The fiver original novels of  The Barchester Chronicles are here edited and abridged by Michael Hardwick, who performed the same sterling service for Trollope’s Palliser series. Here is life in a mid-19th century provincial cathedral town – all the clerics and laymen, their wives, children and servants; their pleasures and obligations; their rivalries, passions and jealousies; their capacities for charity, gossip, intrigue and even for crime.  A vast carnival of very human characters.