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  1. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    18.0 hrs • 11/3/2008 • Unabridged

    We the Living portrays the impact of the Russian Revolution on three people who demand the right to live their own lives. At its center is a girl whose passionate love is her fortress against the cruelty and oppression of a totalitarian state. Of this book, Ayn Rand said, “it is as near to an autobiography as I will ever write. The plot is invented, the background is not. I was born in Russia, I was educated under the Soviets; I have seen the conditions of existence that I describe. The specific events of Kira’s life were not mine; her ideas, her convictions, her values were and are." We the Living is not a story of politics, but of the men and women who have to struggle for existence behind the Red banners and slogans. It is a picture of what dictatorship-of any kind-does to human beings. What happens to the defiant ones? What happens to those who succumb? Who are the winners in this conflict? For those who found Ayn Rand’s blockbuster Atlas Shrugged a powerful voice raised in defense of the individual, this book continues the theme of an individual’s right to the pursuit of his or her own happiness.

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    We the Living by Ayn Rand

    We the Living

    Read by Mary Woods
    18.0 hrs • 11/3/08 • Unabridged
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    8.4 hrs • 12/20/2011 • Unabridged

    George Bowling, an insurance salesman, hits middle age and feels impelled to “come up for air” from his life of quiet desperation. With seventeen pounds he has won at a race, he steals a vacation from his wife and his family and pays a visit to Lower Binfield, the village where he grew up, to fish for carp in a pool he remembers from thirty years before. But the pool is gone, Lower Binfield has changed beyond recognition, and the principal event of Bowling's holiday is an accidental bombing by the RAF. Bowling’s everyman life is also a sort of cavalcade of England from 1893 to 1938. Written when the clouds of World War II were already gathering, this story of Bowling’s journey into his own and his country’s past is told with humor, warmth, and nostalgia which will surprise and delight George Orwell’s many readers.

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    Coming Up for Air by George Orwell

    Coming Up for Air

    8.4 hrs • 12/20/11 • Unabridged
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    45.6 hrs • 10/1/2008 • Unabridged

    In Sarum, Edward Rutherfurd weaves a compelling saga of five English families whose fates become intertwined over the course of centuries. While each family has its own distinct characteristics, the successive generations reflect the changing character of Britain. We become drawn not only into the fortunes of the individual family members, but also the larger destinies of each family line. Meticulously researched and epic in scope, Sarum covers the entire sweep of English civilization: from the early hunters and farmers, the creation of Stonehenge, the dawn of Christianity, and the Black Death; through the Reformation, the wars in America, the Industrial Age, and the Victorian social reforms; up through the World War II invasion of Normandy and the modern-day concerns of a once-preeminent empire. 

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    Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd

    Sarum

    45.6 hrs • 10/1/08 • Unabridged
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    9.4 hrs • 4/1/2008 • Unabridged

    Hailed by Henry James as “the finest piece of imaginative writing yet put forth in the country,” Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter reaches to our nation’s historical and moral roots for the material of great tragedy. Set in an early New England colony, the novel shows the terrible impact of a single passionate act on the lives of three people: the fiery, tortured Reverend Dimmesdale; the obsessed, vengeful Chillingworth; and the defiant Hester Prynne, who, unwilling to name her partner in adultery, is condemned to wear a scarlet “A” on the breast of her gown for the remainder of her life. She and her illegitimate daughter become outcasts, forced to live solitary lives—until Hester’s estranged husband arrives and stirs up trouble. With The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne became the first American novelist to forge from our Puritan heritage a universal classic—a masterful exploration of humanity’s unending struggle with sin, guilt, and pride.

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    The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

    The Scarlet Letter

    9.4 hrs • 4/1/08 • Unabridged
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    9.3 hrs • 11/1/2005 • Unabridged

    Here is one of those rare novels that completely transports the reader to an unforgettable time and place in history. At Talavera in July of 1809, Captain Richard Sharpe, bold, professional, and ruthless, prepares to lead his men against the armies of Napoleon in what will be the bloodiest battle of the war. Sharpe has earned his captaincy, but there are others, such as the foppish Lieutenant Gibbons and his uncle, Colonel Henry Simmerson, who have bought their commissions despite their incompetence. After their cowardly loss of the regiment’s colors, their resentment toward the upstart Sharpe turns to treachery, and Sharpe must battle his way through sword fights and bloody warfare to redeem the honor of his regiment. His goal is to capture the most valued prize in the French Army—a golden Imperial Eagle, the standard touched by the hand of Napoleon himself.

