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Book Review: "The Little Prince"

The Little Prince (French: Le Petit Prince; French pronunciation: [lə pəti pʁɛ̃s]), first published in 1943, is a novella, the most famous work of French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry(1900–1944). The novella is the fourth most-translated book in the world and was voted the best book of the 20th century in France. Translated into more than 250 languages and dialects (as well as Braille), selling nearly two million copies annually with sales totaling over 140 million copies worldwide, it has become one of the best-selling books ever published.

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After the outbreak of the Second World War Saint-Exupéry was exiled to North America. In the midst of personal upheavals and failing health, he produced almost half of the writings for which he would be remembered, including a tender tale of loneliness, friendship, love, and loss, in the form of a young prince fallen to Earth. An earlier memoir by the author had recounted his aviation experiences in the Sahara Desert, and he is thought to have drawn on those same experiences in The Little Prince. Since its first publication in the United States, the novella has been adapted to numerous art forms and media, including audio recordings, radio plays, live stage, film, television, ballet, and operatic works. The Little Prince is a poetic tale, with watercolour illustrations by the author, in which a pilot stranded in the desert meets a young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. The story is philosophical and includes social criticism, remarking on the strangeness of the adult world. It was written during a period when Saint-Exupéry fled to North America subsequent to the Fall of France during the Second World War, witnessed first hand by the author and captured in his memoir Flight to Arras. The adult fable, according to one review, is actually “…an allegory of Saint-Exupéry’s own life—his search for childhood certainties and interior peace, his mysticism, his belief in human courage and brotherhood, and his deep love for his wife Consuelo but also an allusion to the tortured nature of their relationship.”

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Though ostensibly styled as a children’s book, The Little Prince makes several observations about life and human nature. For example, Saint-Exupéry tells of a fox meeting the young prince during his travels on Earth. The story’s essence is contained in the lines uttered by the fox to the little prince: “One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eyes.” Other key thematic messages are articulated by the fox, such as: “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.” and “It is the time you have lost for your rose that makes your rose so important.” The fox’s messages are arguably the book’s most famous quotations because they deal with human relationships.

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The narrator explains that, as a young boy, he once drew a picture of a boa constrictor with an elephant digesting in its stomach; however, every adult who saw the picture would mistakenly interpret it as a drawing of a hat. Whenever the narrator would try to correct this confusion, he was ultimately advised to set aside drawing and take up a more practical or mature hobby. The narrator laments the lack of creative understanding displayed by adults. As noted by the narrator, he could have had a great career as a painter, but this opportunity was crushed by the misunderstanding of the adults.

"The Little Prince", presented by Harmony Theatre Company and School at Rarig Proscenium. Photo: Dave Stagner.

Now an adult himself, the narrator has become a pilot, and, one day, his plane crashes in the Sahara, far from civilization. Here, the narrator is greeted by a young boy whom he refers to as “the little prince”. The little prince asks the narrator to draw a sheep. The narrator first shows him his old picture of the elephant inside the snake, which, to the narrator’s surprise, the prince interprets correctly. After three failed attempts at drawing a sheep, the narrator simply draws a box in his frustration, claiming that the box holds a sheep inside. Again, to the narrator’s surprise, the prince exclaims that this is exactly the picture he wanted. The narrator says that the prince has a strange habit of avoiding directly answering any of the narrator’s questions. The prince is described as having golden hair, a scarf, and a lovable laugh. Over the course of eight days stranded in the desert, as the narrator attempts to repair his plane, the little prince recounts the story of his life, often caused by his discussion of the sheep. The prince begins by describing life on his tiny home planet: in effect, an asteroid the size of a house (the asteroid was “named” B-612; a real asteroid was named after the fictional asteroid). The asteroid’s most prominent features are three minuscule volcanoes (two active, and one dormant or extinct) as well as a variety of plants. The prince describes spending his earlier days cleaning the volcanoes and weeding unwanted seeds and sprigs that infest his planet’s soil; in particular, pulling out baobab trees that are constantly trying to grow and overrun the surface. The prince wants a sheep to eat the undesirable plants, until the narrator informs him that a sheep will even eat roses with thorns. Upon hearing this, the prince tells of his love for a mysterious rose that began growing on the asteroid’s surface some time ago. The prince says he nourished the rose and listened to her when she told him to make a screen or glass globe to protect her from the cold wind. Although the prince fell in love with the rose, he also began to feel that she was taking advantage of him, and he resolved to leave the planet to explore the rest of the universe. Although the rose finally apologized for her vanity, and the two reconciled, she encouraged him to go ahead with his journey and so he traveled onward. The prince misses his rose, and claims that he only needs to look at the millions of stars to be reminded of his rose, since his rose is among one of them.

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The prince has since visited six other asteroids, each of which was inhabited by a single, narrow-minded adult, each meant to critique an element of society. They include: a king with no subjects; a vain man, who believes himself the most admirable person on his otherwise uninhabited planet; a drunkard who drinks to forget the shame of being a drunkard; a businessman who endlessly counted the stars in order to “own” them all (critiquing materialism); a lamplighter who blindly follows orders by extinguishing and relighting a lamp once a minute; and an elderly geographer, who had no maps of the world he was mapping because he claimed not to be an explorer. When the geographer asked the prince to describe his home, the prince mentioned the rose, and the geographer explained that he does not record “ephemeral” things, such as roses. The prince was shocked and hurt by the revelation. The geographer recommended that the prince next visit the planet Earth.

