The Greatest "Inheritance and succession" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 280 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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Inheritance and succession

The category of "Inheritance and succession" in books refers to stories that revolve around the transfer of wealth, property, or power from one generation to another. These books often explore the complexities of family dynamics, legal battles, and personal struggles that arise during the process of inheritance and succession. They may also delve into the moral and ethical implications of inheriting or passing on wealth and power, and the impact it has on individuals and society as a whole. Overall, this category of books offers a fascinating insight into the intricacies of inheritance and succession, and the human emotions and motivations that drive them.

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  1. 1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

    This classic novel is a tale of love, revenge and social class set in the Yorkshire moors. It revolves around the intense, complex relationship between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, an orphan adopted by Catherine's father. Despite their deep affection for each other, Catherine marries Edgar Linton, a wealthy neighbor, leading Heathcliff to seek revenge on the two families. The story unfolds over two generations, reflecting the consequences of their choices and the destructive power of obsessive love.

  2. 2. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

    A young orphan boy, living with his cruel older sister and her kind blacksmith husband, has an encounter with an escaped convict that changes his life. Later, he becomes the protégé of a wealthy but reclusive woman and falls in love with her adopted daughter. He then learns that an anonymous benefactor has left him a fortune, leading him to believe that his benefactor is the reclusive woman and that she intends for him to marry her adopted daughter. He moves to London to become a gentleman, but his great expectations are ultimately shattered when he learns the true identity of his benefactor and the reality of his love interest.

  3. 3. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

    This classic novel explores the life of a young, independent American woman who inherits a large amount of money and moves to Europe, where she falls into a manipulative and oppressive marriage. The story delves into themes of personal freedom, responsibility, and betrayal, as the protagonist navigates the complexities of high society, love, and the consequences of her choices.

  4. 4. Hamlet by William Shakespeare

    This classic play revolves around the young Prince of Denmark who is thrown into a state of emotional turmoil after his father's sudden death and his mother's quick remarriage to his uncle. The prince is visited by the ghost of his father who reveals that he was murdered by the uncle, prompting the prince to seek revenge. The narrative explores themes of madness, revenge, and moral corruption as the prince navigates the complex political and emotional landscape of the Danish court.

  5. 5. First Folio by William Shakespeare

    This collection is a compilation of 36 plays by a renowned English playwright, published seven years after his death. It includes comedies, histories, and tragedies, some of which had never been published before. Notable works in the compilation include "Macbeth," "Julius Caesar," "Twelfth Night," "The Tempest," and "As You Like It." The collection is considered one of the most influential books ever published in the English language, as it preserved many of the playwright's works that might have otherwise been lost.

  6. 6. Howards End by E. M. Forster

    This novel explores class relations and conflicting values in turn-of-the-century England. The narrative revolves around three families: the wealthy, capitalist Wilcoxes; the cultured, idealistic Schlegels; and the lower-middle class Basts. As their lives intertwine, the story grapples with themes of wealth, love, and death, and the struggle for personal connection in an increasingly impersonal society. The titular "Howards End" is a country home, and it becomes a symbol of England's past, present, and future.

  7. 7. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

    A captivating tale of mystery and suspense, "The Woman in White" follows the story of a young art teacher, Walter Hartright, who encounters a mysterious woman dressed in white on a moonlit road. The woman is revealed to be a mental asylum escapee, and as Hartright delves into her story, he uncovers a web of deceit, madness, and dangerous secrets involving a wealthy, titled family. The narrative explores themes of identity, insanity, and the abuse of power, with a complex plot filled with twists and turns.

  8. 8. Bleak House by Charles Dickens

    "Bleak House" is a complex narrative that critiques the British judiciary system through a long-running legal case known as Jarndyce and Jarndyce. The story follows the lives of numerous characters, including the kind-hearted Esther Summerson, her friends Richard and Ada, and their guardian, Mr. Jarndyce, who are all caught in the web of a legal dispute over an inheritance. The novel is known for its detailed depiction of the legal system, its vivid characters, and its exploration of social issues of the time.

