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MRS OSMOND BY JOHN BANVILLE, VIKING, PS14.99 (EBOOK PS9.99) HHHH H THE 1881 novel The Portrait Of A Lady by Henry James ends after Isabel Osmond finds out her husband has betrayed her and her close friend Madame Merle, his erstwhile lover, is her step-daughter's mother.

And now, John Banville, the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea, has taken up this unfinished tale and provided us with an absorbing sequel.

Having defied her husband and returned to England from Rome to be at her cousin's deathbed, Isabel is struggling to come to terms with what has happened. Through encounters with old friends and acquaintances, we discover Isabel has a plan for a reckoning.

Banville brings all the characters from the first novel newly to life, and Isabel's relationship with her maid Staines is particularly fascinating through our 21st-century eyes.

ROAD BY JOHN SWEENEY, THOMAS & MERCER, PS8.99 HHH HH ROAD is BBC the latest novel from investigative reporter John Sweeney. It is the follow-up to his debut thriller Cold, featuring ex-IRA bombmaker Joe Tiplady, this time set in Syria, against the backdrop of an imminent US election.

Reeling from the loss of Russian beauty Katya, Joe travels to a futuristic Bond-like lair in the Californian desert, where he meets the enigmatic Dr Dominic Franklyn and promises to bring his son Ham home from Syria, where it appears he's been taken by his radicalised wife Jameela. Joe finds himself imprisoned alongside ISIS bombmaker Timur, who has intel about a North Korean 'gift' of chemical weapons.

Sweeney's first-hand experience of reporting on Trump, Putin, North Korea and the refugee crisis makes this an extremely compelling, timely and brutal read - it is particularly eye-opening on ISIS children's suicide vest makers and 'managed savagery' - even if you're not always quite sure which direction it's taking.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Oct 14, 2017
Words:304
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