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aHR0cDovL3VwbG9hZC50cmVuZHMuY29tLmNuLzIwMTUvMDIxMi8xNDIzNzU1NTU4ODQ3LmpwZytodHRwOi8vd3d3LnRyZW5kcy5jb20uY24vMjAxNS8wMjEyLzE5NTk3Ny5zaHRtbA== Since the prince landed in a desert, he believed that Earth was uninhabited. He then met a yellow snake that claimed to have the power to return him to his home, if he ever wished to return. The prince next met a desert flower, who told him that she had only seen a handful of men in this part of the world and that they had no roots, letting the wind blow them around and living hard lives. After climbing the highest mountain he had ever seen, the prince hoped to see the whole of Earth, thus finding the people; however, he saw only the enormous, desolate landscape. When the prince called out, his echo answered him, which he interpreted as the mocking voices of others. Eventually, the prince encountered a whole row of rosebushes, becoming downcast at having once thought that his own rose was unique. He began to feel that he was not a great prince at all, as his planet contained only three tiny volcanoes and a flower that he now thought of as common. He lay down in the grass and wept, until a fox came along. The fox desired to be tamed and explained to the prince that his rose really was indeed unique and special, because she was the object of the prince’s love. The fox also explained that, in a way, the prince had tamed the rose, and that this is why the prince was now feeling so responsible for her. The prince then took time to tame the fox, though the two were sad to have to part ways. The prince next came across a railway switchman, who told him how passengers constantly rushed from one place to another aboard trains, never satisfied with where they were and not knowing what they were after; only the children among them ever bothered to look out the windows. A merchant then talked to the prince about his product, a pill that eliminated thirst, which was very popular, saving people fifty-three minutes a week. The prince replied that he would instead gladly use that extra time to go around finding fresh water. Back in the present moment, it is the eighth day after the narrator’s plane-crash and the narrator is dying of thirst; miraculously, he and the prince find a well. The narrator later finds the prince talking to the snake, discussing his return home and eager to see his rose again, who he worries has been left to fend for herself. The prince bids an emotional farewell to the narrator and states that if it looks as though he has died, it is only because his body was too heavy to take with him to his planet. The prince warns the narrator not to watch him leave, as it will make him upset. The narrator, realizing what will happen, refuses to leave the prince’s side; the prince consoles the narrator by saying that he only need look at the stars to think of the prince’s lovable laughter, and that it will seem as if all the stars are laughing. The prince then walks away from the narrator and allows the snake to bite him, falling without making a sound.

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The next morning, the narrator tries to look for the prince, but is unable to find his body. The story ends with the narrator’s drawing of the landscape where the prince and the narrator met and where the snake took the prince’s life. The narrator requests that anyone in that area encountering a small young man who refuses to answer questions should contact the narrator immediately.

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Twilight (Series)

Twilight is a series of four vampire-themed fantasy romance novels by American author Stephenie Meyer. Released annually from 2005 through 2008, the four books chart the later teen years of Isabella “Bella” Swan, a girl who moves to Forks, Washington, and falls in love with a 104-year-old vampire named Edward Cullen. The series is told primarily from Bella’s point of view, with the epilogue of Eclipse and Part II of Breaking Dawn being told from the viewpoint of character Jacob Black, a werewolf. The unpublished Midnight Sun is a retelling of the first book, Twilight, from Edward Cullen’s point of view. The novella The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, which tells the story of a newborn vampire who appeared in Eclipse, was published on June 5, 2010, as a hardcover book and on June 7 as a free online ebook. The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide, a definitive encyclopedic reference with nearly 100 full color illustrations, was released in bookstores on April 12, 2011. Since the release of the first novel, Twilight, in 2005, the books have gained immense popularity and commercial success around the world. The series is most popular among young adults; the four books have won multiple awards, most notably the 2008 British Book Award for “Children’s Book of the Year” for Breaking Dawn, while the series as a whole won the 2009 Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite Book. As of November 2011, the series has sold over 120 million copies worldwide with translations into at least 38 different languages around the globe. The four Twilight books have consecutively set records as the biggest selling novels of 2008 on the USA Today Best-Selling Books list and have spent over 235 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list for Children’s Series Books.

Twilight

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Bella Swan moves from Phoenix, Arizona to live with her father in Forks, Washington to allow her mother to travel with her new husband, a minor league baseball player. After moving to Forks, Bella finds herself involuntarily drawn to a mysterious, handsome boy, Edward Cullen. She eventually learns that he is a member of a vampire family who drinks animal blood rather than human blood. Edward and Bella fall in love, while James, a sadistic vampire from another coven, is drawn to hunt down Bella. Edward and the other Cullens defend Bella. She escapes to Phoenix, Arizona, where she is tricked into confronting James, who tries to kill her. She is seriously wounded, but Edward rescues her and they return to Forks.

New Moon

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Edward and his family leave Forks because he believes he is endangering Bella’s life. Bella goes into a depression until she develops a strong friendship with Jacob Black, who she discovers can shape-shift into a wolf. Jacob and the other wolves in his tribe must protect her from Victoria, a vampire seeking to avenge the death of her mate James. Due to a misunderstanding, Edward believes Bella is dead. Edward decides to commit suicide in Volterra, Italy, but is stopped by Bella, who is accompanied by Edward’s sister, Alice. They meet with the Volturi, a powerful vampire coven, and are released only on the condition that Bella be turned into a vampire in the near future. Bella and Edward are reunited, and she and the Cullens return to Forks.

Eclipse

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Victoria has created an army of “newborn” vampires to battle the Cullen family and murder Bella for revenge. Meanwhile, Bella is compelled to choose between her relationship with Edward and her friendship with Jacob. Edward’s vampire family and Jacob’s werewolf pack join forces to successfully destroy Victoria and her vampire army. In the end, Bella chooses Edward’s love over Jacob’s friendship and agrees to marry Edward.