  9. 9. King Lear by William Shakespeare

    This classic tragedy revolves around the aging King Lear, who decides to divide his kingdom among his three daughters based on their declarations of love for him. The two elder daughters, Goneril and Regan, flatter him with insincere praises, while the youngest, Cordelia, refuses to play the game and is disowned. As the king's sanity deteriorates, his kingdom falls into chaos under the rule of his deceitful elder daughters. The play explores themes of power, loyalty, madness, and justice, culminating in a tragic ending where almost all the main characters, including King Lear and Cordelia, die.

  10. 10. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens

    In this classic novel, a complex web of characters is spun around a central plot involving a mysterious inheritance. The narrative explores various themes such as love, greed, social class, and human nature, set against the backdrop of Victorian London. The story unfolds through the lives of numerous characters including a dust contractor, his charming daughter, a lawyer, a teacher, and a couple of greedy, scheming relatives, all of whom are connected by the mysterious fortune left by a deceased man to his estranged son, who is presumed drowned.

  11. 11. Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake

    Set in a vast, crumbling castle named Gormenghast, the story follows the life of Titus Groan, the heir to the Earl of Groan. The narrative explores the complex, rigidly structured society within the castle and the struggles and intrigues of its eccentric characters, particularly the scheming kitchen boy Steerpike. As Titus grows older, he begins to rebel against the stifling traditions of Gormenghast, setting the stage for a dramatic clash between the old and the new.

  12. 12. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

    This classic novel explores the lives of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, as they navigate love, heartbreak, and societal expectations in 18th-century England. The two sisters, one characterized by practicality and restraint (sense) and the other by emotional intensity and romanticism (sensibility), must negotiate their paths through a world where marriage often has more to do with wealth and social status than with love. The story is a sharp critique of the limitations placed on women in a rigidly patriarchal society.

  13. 13. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

    "Little Dorrit" is a classic novel that revolves around the life of Amy Dorrit, a young woman who was born and raised in Marshalsea Prison where her father is incarcerated due to debt. The narrative explores themes of imprisonment and freedom, wealth and poverty, as well as social criticism of Victorian England. As Amy navigates her life in and out of the prison, her journey intertwines with that of Arthur Clennam, a man who returns to England after his father's death and becomes determined to solve a family mystery that involves the Dorrits.

  14. 14. A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

    This novel is a modern retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear, set on a 1000-acre farm in Iowa. The story revolves around three daughters whose father decides to divide his land among them. The eldest two daughters are compliant with their father's decision, but the youngest daughter objects, leading to familial discord. The novel delves into themes of power, jealousy, and the dark secrets that can tear a family apart.

  15. 15. The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington

    "The Magnificent Ambersons" is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel set in the early 20th century that explores the dramatic changes brought about by the industrial revolution in America. It follows the decline of the once-prosperous Amberson family as their fortune and influence wane with the rise of new money and modern technology. The story is centered around the prideful and spoiled George Amberson Minafer, whose arrogance and inability to adapt to the changing world lead to his downfall.

  16. 16. The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

    "The Shell Seekers" is a generational novel that follows the life of Penelope Keeling, a woman in her sixties, who reflects on her past while dealing with her three grown children, each with their own selfish motives. When Penelope discovers a valuable painting in her possession, her children's greed surfaces as they pressure her to sell it. Instead, Penelope embarks on a journey of self-discovery and reflection, revisiting her bohemian past, her wartime romance, and the beauty of her father's paintings. The novel explores themes of family, love, loss, and the importance of art and beauty in life.

