The publication of Robinson Crusoe in London in 1719 marked the arrival of a revolutionary art form: the novel. British writers were prominent in shaping the new type of storytelling - one which reflected the experiences of ordinary people, with characters in whom readers could find not only an escape, but a deeper understanding of their own lives.
But the novel was more than just a reflection of British life. As Sebastian Faulks explains in this engaging literary and social history, it also helped invent the British. By focusing not on writers but on the people they gave us, Faulks not only celebrates the recently neglected act of novelistic creation but shows how the most enduring fictional characters over the centuries have helped map the British psyche. In this ebook, Sebastian celebrates the greatest villains in fiction - from Fagin to Barbara Covett.
Also included are two classic novels: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist, born into tragedy, runs away to London with the naive hope for a brighter future. In this classic, Dickens graphically conjures up the capital's underworld, full of prostitutes, thieves and lost and homeless children. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins: Marian and her sister Laura live a quiet life under their uncle's guardianship until Laura's marriage to Sir Percival Glyde, a man of many secrets. Can she be protected from a mysterious and potentially fatal plot?