Breaking Dawn

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Bella and Edward are married, but their honeymoon is cut short when Bella discovers that she is pregnant. Her pregnancy progresses rapidly, severely weakening her. She nearly dies giving birth to her and Edward’s half-vampire-half-human daughter, Renesmee. Edward injects Bella with his venom to save her life and turns her into a vampire. A vampire from another coven sees Renesmee and mistakes her for an “immortal child”. She informs the Volturi, as the existence of such beings violates vampire law. The Cullens gather vampire witnesses who can verify that Renesmee is not an immortal child. After an intense confrontation, the Cullens and their witnesses convince the Volturi that the child poses no danger to vampires or their secret, and they are left in peace by the Volturi.

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The Chronicles of Narnia (Series)

The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven high fantasy novels by author C. S. Lewis. It is considered a classic of children’s literature and is the author’s best-known work, having sold over 100 million copies in 47 languages. Written by Lewis, illustrated by Pauline Baynes, and originally published in London between 1950 and 1956, The Chronicles of Narnia has been adapted several times, complete or in part, for radio, television, the stage, and film. Set in the fictional realm of Narnia, a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals, the series narrates the adventures of various children who play central roles in the unfolding history of that world. Except in The Horse and His Boy, the protagonists are all children from the real world, magically transported to Narnia, where they are called upon by the lion Aslan to protect Narnia from evil and restore the throne to its rightful line. The books span the entire history of Narnia, from its creation in The Magician’s Nephew to its eventual destruction in The Last Battle. Inspiration for the series was taken from multiple sources; in addition to adapting numerous traditional Christian themes, Lewis freely borrowed characters and ideas from Greek and Roman mythology as well as from traditional British and Irish fairy tales. The books have profoundly influenced adult and children’s fantasy literature since World War II. Lewis’s exploration of themes not usually present in children’s literature, such as religion, as well as the books’ perceived treatment of issues including race and gender, has caused some controversy.

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Although Lewis originally conceived what would become The Chronicles of Narnia in 1939, he did not finish writing the first book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe until 1949. The Magician’s Nephew, the penultimate book to be published, but the last to be written, was completed in 1954. Lewis did not write the books in the order in which they were originally published, nor were they published in their current chronological order of presentation. The original illustrator, Pauline Baynes, created pen and ink drawings for the Narnia books that are still used in the editions published today. Lewis was awarded the 1956 Carnegie Medal for The Last Battle, the final book in the saga. Fellow children’s author Roger Lancelyn Green first referred to the series as The Chronicles of Narnia, in March 1951, after he had read and discussed with Lewis his recently completed fourth book The Silver Chair, originally entitled Night under Narnia. Lewis described the origin of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in an essay entitled “It All Began with a Picture”:

The Lion all began with a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood. This picture had been in my mind since I was about sixteen. Then one day, when I was about forty, I said to myself: ‘Let’s try to make a story about it.’

Shortly before the start of World War II, many children were evacuated to the English countryside in anticipation of attacks on London and other major urban areas by Nazi Germany. As a result, on 2 September 1939, three school girls, Margaret, Mary and Katherine, came to live at The Kilns in Risinghurst, Lewis’s home three miles east of Oxford city centre. Lewis later suggested that the experience gave him a new appreciation of children and in late September he began a children’s story on an odd sheet of paper which has survived as part of another manuscript:

This book is about four children whose names were Ann, Martin, Rose and Peter. But it is most about Peter who was the youngest. They all had to go away from London suddenly because of Air Raids, and because Father, who was in the Army, had gone off to the War and Mother was doing some kind of war work. They were sent to stay with a kind of relation of Mother’s who was a very old professor who lived all by himself in the country.

In “It All Began With a Picture” C. S. Lewis continues:

At first I had very little idea how the story would go. But then suddenly Aslan came bounding into it. I think I had been having a good many dreams of lions about that time. Apart from that, I don’t know where the Lion came from or why he came. But once he was there, he pulled the whole story together, and soon he pulled the six other Narnian stories in after him.

The manuscript for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was complete by the end of March 1949. The seven books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia are presented here in order of original publication date:

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950)

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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, completed by the end of March 1949 and published by Geoffrey Bles in the United Kingdom on 16 October 1950, tells the story of four ordinary children: Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie, who have been evacuated to the English countryside from London in 1940 following the outbreak of World War II. They discover a wardrobe in Professor Digory Kirke’s house that leads to the magical land of Narnia. The Pevensie children help Aslan, a talking lion, save Narnia from the evil White Witch, who has reigned over the land of Narnia for a century of perpetual winter with no Christmas. The children become kings and queens of this new-found land and establish the Golden Age of Narnia, leaving a legacy to be rediscovered in later books.

Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia (1951)

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Completed after Christmas 1949 and published on 15 October 1951, Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia tells the story of the Pevensie children’s second trip to Narnia. They are drawn back by the power of Susan’s horn, blown by Prince Caspian to summon help in his hour of need. Narnia, as they knew it, is no more, as more than 1,000 years have passed and their castle is in ruins, while all Narnians have retreated so far within themselves that only Aslan’s magic can wake them. Caspian has fled into the woods to escape his uncle, Miraz, who has usurped the throne. The children set out once again to save Narnia.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952)

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Written between January and February 1950 and published on 15 September 1952, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader sees Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, along with their priggish cousin, Eustace Scrubb, return to Narnia. Once there, they join Caspian’s voyage on the ship Dawn Treader to find the seven lords who were banished when Miraz took over the throne. This perilous journey brings them face to face with many wonders and dangers as they sail toward Aslan’s country at the edge of the world.

The Silver Chair (1953)

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Completed at the beginning of March 1951 and published 7 September 1953, The Silver Chair is the first Narnia book without any of the Pevensie children. Instead, Aslan calls Eustace back to Narnia together with his classmate Jill Pole. There they are given four signs to aid them in the search for Prince Rilian, Caspian’s son, who disappeared after setting out ten years earlier to avenge his mother’s death. Fifty years have passed in Narnia and Caspian, who was barely an adult in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, is now an old man, while Eustace is still a child. Eustace and Jill, with the help of Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle, face danger and betrayal on their quest to find Rilian.

