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eBook available: The Spider’s Web

Another book from our Digital Library has been transformed into a Project Gutenberg eBook by the Distributed Proofreaders project. The latest release is The Spider’s Web, an early entry in Street & Smith‘s long-running Eagle Library of inexpensive popular novels, written by prolific author St. George Rathborne and published in 1898.

Like another recent release from this series, Sweet Violet, this story takes place during the Chicago World’s Fair. It follows Aleck Craig, a Canadian who visits Fair, partially in hope of being reunited with a mysterious Chicagoan woman he previously met under dramatic circumstances. He not only finds her but also discovers that she is entangled in a revenge plot focused on her father, a well-known grain speculator named Samson Cereal. Along the way, he is reunited with an old friend, eccentric former actor Claude Wycherley, and the two set out to help the Cereals through a variety of troubles.

The Eagle Library (which was eventually renamed to the Eagle Series, and then the New Eagle Series) specialized in publishing stories of romance featuring female protagonists. The vast majority of the thousand-plus entries in the series fit this pattern. However, this book falls a bit outside of the typical series formula. While its story certainly has romantic elements, it is more focused on action and intrigue. While female characters are important to the plot, it is much more focused on its male protagonists. Since this was published in only the second year of the series’ more-than-thirty-year run, this demonstrates some early experimentation on the part of the publisher.

If you would like to check the story out for yourself, you can read or download the entire book through Project Gutenberg.


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Last Modified: January 15, 2024

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