  17. 17. Vathek by William Beckford

    This gothic novel follows the story of Vathek, a cruel and decadent ninth-century Caliph who, driven by his insatiable quest for knowledge and power, makes a pact with the devil, Iblis. In exchange for unlimited power, Vathek promises to sacrifice his children. The narrative takes a dark turn as Vathek descends into a hell of his own making, filled with torment and regret, ultimately leading to his downfall. The novel explores themes of ambition, morality, and the destructive potential of unregulated power.

  18. 18. The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katharine Green

    "The Leavenworth Case" is a gripping detective novel that follows the investigation of a wealthy man's murder. When the head of the Leavenworth family is found dead in his locked study, suspicion falls on his niece, who stands to inherit his fortune. As the evidence against her mounts, a brilliant young lawyer is determined to uncover the truth and prove her innocence. With twists and turns at every corner, this thrilling mystery keeps readers guessing until the final page.

  19. 19. Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews

    The novel focuses on four siblings who, after the tragic death of their father, are locked away in the attic of their cruel grandmother's mansion as their mother tries to inherit the family fortune. The children endure years of abuse and neglect, and as their mother's visits become less frequent, they must rely on each other for survival. Over time, they form a deeply complex and troubling relationship, leading to a shocking and devastating climax.

  20. 20. The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    This novel tells the story of Anthony Patch, a 1920s socialite and presumptive heir to a tycoon's fortune, and his wife Gloria. As they await the inheritance of his grandfather's estate, their reckless marriage deteriorates into a cycle of alcohol, parties, and squabbles, leading to their downfall. The narrative provides an exploration of the themes of greed, status, and the fleeting nature of youth and beauty.

  21. 21. Volpone by Ben Jonson

    "Volpone" is a satirical comedy set in 17th century Venice, where the cunning protagonist, Volpone, and his servant, Mosca, swindle the city's wealthy elite by pretending Volpone is on his deathbed and in need of a worthy heir. This prompts a series of greedy contenders who offer extravagant gifts in hope of being named the heir. Despite their successful deceit, their scheme is eventually exposed, leading to their downfall. The story serves as a critique of greed and corruption, highlighting the destructive power of unchecked ambition.

  22. 22. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams

    This classic play explores the turbulent relationships within a wealthy Southern family. The main characters include an alcoholic ex-football player, his wife, and his domineering father, who is dying of cancer. The story revolves around the family's internal conflict, deceit, and denial as they grapple with the patriarch's impending death and the question of who will inherit the family's wealth. Themes of sexual desire, repression, greed, and death are prominent in this intense, emotional drama.

  23. 23. The Spoils of Poynton by Henry James

    "The Spoils of Poynton" is a novel about a young woman named Fleda Vetch who becomes embroiled in a dispute over an impressive collection of art and antiques, known as the 'spoils', at the Poynton estate. Mrs. Gereth, the current owner of the spoils, wants to prevent her son Owen from inheriting them due to his engagement to a woman she deems unworthy. Fleda, who is in love with Owen, is caught in the middle of this conflict, leading to a dramatic exploration of morality, aesthetic appreciation, and the complexities of love and possession.

  24. 24. The Eighth Life by Nino Haratishvili

    "The Eighth Life" is an epic family saga that spans over a century, tracing the lives of a Georgian family through the tumultuous history of the Soviet Union. Beginning with the story of a young woman who escapes the Bolshevik Revolution, the novel delves into the lives of subsequent generations as they navigate through love, loss, and the enduring legacy of their family. With richly drawn characters and a captivating narrative, this book explores themes of identity, sacrifice, and the power of storytelling.

  25. 25. Mirror Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold

    In this science fiction novel, a young man with a desire to prove himself and find his place in the universe impersonates his clone brother, a high-ranking noble and military commander. His reckless attempt to undertake a mercenary mission goes disastrously wrong, leading to his capture and torture by enemies. Meanwhile, his brother must navigate political intrigue and familial bonds to rescue him. As they confront their shared past and uncertain future, the brothers grapple with questions of identity, loyalty, and redemption, set against the backdrop of a complex interstellar society.

Reading Statistics

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If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.