The Horse and His Boy (1954)

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Begun in March and completed at the end of July 1950, The Horse and His Boy was published on 6 September 1954. The story takes place during the reign of the Pevensies in Narnia, an era which begins and ends in the last chapter of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. A talking horse called Bree and a young boy named Shasta, both of whom are in bondage in the country of Calormen, are the protagonists. By “chance”, they meet and plan their return to Narnia and freedom. Along the way they meet Aravis and her talking horse Hwin who are also fleeing to Narnia.

The Magician’s Nephew (1955)

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Completed in February 1954 and published by Bodley Head in London on 2 May 1955, the prequel The Magician’s Nephew brings the reader back to the origins of Narnia where we learn how Aslan created the world and how evil first entered it. Digory Kirke and his friend Polly Plummer stumble into different worlds by experimenting with magic rings made by Digory’s uncle. They encounter Jadis (The White Witch) in the dying world of Charn, and witness the creation of Narnia. Many long-standing questions about the world are answered as a result. The story is set in 1900, when Digory was a 12-year-old boy. He is a middle-aged professor and host to the Pevensie children by the time of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 40 years later.

The Last Battle (1956)

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Completed in March 1953 and published 4 September 1956, The Last Battle chronicles the end of the world of Narnia. Jill and Eustace return to save Narnia from Shift, an ape, who tricks Puzzle, a donkey, into impersonating the lion Aslan, precipitating a showdown between the Calormenes and King Tirian. This leads to the end of Narnia, revealing the true Narnia to which Aslan brings them.

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The Best Science Fiction Books To Read

Fans of science fiction find themselves in the genre for a number of reasons. It could be a love of all the accoutrements that mark the genre: new species, alien warfare, spaceships and gripping anti-heroes. But, it also serves as a crystal ball — showing humanity through imagined reactions to new technology, races or otherworldly locales, often in a way that’s stirring and a little bit scary — in a good way! The Washington Post will be publishing an ever-rotating list of some of the best science fiction we’ve read, populated by staff and reader suggestions and moderated by us here at Book World. Leave your most recently read sci-fi books in the comments.

#1

Title: Super Extra Grande53 Author: José Miguel Sánchez Gómez, aka Yoss What’s it about? When two ambassadors involved in peace talks with alien capitalists accidentally get swallowed by an extra –large sea worm, veterinarian Jan Amos Sangan Dongo has to figure out how to rescue them without causing political unrest. In this intergalactic space satire, Yoss derides racist and sexist stereotypes and critiques western environmental policies.

#2

Title: Infomocracy

9780765385147 Author: Malka Older What’s it about? In a futuristic world where mini-democracies vote on which global government they want to join, an organization called “Information” oversees everything from the elections to the media. As another election, held every 10 years, approaches, someone is trying to sabotage the election process by taking out Information’s communication system as two parties jockey to stay in the lead. Political operative Ken, Information agent Mishima, and anarchist Domaine team up to find out who is responsible for sabotage.

#3

Title: The Second Angel

1889702 Author: Philip Kerr What’s it about? In the year 2069, most of Earth’s population has been infected by a slow-acting deadly virus. The only cure is clean blood, housed on the moon and only affordable to the wealthy elite. When wealthy systems designer Dana Dallas finds out his infant daughter needs clean blood to survive, and is denied, Dallas’s actions spark a chain of events that puts him at war with powerful, dangerous enemies. It’s “one of the more believable near-future dystopias.”

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#4

Title: Stranger in a Strange Land

stranger_in_a_strange_landAuthor: Robert Heinlein What’s it about? Heinlein’s classic novel, a Hugo Award winner in 1962, tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, who was born and raised on Mars and is the only survivor of the first manned mission to the planet. A true innocent, Smith learns about human culture, morality and society – and with the support of his friends, eventually founds his own church based on the principals he learned from Martians.  

#5

Title: The City and the city

515jMUwjS8L Author: China Mieville What’s it about? Part police procedural, part science fiction, Mieville’s novel is about two cities occupying the same geographical space, where citizens must “unsee” the other city and its people or suffer the consequences. That complicates what should be a routine investigation for Inspector Tyador Borlu: a woman’s body is found in his city of Beszel, but the crime was committed in the neighboring city of Ul Qoma, launching a journey both psychological and physical between two rival cities. “It’s a fantastic and disorienting read.”

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The Lord of the Rings (Series)

The Lord of the Rings is an epic high-fantasy novel written by English author J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien’s 1937 fantasy novel The Hobbit, but eventually developed into a much larger work. Written in stages between 1937 and 1949, The Lord of the Rings is one of the best-selling novels ever written, with over 150 million copies sold. The title of the novel refers to the story’s main antagonist, the Dark Lord Sauron, who had in an earlier age created the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power as the ultimate weapon in his campaign to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth. From quiet beginnings in the Shire, a hobbit land not unlike the English countryside, the story ranges across Middle-earth, following the course of the War of the Ring through the eyes of its characters, not only the hobbits Frodo Baggins, Samwise “Sam” Gamgee, Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck and Peregrin “Pippin” Took, but also the hobbits’ chief allies and travelling companions: the Men Aragorn son of Arathorn, a Ranger of the North, and Boromir, a Captain of Gondor; Gimli son of Glóin, a Dwarf warrior; Legolas Greenleaf, an Elven prince; and Gandalf, a Wizard. The work was initially intended by Tolkien to be one volume of a two-volume set, the other to be The Silmarillion, but this idea was dismissed by his publisher. For economic reasons The Lord of the Rings was published in three volumes over the course of a year from 29 July 1954 to 20 October 1955. The three volumes were titled The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. Structurally, the novel is divided internally into six books, two per volume, with several appendices of background material included at the end of the third volume. Some editions combine the entire work into a single volume. The Lord of the Rings has since been reprinted numerous times and translated into 38 languages. The enduring popularity of The Lord of the Rings has led to numerous references in popular culture, the founding of many societies by fans of Tolkien’s works, and the publication of many books about Tolkien and his works. The Lord of the Rings has inspired, and continues to inspire, artwork, music, films and television, video games, and subsequent literature. Award-winning adaptations of The Lord of the Rings have been made for radio, theatre, and film. In 2003, it was named Britain’s best-loved novel of all time in the BBC’s The Big Read.