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    Sharpe’s Eagle by Bernard Cornwell

    Sharpe’s Eagle

    9.3 hrs • 11/1/05 • Unabridged
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    9.5 hrs • 3/1/2009 • Unabridged

    In an age of heroes and death before dishonor, one man stands above the rest. It is January 1812. Captain Richard Sharpe has one mission: to thwart Napoleon’s dreams of an empire. To accomplish that goal, Sharpe and the fighting men of the Light Company must seize the fortress of Badajoz, which looms on the border of Portugal and Spain. To lead an assault on its thick, sheer walls and battlements is suicide, yet Sharpe has no choice, for the stakes have suddenly become personal. Inside the walls are his wife and daughter, and only he can save them. Outside is the misshapen, vengeance-crazed Sergeant Obadiah Hakeswill, a man determined to kill Sharpe. Sharpe knows that in the heat of battle, only the cold steel of his battered sword and the ruthless bloodlust of a soldier at war will protect him from the danger of both sides.

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    Sharpe’s Company by Bernard Cornwell

    Sharpe’s Company

    9.5 hrs • 3/1/09 • Unabridged
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    10.5 hrs • 2/15/2005 • Unabridged

    When Sharpe rises from the ranks to take command, he finds himself with an unexpected ally in the war against Napoleon. It’s 1809, and the powerful French juggernaut is sweeping across Spain. Lieutenant Richard Sharpe is newly in command of the demoralized, distrustful men of the Ninety-fifth Rifles. He must lead them to safety, and the only means of escape is a treacherous trek through the enemy-infested mountains of Spain. Blas Vivar and his band of intrepid Spanish soldiers may prove to be their salvation. But Vivar is transporting a mysterious chest that he claims can shift the tides of war, and the French are determined to get it—no matter what the cost.

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    Sharpe’s Rifles by Bernard Cornwell

    Sharpe’s Rifles

    10.5 hrs • 2/15/05 • Unabridged
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    10.2 hrs • 3/1/2009 • Unabridged

    The greatest threat to Wellington’s Salamanca Campaign is not Napoleon’s Army but France’s deadliest assassin. He’s already failed to kill Captain Richard Sharpe once. Now he’s getting a second chance. Colonel Leroux is killing Britain’s most valuable spies, and it’s up to Richard Sharpe to stop him. Thrust into the unfamiliar world of political and military intrigue, Sharpe must tangle with La Marquesa, a beguiling, extraordinarily beautiful woman whose embrace is as calculating as it is passionate. As she leads him through a maze of secrecy, cunning, and deception, Sharpe relentlessly pursues Leroux, determined to exact his revenge with the cold steel of his sword.

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    Sharpe’s Sword by Bernard Cornwell

    Sharpe’s Sword

    10.2 hrs • 3/1/09 • Unabridged
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    11.2 hrs • 12/1/2004 • Unabridged

    Only one man stands between Napoleon’s army and a British defeat—Major Richard Sharpe. A band of renegades led by Sharpe’s vicious mortal enemy, Obadiah Hakeswill, holds a group of British and French women hostage in a strategic mountain pass. Newly promoted, Major Sharpe is given the task of rescuing them. On the other side of the pass, Napoleon’s Grande Armée seeks to smash through and crush the British army in Portugal. Sharpe has only the support of his own company and the new Rocket Troop—the last word in military incompetence—but he cannot afford to contemplate defeat. To surrender or fail would mean the end of the war for the Allied armies. Outnumbered and attacked from two sides, Sharpe must hold his ground or die in the attempt.

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    Sharpe’s Enemy by Bernard Cornwell

    Sharpe’s Enemy

    11.2 hrs • 12/1/04 • Unabridged
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    10.9 hrs • 3/1/2009 • Unabridged

    In this installment of the bestselling historical fiction series featuring Major Richard Sharpe, a corrupt political enemy is determined to disband the South Essex Regiment—and to destroy Sharpe’s life. After reluctantly returning to England in order to march into France with his regiment, Sharpe discovers an illegal recruiting ring that sells soldiers like cattle to other divisions. The ringleaders know Sharpe is on their trail, and they try to kill him at every turn, determined to bring his regiment to the ground. But Sharpe is fighting for his command, and as he moves from the dark slums of London to the highest courts of political power, Sharpe will risk charges of treason and death for a final chance at revenge. Not even the influence of the Prince Regent can protect Sharpe as he undertakes the most desperate gamble of his career.

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    Sharpe’s Regiment by Bernard Cornwell

    Sharpe’s Regiment

    10.9 hrs • 3/1/09 • Unabridged
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    10.8 hrs • 6/17/2005 • Unabridged

    Trapped with his back to the sea, Major Richard Sharpe and a handful of men must stand against a battalion of French troops. Winter, 1814 – The invasion of France is under way, and the British Navy has called upon the services of Major Richard Sharpe. Sharpe’s mission seemed simple: capture a small unguarded French coastal fort, cripple Napoleon’s supply lines, and retreat across the sea. But behind the lines, Sharpe’s old enemy, Pierre Ducos, awaits Sharpe’s arrival with a battalion of French soldiers and a vicious commanding general who keeps the scalps of his dead enemies as trophies. Outmaneuvered by Ducos’ treachery and abandoned by his own navy, Sharpe has only two choices: to escape with the aid of the charming, unscrupulous American mercenary, Cornelius Killick, or die.

