Arts and Entertainment

A boy enters a palace of a hundred rooms where an assassin may lurk behind every door and shadowy figures are reflected in a Hall of Mirrors.  An astonishing treasure lies at its heart, but powerful enemies are at the gates.

Theatre / THE STEWARD OF CHRISTENDOM - Royal Court, London

Sebastian Barry wrote The Steward of Christendom as a way of discovering and coming to terms with his great-grandfather, Thomas Dunne - the last Catholic head of the Dublin Metropolitan Police before Irish Independence in 1922, a loyal servant of the British and hence not, as Barry writes in the programme, a comfortable ancestor.

Your heritage, by post

The middle-classes want aristocratic style. The aristocrats want middle-class money. Thanks to mail order, business can be conducted at a discreet distance. By Serena Mackesy

BOOKS: BONNIE BOOKS

It can hardly have escaped your attention that the place to be right now, books-wise, is north of the border. The Edinburgh Book Festival comes to an end on Monday, just as an even more alluring event hoves into view. The Atholl Festival ("A Jacobite Pageant") begins on Saturday 2 Sept, catering for the spiritual, physical and intellectual sides of its punters with a vigour few other culture-fests can match.

how to be an extra

Sydney Gilman turns around in his stall seat in the Palace Theatre, Manchester, and looks blank for a moment. "What do you mean by extras?" he asks. "We're Cavalcaders."

Into the monkey's jaws

Firdaus Kanga on a magic realist blockbuster; Red Earth and Pouring Rain by Vikram Chandra Faber, pounds 15.99

Gingrichism of the week. 2

Newt Gingrich, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, tells the National League of Cities how public shame might be employed to tackle America's social problems:

Maori rage wrecks NZ treaty celebrations

Radical Maoris, angry about a government plan for the final settlement of their land claims that they regard as a trick, yesterday wrecked New Zealand's national-day celebrations at Waitangi, in the Bay of Islands, with violent protests. The Prime Minister, Jim Bolger, called off the ceremonies, in which he and other ministers were to have paid tribute to Maori-European co-operation, after police said they could not guarantee his safety.

BOOKS / Artists of the Lives: This extract from a new book considers 'The Future of Political Biography' in an anti-heroic age, and argues for nothing less than a literary revolution

WHAT IS WRONG with British political biography? The obvious answer is very little. 'Read no history, nothing but biography', wrote Disraeli, 'for that is life without theory.' In a nation traditionally suspicious of theory, many people seem to agree. Since the 1970s there has been a remarkable outpouring of 20th-century British biography - characterised by close attention to unpublished papers, the more or less systematic use of interview and a large number of reference notes.

Bottom line: Wates for the bulls

WATES City of London should be commended on still being around, unlike other City specialists, even to think about the next property cycle.

Woman savaged by zoo chimp 'not angry'

(First Edition)

Leading Article: Ordinary enough for humility

WAS Winston Churchill a racist? Is Britain, as the Archbishop of Canterbury seems to have said, 'an ordinary little nation'? These questions bobbed up last week in the wake of a Spectator article on Churchill by Andrew Roberts, and a snippet from an interview with Dr Carey in the uncorrected proofs of a book. They are interesting questions, even if the obvious answer to both of them is yes. To take one of several examples of Churchill's quoted views, Indians were the 'beastliest people in the world, next to the Germans' - difficult to argue from that that he took people as he found them, despite race, colour or creed. And while 'ordinariness' is a more difficult term to quantify, Britain is certainly more ordinary now than in its extraordinary imperial heyday.

Stockings sold

Apair of Queen Victoria's black silk stockings sold for pounds 1,127 at Sotheby's in London. The buyer was Alan East, a Staffordshire publican who intends to display them in his bar.

Landseer stag scene sets price record

IN 1888, Christie's sold Sir Edwin Landseer's Scene in Braemar - Highland Deer for 4,950 guineas; yesterday, Christie's sold it for pounds 793,500, writes Dalya Alberge.

Who cares about 1.2 million irate Scots?

HERE IS a story about culture and pride and democracy, about local government and the state, about money and muck. Here, first of all, is a story about water.

Letter: Duchess in limbo

Sir: So, the export of the marble effigy of the Duchess of Nemours, much-loved cousin of Queen Victoria, is to be blocked and may end up in a British museum (Diary, 17 March). This is hardly cause for celebration.
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