The Fellowship of the Ring

the-fellowship-of-the-ring The story begins in the Shire, where the Hobbit Frodo Baggins inherits the Ring from Bilbo Baggins, his cousin and guardian. Neither hobbit is aware of its origin and nature, but Gandalf the Grey, a wizard and old friend of Bilbo, suspects the Ring’s identity. When he becomes certain, he strongly advises Frodo to take it away from the Shire. Frodo leaves, accompanied by his gardener and friend, Samwise (“Sam”) Gamgee, and two cousins, Meriadoc (“Merry”) Brandybuck and Peregrin (“Pippin”) Took. They nearly encounter the Nazgûl while still in the Shire, but shake off pursuit by cutting through the Old Forest, where they are aided by the enigmatic Tom Bombadil, who alone is unaffected by the Ring’s corrupting influence. After leaving the forest, they stop in the town of Bree where they meet Strider, who is later revealed to be Aragorn, Isildur’s heir. He persuades them to take him on as guide and protector. They flee from Bree after narrowly escaping another assault, but the Nazgûl follow and attack them on the hill of Weathertop, wounding Frodo with a Morgul blade. Aragorn leads the hobbits toward the Elven refuge of Rivendell, while Frodo gradually succumbs to the wound. The Ringwraiths nearly overtake Frodo at the Ford of Bruinen, but flood waters summoned by Elrond, master of Rivendell, rise up and overwhelm them. Frodo recovers in Rivendell under the care of Elrond. The Council of Elrond reveals much significant history about Sauron and the Ring, as well as the news that Sauron has corrupted Gandalf’s fellow wizard, Saruman. The Council decides that the Ring must be destroyed, but that can only be done by returning it to the flames of Mount Doom in Mordor, where it was forged. Frodo volunteers to take on this daunting task, and a “Fellowship of the Ring” is formed to aid him: Sam, Merry, Pippin, Aragorn, Gandalf, Gimli the Dwarf, Legolas the Elf, and the Man Boromir, son of the Ruling Steward Denethor of the realm of Gondor. After a failed attempt to cross the Misty Mountains via the Redhorn Pass across the flank of Caradhras, the company are forced to try a more perilous path through the Mines of Moria, where they are attacked by the Watcher in the Water before the gate. Inside, they discover the fate of Balin and his colony of Dwarves. After repulsing an attack, they are pursued by orcs and an ancient and powerful demonic creature called a Balrog. Gandalf confronts the Balrog, but in their struggle, both fall into a deep chasm. The others escape and take refuge in the Elven forest of Lothlórien, where they are counselled by Galadriel and Celeborn. With boats and gifts from Galadriel, the company travel down the River Anduin to the hill of Amon Hen. Boromir succumbs to the lure of the Ring and attempts to take it from Frodo. Frodo escapes and determines to continue the quest alone, though Sam guesses his intent and comes along.

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The Two Towers

The_Two_Towers_Poster_01 Orcs sent by Saruman and Sauron kill Boromir and kidnap Merry and Pippin. After agonizing over which pair of hobbits to follow, Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas pursue the orcs bearing Merry and Pippin to Saruman. In the kingdom of Rohan, the orcs are slain by a company of the Rohirrim. Merry and Pippin escape into Fangorn Forest, where they are befriended by Treebeard, the oldest of the tree-like Ents. Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas track the hobbits to Fangorn, and encounter Gandalf, resurrected as the significantly more powerful “Gandalf the White” after his mutually fatal duel with the Balrog. Gandalf assures them that Merry and Pippin are safe. They then ride to Edoras, the capital of Rohan, where they free Théoden, King of Rohan, from the influence of Saruman’s henchman Gríma Wormtongue. Théoden musters his fighting strength and rides to the ancient fortress of Helm’s Deep, but en route Gandalf leaves to seek help from Treebeard. Frodo and Sam capture Gollum, who had been following them from Moria, and force him to guide them to Mordor. Finding Mordor’s Black Gate too well guarded to attempt, they travel instead to a secret passage Gollum knows. On the way, they fall in with Faramir, who, unlike his brother Boromir, resists the temptation to seize the Ring and instead helps Frodo on his way. Torn between his loyalty to Frodo and his desire for the Ring, Gollum eventually betrays Frodo by leading him to the great spider Shelob in the tunnels of Cirith Ungol. Frodo is felled by Shelob’s sting, but Sam fights her off. Sam takes the Ring and leaves Frodo, believing him to be dead. When orcs find Frodo, Sam overhears them say that Frodo is only unconscious, and chases after them.

