Novel First Lines

Novel first lines are popular quiz questions, so this section is perfect to brush up your book knowledge trivia ...

Novel First Lines A-D

The drought had lasted now for ten million years, and the reign of the terrible lizards had long since ended. 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair ... A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

A squat grey building of only thirty-four storeys. Over the main entrance the words, Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre, and, in a shield, the World State's Motto, Community, Identity, Stability. Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley

Dr Lannis had enjoyed a satisfactory day in which none of his patients had died or got any worse. Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres

It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him. Yossarian was in the hospital with a pain in his liver that fell just short of being jaundice. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Novel First Lines E-H

Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her. Emma by Jane Austen

I fell in love with football, as I was later to fall in love with women: suddenly, inexplicably uncritically, giving no thought to the pain or disruption it would bring with it. Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby

Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling

The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails, and was at rest. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Novel First Lines I-L

'Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents', grumbled Jo, lying on the rug. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The boy with fair hair lowered himself down the last few feet of rock and began to pick his way towards the lagoon. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Novel First Lines M-P

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Frank Kafka

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening Hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen. Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in posession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Novel First Lines Q-T

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

I am a citizen of the United States of America. Our government has been overthrown. Our elected President has been exiled. Old white men wielding martinis and wearing dickies have occupied our nation's capital. Stupid White Men: ...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation! by Michael Moore

On an evening in the latter part of May a middle aged man was walking homeward from shaston to the village of Marlott, in the adjoining Vale of Blakemore or Blackmoor. Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Whan than Aprill with his shoures soote / The droghte of March hath perced to the roote. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Renowned curator Jacques Sauniere staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum's Grand Gallery. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown

Like the brief doomed flare of exploding suns that registers dimly on blind men's eyes, the beginning of the horror passed almost unnoticed; in the shriek of what followed, in fact, was forgotten and perhaps not connected to the horror at all. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Amergo Bonasera sat in New York Criminal Court Number 3 and waited for justice; vengeance on the men who had co cruelly hurt his daughter, who had tried to dishonor her. The Godfather by Mario Puzo

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

One day when Pooh Bear had nothing else to do, he thought he would do something, so he went round to Piglet's house to see what Piglet was doing. The House at Pooh Corner (Winnie the Pooh) by A.A.Milne

Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

When Mr Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventyifirst birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Samuel Spade's jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

A wide plain, where the broadening Floss hurries on between its green banks to the sea and the loving tide, rushing to meet it, checks its passage with an impetuous embrace. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

Intelligent life on a planet comes of age when it first works out the reason for its own existence. If superior creatures from space ever visit earth, the first question they will ask, in order to assess the level of our civilization, is: "Have they discovered evolution yet?" The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

The Time Traveller (for so it will be convenient to speak of him) was expounding a recondite matter to us. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

I had been making the rounds of the Sacrifice Poles the day we heard my brother had escaped. I already knew something was going to happen; the Factory told me. The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

Novel First Lines U-Z

Early in the morning, late in the century, Cricklewood Broadway. White Teeth by Zadie Smith

At the age of fifteen my grandmother became the concubine of a warlord general. Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang

The mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home. Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

1801 - I have just returned from a visit to my landlord - the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

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