Canaletto, London: Seen Through an Arch of Westminster Bridge, ca. 1746-1747; oil on canvas, 22.4" x 37.4"; Collection of the Duke of Northumberland  

Most times it’s hard to match, let alone top, an early success. Just ask those producers of movie series who tried to follow up hits like Rambo or The Exorcist. The same thing applies to literature. “It is the fate of sequels to disappoint those who have waited for them,” wrote Robert Louis Stevenson in the dedication to Catriona. He feared that the hero of Kidnapped, David Balfour, had been left to kick his...

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