Some of the most famous books of all time didn't just inspire loyal fandoms—they also spawned sequels. But unlike the Harry Potter series and other well-known book collections that are usually attributed to the same person, some of the most infamous sequels ever published were actually written entirely by new people. From Gone with the Wind to Pride and Prejudice and others, here are some of the most iconic works of literature with sequels that weren't written by the original authors.
1. Pride and Prejudice
There are a host of sequels to and adaptations of Jane Austen’s most famous work, but the one that turns the beloved story on its head is P.D. James’s Death Comes to Pemberley. The celebrated mystery writer sets a murder at the home of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy with the dastardly Mr. Wickham cast as the prime suspect.
2. Peter Pan; or, The Boy Who Never Grew Up
J.M. Barrie left the rights to all his works—including Peter Pan, published in 1911—to the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. In 2004, the hospital held a competition to write the official sequel, which it awarded to Geraldine McCaughrean for her manuscript, Peter Pan in Scarlet. The book follows the adventures of Peter Pan, the Darlings, and the Lost Boys in 1926. Captain Hook, having escaped the crocodile, makes his malevolent appearance as well; the book ends with Pan and Hook still in Neverland, Hook plotting his revenge.
3. Gone with the Wind
The zaniest of the four sequels to Margaret Mitchell’s Civil War saga is Scarlett, the authorized follow-up by Alexandra Ripley. In it, Scarlett endures Mammy’s death, has sex in a cave following a shipwreck, and returns to her roots when she moves to Ireland and rebuilds the old family estate, Ballyhara.
4. The Godfather
In 2004, author Mark Winegardner wrote The Godfather Returns, which picked up immediately where The Godfather left off and has the events of the film The Godfather: Part II as its background. Two years later, Winegardner wrote The Godfather’s Revenge. Just as the first book’s Johnny Fontaine was an analogue of Frank Sinatra, Winegardner’s books feature analogues of Joseph, John, and Robert Kennedy.
In Susan Hill's Mrs. De Winter, the ever-nameless narrator of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca returns to England with her husband 10 years after the burning of Manderley. The couple continues to feel the weight of Rebecca’s ghostly presence and find themselves threatened by a revenge-seeking Mrs. Danvers. In essence, nothing has changed.
6. The James Bond series
Just like in the movies, Ian Fleming’s super-spy never ages—he just adapts to the technology and weaponry of the times. Since Fleming’s death in 1964, authorized sequels have been written by seven different authors ranging from the literary lion Kingsley Amis to the latest, novelist and screenwriter William Boyd.
7. Wuthering Heights
Emily Brontë’s only novel gets a follow-up as labyrinthine as the original in Nicola Thorne’s Return to Wuthering Heights. In it, Catherine’s nephew Hareton and daughter Cathy wed, only to have their passion disrupted by the arrival of Heathcliff’s secret son. Romantic (and melodramatic) troubles ensue.
8. The Boxcar Children
In 1924, Gertrude Chandler Warner wrote the first of 19 books about the Boxcar Children, a family of four orphans who fashion a home from an abandoned boxcar in the forest. When they are adopted by their grandfather, he moves the boxcar to his own property so that they can use it as a playhouse. There are now more than 150 books in the series, including two scheduled for publication next year. While the original books were set in the 1920s and '30s, the recent books are set in the present day.
9. The Foundation Series
Isaac Asimov wrote the Hugo Award-winning Foundation trilogy about the rise and fall of two empires, a thousand years apart. He later expanded it with four other titles and peripherally encompassed within it the Robot series and the Empire series. Following Asimov’s death in 1992, seven additional novels were written by other authors to expand the series, lengthening the time covered in the original series by more than 20,000 years.
10. The Catcher in the Rye
The Salinger Trust took a dim view of Swedish author Frederik Colting’s sequel to the famed novel of teenage angst. In 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye, a septuagenarian “Mr. C.” escapes from a nursing home to return to the Manhattan haunts of his youth. The book cannot be published in the United States or Canada until the copyright on The Catcher in the Rye has expired.
11. Flowers in the Attic
V.C. Andrews is best known for the 1979 Gothic horror novel Flowers in the Attic, wherein four young children are taken by their mother to their grandfather's mansion and hidden away in a bedroom with a passageway to the estate's sprawling attic. The book quickly gained standalone notoriety for an incestuous subplot, but was actually the first in the Dollanganger family saga, which included four additional books. While Andrews is credited as the author on all of them, she passed away in 1986 and the final book in the series, 1987's Garden of Shadows, was written by ghostwriter Andrew Neiderman from an outline Andrews left before her death. Neiderman would go on to write more than 80 books under Andrews's name.
A version of this story was originally published in 2013 and was updated in 2022.