front cover of the Quick Reads book 'A Cruel Fate'

‘A Cruel Fate’ by Lindsey Davis is a story about the English Civil War. Read and listen to this extract which explains how an innocent young bookseller is taken prisoner by the King’s soldiers.


Task 1 - comprehension

Task 2 - vocabulary

Task 3 - summary


  • What do you think will happen to Martin?
  • Do you like learning about British history?
  • Are there any British historical events that you find particularly interesting?

Send us your comments. We'd love to hear from you!

If you would like to read more of this story you can order the book at:

or you can order it from your local library.

Quick Reads

Quick Reads have developed a huge range of short books that are really great if you don’t have much time to read:

‘If you are too busy for long books; want a quick read for the train, tube or bus; or think reading is difficult or dull, Quick Reads are for you.’

If you would like to find out more about Quick Reads and see their amazing range of books, go to:

Reading for pleasure in English will benefit you in many ways:

•    improve your vocabulary, introducing you to new words

•    develop your writing skills and teach you about grammar and spelling

•    increase your knowledge of the world

•    help you relax

•    inspire you with new ideas

Make time to read!

0 votes

(It was difficult to understand). I thing Martin will be tortured by soldiers and probably killed.

I've never studied English history, so yes, it could be interesting. Particularly, learning about Henry VIII because he's one of the most popular kings.