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 - through heroes from Tom Jones to Sherlock Holmes, lovers from Mr Darcy to Lady Chatterley, villains from Fagin to Barbara Covett and snobs from Emma Woodhouse to James Bond.
Also included in this fantastic ebook package are four free classic novels:
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe: The legendary story of a marine adventurer shipwrecked on a desert island.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Accomplished Elizabeth Bennett must navigate a web of familial obligations and social expectations in this witty drama of friendship, rivalry, enmity and love.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens: Pip's life as an ordinary country boy is destined to be unexceptional until a chain of mysterious events lead him away from his humble origins and up the social ladder.
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins: Marian and her sister Laura live a quiet life under their uncle's guardianship until Laura marries Sir Percival Glyde, a man of many secrets. Can she be protected from a mysterious and potentially fatal plot?
In this deeply urgent novel from the author of Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks deals with questions of empire, grievance and identity. Read on for an arresting exclusive extract from Paris Echo.
Disappear to a secluded island with this novel about war, love and loss