Paperbacks

Eden Renewed by Peter Levi (Papermac, pounds 12.00) Though much-quoted, John Milton remains a daunting Titan of literature. This admirably succinct biography makes Milton's work, including his Latin verse, accessible to the modern reader. The turbulent political milieu in which Milton became so deeply enmeshed is deftly conveyed. Levi delights in the disparities of the 17th century. The soaring cadences of Paradise Lost are set alongside a contemporary view of Milton as "a dead dog, a canker worm, a petty schoolboy scribbler."

The Hilt by Dick Francis (Michael Joseph, pounds 9.99) Alexander Kinloch, artist and self-styled weirdo, lives in a small bothy on a remote Scottish fellside. Unaccountably beaten up one day by a group of thuggish hill walkers, "Mad A" is plunged into a horsey mystery - one involving his uncle (the Earl of Kinloch), his stepfather (Ivan George Westerling, pillar of the Jockey Club) and the missing King Alfred Gold Cup. An old-fashioned yarn of mistaken identities and overnight sleepers. John Buchan meets the Racing Gazette.

Savages by Joe Kane (Pan, pounds 6.99) After all but drowning in his previous work, Running the Amazon, here Kane almost starves to death in the Ecuadorian jungle. Still, he fares better than a visiting bishop who was found skewered "by 17 palmwood spears, each 10 feet long". The indigenous Huaorani people turn out to be tough and resilient (if infuriating), but their survival is threatened by predatory oil companies. In this absorbing account, hilarious and heartbreaking by turns, there's no doubt who Kane regards as the real savages.

Infinity and the Mind by Rudy Rucker (Penguin, pounds 5.99) While many of the concepts tackled here are tantalising - such as the infinitely large "Hilbert's Hotel", which can be filled by a number known as "alef-one" - the non-mathematician will rapidly throw in the towel. Rucker tries to be the human face of mathematics, using cartoons and references to Chuck Berry to make his point, but the symbols win in the end.

Trampled Lilies by Lady Fortesque (Back Swan, pounds 6.99) The fragrant author (1888-1951), who enjoyed posthumous success with Perfume from Provence proved no shrinking violet when the tide of war swept through her adopted homeland. Despite doubts ("the rot of Communism had tainted the army of the South"), she briskly organised billets until forced to flee. After a thrilling drive to Brittany, Lady F plus beloved spaniel caught the last boat home. Back in England, a chance overhearing raised her spirits: "I can't get that Lady Fortesque off me 'eart. 'Ow, I do 'ope she's orlright." With four titles now in print, the answer is yes.

Onitsha by J M G Le Clezio (Bison Books, pounds 13.99) Separated by the outbreak of war in Europe, Fintan has never met his English father. When finally he and his Italian mother receive word to join him in Nigeria, they've almost made themselves sick with imaginings of their future home. But nothing can prepare them for Onitsha - a place of red ravines, silky rivers and hot winds. Every bit as readable as Joyce Carey and William Boyd when it comes to colonial types, Le Clezio also manages to pull off the mystery of Africa without getting too French about it. This beautifully written book gets as close to the heart of darkness as poetically possible.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Arts and Entertainment
James singer Tim Booth
latitude 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Lee says: 'I never, ever set out to offend, but it can be an accidental by-product'
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe judges were wowed by the actress' individual cooking style
Arts and Entertainment
Nicholas says that he still feels lucky to be able to do what he loves, but that there is much about being in a band he hates
musicThere is much about being in a band that he hates, but his debut album is suffused with regret
Arts and Entertainment
The singer, who herself is openly bisexual, praised the 19-year-old sportsman before launching into a tirade about the upcoming Winter Olympics

books
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher in the eleventh season of Two and a Half Men

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

film
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman as Doctor Who and Clara behind the scenes

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cheery but half-baked canine caper: 'Pudsey the dog: The movie'

film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
    Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

    Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

    They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
    The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

    20 best days out for the summer holidays

    From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
    Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

    All the wood’s a stage

    Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
    Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

    Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

    Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
    Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

    Self-preservation society

    Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
    Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

    Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

    We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor