Dead Men Tell No Tales

Cover image for


Author: E.W. Hornung
Published: 1897
Language: English
Wordcount: 56,355 / 155 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 58.9
LoC Category: PR
Downloads: 7,440 3650

Meeting failure in his search for wealth in the 1851 Australian gold rush, a dispirited Mr. Cole takes the next available ship back to England -- and falls in love with Eva Denison, a beautiful and accomplished young woman traveling with her exotic Portuguese step-father. After a disaster at sea Cole returns to anonymity in London... or so he thinks. Events lead to the discovery of a horrible conspiracy, and then to an adventure that may cost Cole his greatest love.

Show Excerpt

and the villainy which rendered us more than ever impatient of delay. In my fly-blown blankets I dreamt of London until I hankered after my chambers and my club more than after much fine gold. Never shall I forget my first hot bath on getting back to Melbourne; it cost five shillings, but it was worth five pounds, and is altogether my pleasantest reminiscence of Australia.

There was, however, one slice of luck in store for me. I found the dear old Lady Jermyn on the very eve of sailing, with a new captain, a new crew, a handful of passengers (chiefly steerage), and nominally no cargo at all. I felt none the less at home when I stepped over her familiar side.

In the cuddy we were only five, but a more uneven quintette I defy you to convene. There was a young fellow named Ready, packed out for his health, and hurrying home to die among friends. There was an outrageously lucky digger, another invalid, for he would drink nothing but champagne with every meal and at any minute of the day, and I have


Average Rating of 4.5 from 4 reviews: *****

An incredibly good writing. The Hornung's style was highly praised by A.Conan-Doyle, who was his brother-in-law, and by O. Wilde.
The narrative gets your attention at once and holds it till the last word.
This novel isn't even one of his most famous books but it's splendid.
Hornung knows how to create emotion and suspense with a seemingly plain word and how to get the most of a story, which grows and expands itself just when you think that's all there was to it.
A good intrigue, interesting characters, picturesque entourages. Impossible to stop reading.

Henry L. Ratliff

(1897) Mystery (Criminal) / Adventure (Survival) / Thriller (Conspiracy)

R: * * * *

Plot bullets

  • A ship catches fire and sinks. It appears that only one man survived.

  • The survivor lost everything, he lost the woman he loved.

  • That man soon finds that all is not as it seemed, and that his life may still be in danger. He is the only one who may give a different account of the tragedy.

  • As the situation unfolds, he discovers that the ship and it's passengers were sacrificed for criminal gains.

  • He finds his love alive and makes plans to save her, from what seems to be a strange captivity.

  • An evil plot was laid. The ship was sunk. The Innocent lives of men, women and children were taken. They unfortunately fit the classification of the old adage, 'Dead Men Tell No Tales'.


Fun, fast-paced adventure tale.


Our narrator is sailing home from the Australian gold fields, flat broke, when he is thrown into wild, desperate adventure. This classic "ripping yarn" has it all -- the girl, the villain, the mouldering mansion. To say any more would be to spoil it. Great for a late night or a train ride.

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