Paperbacks

Ian Fleming by Andrew Lycett (Phoenix, pounds 8.99) The perfect example of a second-rate subject resulting in a first-rate biography. Unsurprisingly, Fleming turns out to be a moody, snobbish, fantasist with a penchant for sadism: "All women love semi-rape." When his wife's pregnancy forced him to lay aside the whip, he channelled his energies into Casino Royal, the first volume of Bond.

The Hallelujah Revolution by Ian Cotton (Warner, pounds 7.99) Despite its intriguing subject - the boom in charismatic Christianity - this book is hard going. The reason for the profusion of references, one-word sentences and forest of exclamation marks is made plain on page 34, where there is a long quote from Tom Wolfe - a risky stylistic model. Cotton discovers much of interest: a cultist who depends on prayer for income; believers who insist they can cure illness by talking in tongues; a woman whose faith leads to bankruptcy.

Hannibal by Ross Leckie (Abacus, pounds 6.99) A superior sort of toga-saga in which the Punic generalissimo tells his own story. Free of awkward archaisms, Leckie's vivid style is enthralling, particularly in the childhood section. The politics of Hannibal's makeshift alliances, the corrosion of his humanity and the ghastly mechanics of war, are brilliantly described.

Madame Blavatsky's Baboon by Peter Washington (Secker, pounds 12.99) A spritely canter through the "western gurus" who emerged from the cult of theosophy and influenced artists from Yeats to Isherwood. Blavatsky was the first and oddest, a 17-stone chain-smoker who cobbled together theosophy from the novels of Bulwer-Lytton. The spiritual baton was taken up by the "self- pitying and egotistical" Krishnamurti, along with Rudolf Steiner and Gurdjieff. Though his book is packed with revelations, Washington does not judge the colourful figures who fill our religious vacuum.

No End of a Lesson by Anthony Nutting (Constable, pounds 9.95) Nutting's promising parliamentary career was brought to an abrupt halt when he resigned as Minister of State at the Foreign Office because of Britain's deceitful and ignominious role in the 1956 Suez crisis. His revealing account of this sad, bad business shows admirable objectivity. Occasionally, deep emotion breaks through Nutting's prose: "I hope I shall never know a sadder moment than the last quarter of an hour before I left the Foreign Office for good."

The Shrine by Cristina Odone (Phoenix pounds 5.99) Workmanlike, if cliched, first novel from the ex-editor of the Catholic Herald, set in an Italian village. The shrine in question is proposed by the local priest when a beautiful girl begins to see visions of the Virgin Mary. The rest of the plot centres on the fading fortunes of the Ferrati family: when the old patriarch dies, the son and daughter are forced to sell off the land to pay his debts. Various love affairs, dodgy deals and pasta recipes spice up the action, but the novel remains stronger on local colour than on theme or characterisation.

A Burmese Legacy by Sue Arnold (Sceptre, pounds 6.99) Although Sue Arnold had the most English of upbringings, both her grandmothers were Burmese. In her youth, she felt painfully ambivalent about her Eurasian heritage - which is unsurprising given the racism she encountered both at boarding school and as a young journalist. In 1985, she decided to rediscover her roots, and visited Rangoon in search of her relatives. The resulting memoir is chattily introspective, with fascinating insights into colonial history and a chilling account of the oppressive regime in present-day Burma.

The Drowning Room by Michael Pye (Penguin pounds 6.99) While researching a history of New York, Michael Pye found the name Gretje Reyniers coming up again and again in the law court reports of New Amsterdam, the 17th- century Dutch settlement on Manhattan. He was intrigued by this abrasively litigious woman, who worked as a prostitute and money-lender, revelled in foul language, and used her broomstick to measure the members of visiting sailors. This compelling novel is an imaginative reconstruction of Gretje's life.

Arts and Entertainment
'The Great British Bake Off' showcases food at its most sumptuous
tvReview: Bread-making skills of the Bake Off hopefuls put to the test
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Cliff Richard performs at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam on 17 May 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Educating the East End returns to Channel 4 this autumn

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush

music
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Mark Crown, DJ Locksmith and Amir Amor of Rudimental performing on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park, Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Capaldi and Chris Addison star in political comedy The Thick of IT

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judy Murray said she

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014

edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.

Edinburgh
Arts and Entertainment
Seoul singer G-Dragon could lead the invasion as South Korea has its sights set on Western markets
music
Arts and Entertainment
Gary Lineker at the UK Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Bale as Batman in a scene from
film
Arts and Entertainment
Johhny Cash in 1969
musicDyess Colony, where singer grew up in Depression-era Arkansas, opens to the public
Arts and Entertainment
Army dreamers: Randy Couture, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren and Jason Statham
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off 2014 contestants
tvReview: It's not going to set the comedy world alight but it's a gentle evening watch
Arts and Entertainment
Umar Ahmed and Kiran Sonia Sawar in ‘My Name Is...’
Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
This year's Big Brother champion Helen Wood
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Full company in Ustinov's Studio's Bad Jews
Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Harari Guido photographed Kate Bush over the course of 11 years
Music
Arts and Entertainment
Reviews have not been good for Jonathan Liebesman’s take on the much loved eighties cartoon
Film

A The film has amassed an estimated $28.7 million in its opening weekend

Arts and Entertainment
Untwitterably yours: Singer Morrissey has said he doesn't have a twitter account
Music

A statement was published on his fansite, True To You, following release of new album

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
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.

    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
    eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

    eBay's enduring appeal

    The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

    'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
    Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

    Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

    Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
    Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

    Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

    After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
    Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

    Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

    After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
    Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

    Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

    Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
    7 best quadcopters and drones

    Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

    From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home