Books: 6 Great Tales of the Past

Historical novels that take you from Leonardo's Italy to Victoria's England


Get to know Arthur Conan Doyle: pillar of society, cricket jock and wildly successful author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, whose life of late-Victorian virtue goes all squiffy when he accidentally acquires a passion for a woman not his wife. Doyle also acquires a late-life project in the form of George Edalji, a half-Indian lawyer who was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned. Barnes, a top-shelf British novelist whose work doesn't always cross the Atlantic well, has created a slow-burning, enlargingly human tale of reasonable men whose expectations about the world are first deeply disappointed and then strangely...

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