'What! to come here a stranger, a young, unknown, and unfriended stranger, and tell us, in the name of the bishop his master, that we are ignorant of our duties, old-fashioned, and useless!'
Trollope's comic masterpiece of plotting and backstabbing opens as the Bishop of Barchester lies on his deathbed. Soon a pitched battle breaks out over who will take power, involving, among others, the zealous reformer Dr Proudie, his fiendish wife and the unctuous schemer Obadiah Slope.
Barchester Towers is one of the best-loved novels in Trollope's Chronicles of Barsetshire series, which captured nineteenth-century provincial England with wit, worldly wisdom and an unparalleled gift for characterization.