In this first novel by Dickens we follow Mr Pickwick and Sam Weller, his sharp-tongued cockney servant, travelling around England with their friends in search of adventure and knowledge. Brilliantly comic scenes at the Eatanswill election and the trial of Mrs Bardell vs Pickwick contrast with the horrors of the debtor’s prison.
Barnaby Rudge, pathetic and half-witted son of a murderer, and his raven Grip play unwitting parts in the Gordon riots of 1780 and in the family feud of the Haredale and Chester families.
This is Dickens at his best. A book full of characters, twists and turns, with a deep understanding of human nature. It is both tragic and romantic at the same time.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Ebenezer Scrooge is a heartless old miser who doesn't enjoy Christmas and doesn't think anyone else should, either. But, one Christmas Eve, some ghostly visitors take Scrooge on a journey that changes his mind for ever.
After suffering at the hands of a tyrannical step-father, bullying at boarding school and menial employment in London, life changes for David when he runs away to Dover and is taken in by his eccentric aunt, Betsy Trotwood.
DOMBEY AND SON
Dombey, a widower, is a rich ship-owner with a son, a strange sickly lad, and a daughter he ignores. The boy dies at school, and Dombey is distraught. He gradually loses his fortune and his health and only his daughter can rescue him from desolation.
Pip is brought up by his sister and her husband Joe Gargery, the village blacksmith. At the house of the strange Miss Haversham he falls in love with Estella, and aspires to become a gentleman. When money comes to him from a mysterious source he assumes his benefactor is Miss Haversham.
Thomas Gradgrind sees himself as an exponent of Utilitarianism, and uses the philosophies of facts and statistics to bring up his two children, resulting in unhappy consequences.
THE LAZY TOUR OF TWO IDLE APPRENTICES
The Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices was co-written by Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins and features two characters (Mr. Goodchild and Mr. Idle) that are stand-ins for these two. It is told over the course of what was originally five issues of Dickens' journal Household Words and depicts an "idle" (but actually quite frantic) vacation, with long walks/hikes and explorations of inns and other places.
For all of her 22 years, Amy Dorrit has lived in Marshalsea prison, trapped with her family because of her father's debts. Her only escape is to work as a seamstress for the kind Mrs Clennam. But when it is unexpectedly discovered that her father is heir to a fortune, some shocking truths emerge and Amy's life changes for ever.
Long convinced that his family are only after his money, Martin Chuzzlewit takes in an orphaned girl - Mary Graham - to be his nursemaid. But when Martin's grandson - young Martin - falls in love with Mary, he is disowned. Cast out, young Martin travels to the American West to build his fortune. However, his journey has unforeseen consequences.
THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD
Dickens' final novel, left unfinished at his death, is a tale of mystery whose fast-paced action takes place in an ancient cathedral city and in some of the darkest places in nineteenth century London. David Madden renders the greatest homage he can to the great author by creating an ending as faithful to Dickens' written intentions as possible.
THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD
Through a mist of decay and opium, Dickens weaves a tale of murder and mystery in this, his last novel. Set in the fictional cathedral town of Cloisterham, John Jasper, the choir-master, takes an obsessive interest in his nephew Edwin Drood and his fiancée Rosa Bud. But when young Edwin disappears on Christmas Eve, has Jasper killed him? Alas, we’ll never know as Dickens died before completing the novel.
Nicholas and Kate, left penniless by the death of their father, appeal in vain to their wealthy Uncle Ralph. Nicholas' misfortunes continue when he is sent to work at Dotheboys Hall, a school for urchins run by the bullying Mr Squeers.
THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP
Little Nell and her feckless grandfather are forced to leave their magical shop of curiosities in London. They are pursued across the English countryside by the grotesquely evil dwarf Quilp. They escape – but at what cost?
In the classic story of the Victorian underworld, orphaned Oliver runs away from the workhouse and falls into the clutches of Fagin, Bill Sykes and the Artful Dodger.
OUR MUTUAL FRIEND
This is the last completed novel by Charles Dickens. A story of love, inheritance and the power of money. Also of a society fallen prey to the dawning of commercialism.
PICTURES FROM ITALY
In 1844, Charles Dickens took a break from novel writing to travel through Italy for almost a year, and here he presents an account of his experiences there. Italy's most famous sights are all to be found here - St Peter's in Rome, Naples with Vesuvius smouldering in the background, the fairytale buildings and canals of Venice - but Dickens's chronicle is not simply that of a tourist. Combining compelling travelogue with piercing social commentary, he portrays a nation of great contrasts: between grandiose buildings and squalid poverty, ancient monuments and everyday life, past and present.
A TALE OF TWO CITIES
Set in Paris and London in the French revolution. Dr Manette has recently been released from the Bastille after 18 years as a political prisoner. Brought to England he begins to recover his sanity. Charles Darnay also arrives, and falls in love with Manette's daughter, Lucie. In the Terror he returns to Paris to rescue a servant, but is caught. He is only saved when barrister Sydney Carton, also in love with Lucie, takes his place on the scaffold.