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    Sharpe’s Siege by Bernard Cornwell

    Sharpe’s Siege

    10.8 hrs • 6/17/05 • Unabridged
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    13.3 hrs • 6/17/2005 • Unabridged

    With the emperor Napoleon at its head, an enormous French army is marching toward Brussels. The British and their allies are also converging on Brussels in preparation for a grand society ball, and it is up to Richard Sharpe to convince the Prince of Orange, the inexperienced commander of Wellington’s Dutch troops, to act before it is too late. But Sharpe’s warning cannot stop the tide of battle, and the British suffer heavy losses on the road to Waterloo. Wellington has few reserves of men and ammunition, the Prussian army has not arrived, and the French advance wields tremendous firepower and determination. Victory seems impossible. In this, the culmination of Richard Sharpe’s long and arduous career, Bernard Cornwell brings to life all of the horror and exhilaration of one of the greatest military triumphs of all time.

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    Waterloo by Bernard Cornwell

    Waterloo

    13.3 hrs • 6/17/05 • Unabridged
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    15.2 hrs • 1/1/2005 • Unabridged

    This monumental work made the Arthurian cycle available for the first time in English. Malory took a body of legends from Celtic folklore that had been adapted into French literature, gave them an English perspective, and produced a work which ever since has had tremendous influence upon literature. The story begins with King Uther Pendragon’s use of enchantment to lay with Igraine, Duchess of Cornwall. Arthur is conceived and taken away in secret, returning as a young man to claim the throne by pulling the sword Excalibur from the stone. In retelling the story of Arthur’s rule of Britain, Malory intertwines the romances of Guinevere and Lancelot, Tristan and Isolde, and Lancelot and Elaine. Sir Galahad’s appearance at Camelot begins the quest for the Holy Grail. Finally, Camelot is brought down by the conflict between King Arthur and his natural son, Mordred.

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    Le Morte d’Arthur, Vol. 1 by Sir Thomas Malory

    Le Morte d’Arthur, Vol. 1

    Edited and with a preface by William Caxton
    15.2 hrs • 1/1/06 • Unabridged
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    12.7 hrs • 10/1/2001 • Unabridged

    In 1799, the British Army is fighting its way through India in an attempt to push the ruthless Tippoo of Mysore from his throne and drive his French allies out. Posing as a deserter, the young and illiterate private Richard Sharpe must penetrate into the Tippoo’s city and make contact with a Scottish spy being held prisoner there. Success will mean winning his sergeant stripes; failure, being turned over to the Tippoo’s brutal executioners—or his man-eating tigers. Along the way, Sharpe keeps an eye out for beautiful prostitutes, any stray loot he can get his hands on, and the chance to learn his ABCs. But when the furious British assault on the city begins, Sharpe must fight with the fierceness and agility of a tiger himself to foil the Tippoo’s well-set trap—and to keep from being killed by his own side.

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    Sharpe’s Tiger by Bernard Cornwell

    Sharpe’s Tiger

    12.7 hrs • 10/1/01 • Unabridged
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    10.8 hrs • 1/1/2005 • Unabridged

    In 1685, Irish physician Peter Blood is happily settled in a small English town when the rebellion of the Duke of Monmouth interrupts the peace. After saving the life of a wounded nobleman who turns out to be a rebel, Blood is charged with treason and sentenced to ten years as an indentured slave in the Caribbean colonies. On the islands, Blood is recognized for his knowledge as a physician, and thus he develops a romance with a young lady. But their attachment is ill-fated, as her father is the owner of Blood’s servitude. When Spaniards attack the colony, Blood and his fellow convicts take advantage of their victory celebration to steal their ship, sailing off to become the boldest and most fearless pirates on the Spanish Main. Colored by high-seas adventure, swashbuckling action, and a quest for revenge, this classic tale has remained popular from its original publication to the present day.

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    Captain Blood by Jerry Robbins, Rafael Sabatini

    Captain Blood

    10.8 hrs • 1/1/06 • Unabridged
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    12.7 hrs • 8/1/2000 • Unabridged

    In sinister industrial England, fifteen-year-old Gustine is a “dress lodger,” a prostitute who rents a beautiful blue dress from her landlord to attract a higher class of clientele. By day a potter’s assistant, by night a courtesan of the streets, Gustine works to support her fragile only child, born with a remarkable anatomical defect. Surgeon Henry Chiver is a prisoner of his own past, implicated in a series of killings in Edinburgh in which beggars were murdered so that the corpses could be sold to medical schools. He has come to Sunderland to start a new life, but his anatomy school is chronically short of teaching cadavers. Doctor and dress lodger come together in the filthy, overgrown end of town where, during an epidemic of cholera, Gustine secures bodies for Henry—until his greed and his growing obsession with her child begin to threaten everything she has worked so hard to protect. The Dress Lodger, a cunning historical thriller charged with a distinctly modern voice, is the book that launched Sheri Holman into bestsellerdom.

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    The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman

    The Dress Lodger

    12.7 hrs • 8/1/00 • Unabridged
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