The Return of the King

large_j6NCjU6Zh7SkfIeN5zDaoTmBn4m Sauron unleashes a heavy assault upon Gondor. Gandalf arrives at Minas Tirith to alert Denethor of the impending attack. The city is besieged, and Denethor, deceived by Sauron, gives up hope and commits suicide, nearly taking his remaining son Faramir with him. Aragorn feels he has no choice but to take the Paths of the Dead in order to reach Gondor in time, accompanied by Legolas, Gimli and the Dúnedain Rangers from the North. During this perilous journey, Aragorn raises an undead army of oath-breakers bound by an ancient curse that denies them rest until they fulfill their vow to the king of Gondor. The ghostly army helps defeat the Corsairs of Umbar invading southern Gondor. Commandeering the ships of the Corsairs, Aragorn leads reinforcements up the Anduin to relieve the siege of Minas Tirith, and between them, the forces of Gondor and Rohan defeat Sauron’s army in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Meanwhile, Sam rescues Frodo from the tower of Cirith Ungol, and they set out across Mordor. In order to distract Sauron from his true danger, Aragorn leads the armies of Gondor and Rohan in a march on the Black Gate of Mordor. His vastly outnumbered troops fight desperately against Sauron’s forces. Reaching the edge of the Cracks of Doom, Frodo is unable to resist the Ring any longer and claims it for himself. But Gollum suddenly reappears. In the ensuing struggle, he seizes the Ring by biting off the finger on which Frodo wears it. Celebrating wildly, Gollum accidentally falls into the fire, taking the Ring with him; and so Frodo’s mission is completed. With the destruction of the One Ring, Sauron is permanently shorn of his power, the Nazgûl perish, and his armies are thrown into such disarray that Aragorn’s forces emerge victorious.

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With the end of the War of the Ring, Aragorn is crowned Elessar, King of Arnor and Gondor, and marries his long-time love, Arwen, daughter of Elrond. Saruman escapes from Isengard and, seeking vengeance on the hobbits, enslaves the Shire. The four hobbits, upon returning home, raise a rebellion and overthrow him. Gríma turns on Saruman and kills him in front of Frodo’s house, and is slain in turn by hobbit archers. The War of the Ring thus comes to its true end on Frodo’s very doorstep. Several years later, accompanied by Bilbo and Gandalf, he sails from the Grey Havens west over the Sea to the Undying Lands to find peace. After Rosie’s death, Sam gives his daughter the Red Book of Westmarch, containing the account of Bilbo’s adventures and the War of the Ring as witnessed by the hobbits. Sam is then said to have crossed west over the Sea himself, the last of the Ring-bearers.

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Harry Potter (Series)

The central character in the series is Harry Potter, an English orphan who discovers, at the age of eleven, that he is a wizard, though he lives in the ordinary world of non-magical people known as Muggles. The wizarding world exists parallel to the Muggle world, albeit hidden and in secrecy. His magical ability is inborn and children with such abilities are invited to attend exclusive magic schools that teach the necessary skills to succeed in the wizarding world. Harry becomes a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, a wizarding academy in Scotland and it is here where most of the events in the series take place. As Harry develops through his adolescence, he learns to overcome the problems that face him: magical, social and emotional, including ordinary teenage challenges such as friendships, infatuation, romantic relationships, schoolwork and exams, anxiety, depression, stress, and the greater test of preparing himself for the confrontation, that lies ahead, in wizarding Britain’s increasingly-violent second wizarding war. Each novel chronicles one year in Harry’s life during the period from 1991 to 1998. The books also contain many flashbacks, which are frequently experienced by Harry viewing the memories of other characters in a device called a Pensieve. The environment Rowling created is intimately connected to reality. The British magical community of the Harry Potter books is inspired by 1990s British culture, European folklore, classical mythology and alchemy, incorporating objects and wildlife such as magic wands, magic plants, potions, spells, flying broomsticks, centaurs and other magical creatures, the Deathly Hallows, and the Philosopher’s Stone, beside others invented by Rowling. While the fantasy land of Narnia is an alternate universe and the Lord of the Rings‘ Middle-earth a mythic past, the wizarding world of Harry Potter exists in parallel within the real world and contains magical versions of the ordinary elements of everyday life, with the action mostly set in Scotland (Hogwarts), the West Country, Devon, London and Surrey in southeast England. The world only accessible to wizards and magical beings comprises a fragmented collection of overlooked hidden streets, ancient pubs, lonely country manors and secluded castles invisible to the Muggle population.

Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry_Potter_Spotlight Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This is the tale of Harry Potter, an ordinary 11-year-old boy serving as a sort of slave for his aunt and uncle who learns that he is actually a wizard and has been invited to attend the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry is snatched away from his mundane existence by Hagrid, the grounds keeper for Hogwarts, and quickly thrown into a world completely foreign to both him and the viewer. Famous for an incident that happened at his birth, Harry makes friends easily at his new school. He soon finds, however, that the wizarding world is far more dangerous for him than he would have imagined, and he quickly learns that not all wizards are ones to be trusted.

Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets

Harry_Potter_and_the_Chamber_of_Secrets_2002 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second novel in the Harry Potter series, written by J. K. Rowling. The plot follows Harry’s second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, during which a series of messages on the walls of the school’s corridors warn that the “Chamber of Secrets” has been opened and that the “heir of Slytherin” would kill all pupils who do not come from all-magical families. These threats are found after attacks which leave residents of the school “petrified” (frozen like stone). Throughout the year, Harry and his friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger investigate the attacks.

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The book was published in the United Kingdom on 2 July 1998 by Bloomsbury and in the United States on 2 June 1999 by Scholastic Inc. Although Rowling found it difficult to finish the book, it won high praise and awards from critics, young readers and the book industry, although some critics thought the story was perhaps too frightening for younger children. Much like with other novels in the series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets triggered religious debates; some religious authorities have condemned its use of magical themes, while others have praised its emphasis on self-sacrifice and on the way in which a person’s character is the result of the person’s choices.

Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban

Harry_Potter_and_the_Prisoner_of_Azkaban_DVD_Cover Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the third novel in the Harry Potter series, written by J. K. Rowling. The book follows Harry Potter, a young wizard, in his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Along with friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, Harry investigates Sirius Black, an escaped prisoner from Azkaban who they believe is one of Lord Voldemort’s old allies. The book was published in the United Kingdom on 8 July 1999 by Bloomsbury and in the United States on 8 September 1999 by Scholastic Inc. Rowling found the book easy to write, finishing it just a year after she had begun writing it. The book sold 68,000 copies in just three days after its release in the United Kingdom, and since has sold over three million in the country. The book won the 1999 Whitbread Children’s Book Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the 2000 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, and was short-listed for other awards, including the Hugo. The film adaptation of the novel was released in 2004, grossing more than $796 million and earned notable critical acclaim. Video games loosely based on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban were also released for several platforms, and most obtained favourable reviews.

Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

j-k-rowling-harry-potter-and-the-goblet-of-fire Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the fourth novel in the Harry Potter series, written by British author J. K. Rowling. It follows Harry Potter, a wizard in his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and the mystery surrounding the entry of Harry’s name into the Triwizard Tournament, in which he is forced to compete.

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The book was published in the United Kingdom by Bloomsbury and in the United States by Scholastic, in both countries the release date was 8 July 2000, the first time a book in the series was published in both countries at the same time. The novel won a Hugo Award, the only Harry Potter novel to do so, in 2001. The book was made into a film, which was released worldwide on 18 November 2005, and a video game by Electronic Arts.

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix

5.4 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the fifth novel in the Harry Potter series, written by J. K. Rowling. It follows Harry Potter’s struggles through his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, including the surreptitious return of the antagonist Lord Voldemort, O.W.L. exams, and an obstructive Ministry of Magic. The novel was published on 21 June 2003 by Bloomsbury in the United Kingdom, Scholastic in the United States, and Raincoast in Canada. Five million copies were sold in the first 24 hours of publication. It is the longest book of the series. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has won several awards, including being named an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults in 2003. The book has also been made into a film, which was released in 2007, and into a video game by Electronic Arts.

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince

Harry_potter_HBP_Scholastic_edition Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the sixth and penultimate novel in the Harry Potter series, written by British author J. K. Rowling. Set during protagonist Harry Potter’s sixth year at Hogwarts, the novel explores the past of Harry’s nemesis, Lord Voldemort, and Harry’s preparations for the final battle against Voldemort alongside his headmaster and mentor Albus Dumbledore. The book was published in the United Kingdom by Bloomsbury and in the United States by Scholastic on 16 July 2005, as well as in several other countries. It sold nine million copies in the first 24 hours after its release, a record at the time which was eventually broken by its sequel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. There were many controversies before and after it was published, including the right to read the copies delivered prior to the release date in Canada. Reception to the novel was generally positive and it won several awards and honours, including the 2006 British Book of the Year award. Reviewers noted that the book took on a darker tone than its predecessors, though it did contain some humour. Some considered the main themes to be love and death, and trust and redemption. The character development of Harry and several other teenage characters was also remarked upon.

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows

dh-us-jacket-art Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the seventh and final novel of the Harry Potter series, written by British author J. K. Rowling. The book was released on 21 July 2007 by Bloomsbury Publishing in the United Kingdom, in the United States by Scholastic, and in Canada by Raincoast Books, ending the series that began in 1997 with the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The novel chronicles the events directly following Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005), and the final confrontation between the wizards Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort, as well as revealing the previously concealed back story of several main characters. The title of the book refers to three mythical objects featured in the story, collectively known as the “Deathly Hallows”—an unbeatable wand, a stone to bring the dead to life, and a cloak of invisibility.

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Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in January 2007. Before its release, Bloomsbury reportedly spent £10 million to keep the book’s contents safe before its release date. American publisher Arthur Levine refused any copies of the novel to be released in advance for press review, although two reviews were submitted early. Shortly before release, photos of all 759 pages of the U.S. edition were leaked and transcribed, leading Scholastic to look for the source that had leaked it. Released globally in 93 countries, Deathly Hallows broke sales records as the fastest-selling book ever, a record it still held in 2012. It sold 15 million copies in the first 24 hours following its release, including more than 11 million in the U.S. and UK alone. The previous record, 9 million in its first day, had been held by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The novel has also been translated into over 120 languages. The title proved difficult to translate and was often rendered closer to “Harry Potter and the Relics of Death” in other languages.

Harry Potter And The Cursed Child

harry-potter-cursed-child-final-cover Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a two-part West End stage play written by Jack Thorne based on an original new story by Thorne, J.K. Rowling and John Tiffany. Previews of the play began at the Palace Theatre, London on 7 June 2016 and was scheduled to officially premiere on 30 July 2016. The rehearsal script, not a novelisation of the play, was released on 31 July 2016 and became the eighth story set in the Harry Potter universe. The story is set nineteen years after the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and follows Harry Potter, now a Ministry of Magic employee, and his younger son Albus Severus Potter.

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Book Review: "And Then There Were None"

And Then There Were None is a mystery novel by English writer Agatha Christie, widely considered her masterpiece and described by her as the most difficult of her books to write. It was first published in the United Kingdom by the Collins Crime Club on 6 November 1939, as Ten Little Niggers, after the British blackface song, which serves as a major plot point. The US edition was not released until December 1939; its American reprints and adaptations were all retitled And Then There Were None, the last five words in the original American version of the nursery rhyme (“Ten Little Indians”). In the novel, a group of people are lured into coming to an island under different pretexts, e.g., offers of employment, to enjoy a late summer holiday, or to meet old friends. All have been complicit in the deaths of other human beings, but either escaped justice or committed an act that was not subject to legal sanction. The guests and two servants who are present are “charged” with their respective “crimes” by a gramophone recording after dinner the first night, and informed that they have been brought to the island to pay for their actions. They are the only people on the island, and cannot escape due to the distance from the mainland and the inclement weather, and gradually all ten are killed in turn, each in a manner that seems to parallel the deaths in the nursery rhyme. Nobody else seems to be left alive on the island by the time of the apparent last death. A confession, in the form of a postscript to the novel, unveils how the killings took place and who was responsible. It is Christie’s best-selling novel; with more than 100 million copies sold, it is also the world’s best-selling mystery and one of the best-selling books of all time. Publications International lists the novel as the seventh best-selling title.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 03/12/2015 - Programme Name: And Then There Were None - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 1) - Picture Shows:  Fred Narracott (CHRISTOPHER HATHERALL), General Macarthur (SAM NEILL), Philip Lombard (AIDEN TURNER), Dr Armstrong (TOBY STEPHENS), William Blore (BURN GORMAN), Judge Wargrave (CHARLES DANCE), Vera Claythorne (MAEVE DERMODY) - (C) Mammoth Screen - Photographer: Robert Viglasky

On a hot, late August day sometime in the late 1930s, eight people arrive on Soldier Island (Indian Island in some versions, Nigger Island in the original 1939 version), a small, isolated island off the Devon coast of England. Each appears to have an invitation tailored to his or her personal circumstances, such as an offer of employment or an unexpected late summer holiday. They are met by Thomas and Ethel Rogers, the butler and cook/housekeeper, who state that their hosts, Mr Ulick Norman Owen and his wife Mrs Una Nancy Owen, have not yet arrived.

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A framed copy of a nursery rhyme, “Ten Little Niggers” (“Ten Little Indians” or “Ten Little Soldiers” in later editions), hangs in every guest’s room, and ten figurines sit on the dining room table. After supper, a gramophone (or “phonograph”) record is played; it contains a recording that describes each visitor in turn, accuses each of having committed murder but escaping justice, and then asks if any of “the accused” wishes to offer a defence. All but Anthony Marston and Philip Lombard deny the charges, and Miss Brent refuses to discuss the matter with men present. They discover that none of them actually knows the Owens and conclude that the name “U.N. Owen” is shorthand for “Unknown”. In the aftermath of the recording, Marston finishes his drink and immediately dies from cyanide poisoning. The remaining guests notice that one of the ten figurines is now broken, and the nursery rhyme appears to reflect the manner of death (“One choked his little self and then there were nine”). The next morning, Mrs Rogers’ corpse is found in her bed; she had died in her sleep from an overdose of chloral hydrate. By lunchtime, General MacArthur is found dead, from a heavy blow to his head. Two more figurines are found to be broken, and again the deaths parallel the rhyme. Miss Brent relates the account of her presumed charge to Vera Claythorne, the only other remaining woman. A search for “Mr Owen” shows that nobody else is on the island except the remaining seven. The island is a “bare rock” with no hiding places, and no one could have arrived or left; thus, they uncomfortably conclude that any one of the seven remaining persons is the killer. Justice Wargrave leads the group in determining that as of yet, none of them can definitively be ruled out as the murderer. The next morning, Rogers is found dead while chopping wood, and after breakfast, Miss Brent is found dead in the kitchen, where she had been left alone after complaining of feeling unwell; she had been injected with potassium cyanide via a hypodermic needle.

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Wargrave then suggests searching all the rooms, and any potentially dangerous items they can think of are locked up. However, Philip Lombard’s gun is missing from his room. When Vera goes upstairs to take a bath, she is shocked by the touch of seaweed left hanging from the ceiling of her room and screams; the remaining guests rush upstairs to her room. Wargrave, however, is still downstairs. The others find him seated, immobile and crudely dressed up in the attire of a judge. Wargrave is examined briefly by Dr Armstrong and pronounced dead from a gunshot to the forehead. That night, Lombard appears surprised when he finds his gun returned to his room. Ex-inspector William Blore catches a glimpse of someone leaving the house but loses the trail. He then discovers Armstrong is absent from his room, and the remaining three guests conclude he must be the killer. Vera, Blore, and Lombard decide to stay together at all times. In the morning, they unsuccessfully attempt to signal SOS to the mainland from outside by using a mirror and sunlight. Blore then decides to return to the house for food and is killed by a heavy bear-shaped clock statue that falls from Vera’s window sill.

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Vera and Lombard are now confident that Armstrong is the killer. However, shortly afterwards, Vera and Lombard come upon Armstrong’s body washed up on the beach, which they do not immediately recognize due to decomposition. They both realise he could not have killed Blore. Panicked, each concludes the other must be the killer. Quickly regaining her composure, Vera suggests moving the doctor’s body past the shore, but this is a pretext. She manages to lift Lombard’s gun. When Lombard lunges at her to get it back, she shoots and kills him. She returns to the house in a shaken dreamlike state, relieved to be alive. She finds a noose and chair arranged in her room, and a strong smell of the sea. With visions of her former lover, Hugo, urging her on, in a post-traumatic state, she adjusts the noose and kicks the chair out from under her. Two Scotland Yard officials are puzzled by the identity of U.N. Owen. Although they can reconstruct the deaths from Marston to Wargrave with the help of the victims’ diaries and a coroner’s careful report, they are forced to conclude that “U.N. Owen” was one of the victims, but are unable to determine which one.

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Postscript by the killer

In a postscript, a fishing ship picks up a bottle inside its trawling nets; the bottle contains a written confession of the killings, which is then sent to Scotland Yard. It is not mentioned how long after the killings the bottle was discovered. In the confession, Justice Wargrave states that he has long wished to set an unsolvable puzzle of murder, but is morally limited to victims who are themselves guilty and deserving of such an end. He explains how he tricked the gullible Armstrong into helping him fake his own death under the pretext that it would supposedly to give him freedom to help the group identify the killer, and also explains that after Vera died, he placed the chair in her room neatly, and used the gun and some elastic to ensure his own death matched the account in the guests’ diaries.

He also describes how his first chronological victim was actually Isaac Morris, the sleazy lawyer and drugs trafficker who anonymously purchased the island and arranged the invitations on his behalf. Morris was poisoned before Wargrave departed for the island. Wargrave’s intention is that when the police arrive they will find ten bodies, with evidence that someone had been alive after each death, but nobody else on the island, and no way to trace the killer through his invitations or preparations. He states that, although there are hints that could guide them to the correct killer, he believes the police will be left perplexed.