyll? Does Hyde know something about Dr Jekyll's past? What is Dr Jekyll's terrifying secret?

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Far From the Madding Crowd

Not all men are blind to the faults of the beautiful Bathsheba Everdene. 'She's vain,' thinks a sheep farmer, Gabriel Oak, soon after meeting her. Although he loves her, and asks her to marry him, his direct, honest manner often causes trouble between them.

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The Great Gatsby

On Long Island, New York, the rich and mysterious Jay Gatsby has built a grand mansion. All summer, he gives wonderful parties there. However, Gatsby's only hope is that one evening the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan, will wander into one of his parties. When he finds out that his new neighbour, Nick Carraway, is Daisy's cousin, Gatsby requests a meeting with his former love.

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Journey to the Centre of the Earth

When Professor Lidenbrock and his nephew, Axel, find a secret paper telling them the way to the centre of the earth, the adventure of a lifetime begins. With a guide called Hans, they discover the mysteries and wonders of the world below the earth's surface.

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Mansfield Park

Fanny Price finds life difficult when she first arrives at Mansfield Park. Only Edmund, her youngest cousin, is kind and friendly. How will Fanny and the people around her order their lives? Will they find love and happiness?

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The Moonstone

Long ago, in India, three priests were commanded to look after a yellow diamond called the Moonstone. Terrible misfortune would come to anyone else who touched it, and to their family.Hundreds of years later, the young and beautiful Rachel Verinder is given the Moonstone as a birthday present. That night the Moonstone is stolen, and the thief is someone in the house ...

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A Night Of Terror & Other Strange Tales

A man is alone on the river all through a summer night. Suddenly, his boat starts moving about in a very strange way. An Englishman, living in Corsica, keeps a dried human hand on the wall of his living room. Another man comes home from the theatre to find that all his furniture is running away ... In these and other tales of terror, people are forced to face the very worst of their fears.

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Othello and Other Stories From Shakespeare's Plays

Othello is a great general, but he is also a foreigner in Venice, and Desdemona's father is furious when she marries him. Iago secretly hates Othello for his success, and wants to cause trouble.
Also in this collection are stories of betrayal and murder in Ancient Rome, the great love story of Antony and Cleopatra, and many more.

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The Picture of Dorian Gray

A beautiful young man called Dorian Gray has his portrait painted. He prays that as he gets older, his face will never change and instead the face in the portrait will age. His prayer is answered. As Dorian goes on to explore the pleasures of London, the face in his portrait becomes wrinkled and twisted with cruelty and lust.

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Seven Stories

Clayton meets a ghost, and Fotheringay has lots of fun when he discovers that he can work miracles. There are also exciting stories in this collection about a boy who seems to have found heaven; a liquid which makes people move much faster than normal; and an apple which will give anyone who eats it endless knowledge.

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Tess of the d'Urbervilles

Tess Durbeyfield is a beautiful and innocent country girl, living in a village in the south of England. Her simple life is suddenly changed when the family horse is killed, and Tess's father discovers that the family is descended from the old and noble d'Urbervilles. Tess goes to live with her relations, but finds they are not what they seem.

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The Thirty-nine Steps

Back in Britain, Richard Hannay is bored to death after spending years in Africa. He begins to think otherwise when a corpse is found in his London flat and he becomes a murder suspect. Soon he is running for his life across the hills of Scotland.

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Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea

A strange monster has attacked several ships at sea. Professor Arronax, the famous French scientist, his servant Conseil, and Ned Land, who catches whales, join an expedition to search for the monster. What they find, however, is not a living creature at all, but an enormous submarine, the Nautilus, commanded by the mysterious Captain Nemo.

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The War of the Worlds

The world has suddenly changed. The small towns and villages of southern England are lying burned and ruined. The grass on the commons, and the trees in the woods have been blackened by fire. There are no people to be seen.
This is the story of the strange and terrible things that happened to ordinary people when the Martians went to war against the Earth.

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The Woman in White

Walter Hartright meets a mysterious woman dressed completely in white, who curiously knows the family he is going to work for as a drawing teacher. Walter soon discovers that the mysterious woman looks very like the woman he has fallen in love with, the beautiful Laura Fairlie. Why is the woman in white so concerned about Laura Fairlie, and why do they look so similar? Can Walter help her before it is too late?

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Dracula

Jonathan Harker, a young solicitor, goes to see Count Dracula in his castle in Transylvania. He discovers that the Count is a vampireˇXa terrible Un-Dead creature who lives on human blood. And now the Count is going to London ...

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Frankenstein

On the way to the North Pole, Robert Walton meets Victor Frankenstein, a scientist who seems exhausted and near death. 'Let me tell you my tale,' says Frankenstein.
There follows the extraordinary story of how Frankenstein discovered how to make a giant man from parts of dead bodies. However, the man turned against him, and became a monster ...

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Kidnapped

David is a prisoner on a ship going to America. Then the famous Jacobite, Alan Breck Stewart, comes on board, and the ship's crew plan to murder him. Together, Alan and David escape to the west coast of Scotland. Here, David begins his long and dangerous journey home.

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Lorna Doone

Lorna Doone, a beautiful girl with soft white skin, grows up amongst a group of outlaws in the wild marshes of Exmoor in England. Her only friends are her faithful maid and her grandfather, Sir Ensor Doone. Sir Ensor is the leader of the outlaws and Lorna loves and fears him equally. John Ridd, a brave and honest young man, is determined to avenge the death of his father. His father was murdered by the outlaws.

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The Mayor of Casterbridge

Michael Henchard is a wealthy corn merchant, and Mayor of Casterbridge. One day a young woman named Elizabeth-Jane comes to his office with a letter from her mother, Susan.Susan was once his wife, but twenty years ago, when he was drunk, they quarrelled. He sold her and their little daughter, Elizabeth-Jane, to a sailor. Is this girl really Henchard's daughter? And how can he put right the wrong he did her mother, so many years before?

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The Old Wives' Tale

Constance and Sophia are the two beautiful daughters of a draper. When she grows up, Constance marries the manager of her father's shop and works in the family business. Sophia, on the other hand, elopes to Paris with the dangerous Gerald Scales.

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Pride and Prejudice

Mrs Bennet desperately wants to find husbands for her five daughters. When two rich young men visit their village, everything seems to be going to plan. Mr Bingley is friendly and charming. But Mr Darcy seems to think he is too good for his new neighbours. Mrs Bennet does not give up her search, but there are problems of family and fortune, love and moneyˇXand even a scandalˇXon the way.

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Three Men in a Boat

Three young menˇXGeorge, Harris and JˇXand Montmorency (the dog) set off on a boating holiday up the River Thames. Their plan is to row, or tow, their boat from London to Oxford and back. All kinds of funny things happen as they travel from place to place.

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Vanity Fair

Rebecca Sharp, although charming and witty, is not born into the nobility of England. But she is determined that she will become part of it before she dies.Her best friend, Amelia Sedley, has a sweet and gentle nature. Her only ambition is to be married to a handsome army officer called George Osborne. However, Rebecca flirts with George even when he is married to Amelia.

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Wuthering Heights

Late one evening, Mr Earnshaw returns to his moorland home, Wuthering Heights, with a wild, dirty, black-haired boy, who he has found starving on the streets of Liverpool.
The boy, Heathcliff, grows up with the two Earnshaw children: Hindley, who hates him, and Catherine, who becomes his wild childhood playmate, and the love of his life. However, Heathcliff is treated as a servant by Hindley, so Catherine marries the rich, gentle Edgar Linton instead. Years later, Heathcliff returns, looking for revenge.

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