Arts and Entertainment

Adam Foulds’s last novel, The Quickening Maze, was a truly superb study in madness and early psychiatric methods, combining the intellectual and the visceral in often startling ways (few will forget his description of the “dismantling” of a deer). In this latest work, he retains that powerful blend and focuses on another kind of madness: the madness of war.

Inspector Montalbano, BBC4, Saturday
How to Grow a Planet, BBC2, Tuesday

Who would want to fill the 'Borgen' slot on BBC4? Sadly, mouth-watering views of Sicily and oodles of pasta do not a detective drama make

Benedict XVI: The Archbishop of Palermo Paolo Romeo is quoted as saying the Pontiff would die within 12 months

Vatican in turmoil after letter 'reveals plot to assassinate Pope'

Sensational claims of a plot to assassinate Pope Benedict XVI have whipped Italy into a frenzy and focused the world's attention on the poisonous atmosphere seeping through the corridors of the Holy See.

Wine: Something for the weekend

Couch potato

Upwardly mobile: Snowshoeing across the slopes of Etna

Fire and ice: Strap on your snow shoes and explore Mount Etna

There is one vital ingredient to every snowshoeing trip. And that's snow. Pulling back the curtains of my hotel room window, I gazed out at the sheer slopes of Mount Etna. There wasn't a flake to be seen. Did Luca, my guide, have some bad news? "Don't worry," he said, while loading our snowshoes into the van.

Big smoke: Mount Etna rumbles in the distance

48 Hours: Catania

Even in winter, this Sicilian city charms with colourful festivities, delicious food and dramatic scenery, says Duncan Garwood.

Accabadora, By Michela Murgia, trans. Silvester Mazzarella

Michela Murgia's novel has been an immense success in Italy, where it has won six literary prizes. Accabadora is a Sardinian term for an angel of mercy who tends the chronically sick and dying, acting as a kind of midwife with eternity in view. The accabadora here is Bonaria Urrai, a seamstress unable to have children. Bonaria adopts the six-year-old Maria Listru, whose widowed mother Anna Teresa can no longer afford to raise her. Maria thus becomes a fill'e anima, a soul-child, the fruit of Anna Teresa's womb and Bonaria's loving spirit.

Wine: Something for the weekend

Under £6

Appetite for lower-fat ice cream feeds high-street 'gelato' boom

When is an ice cream not an ice cream? When it's a "gelato".

Sicily's new oil boom threatens marine life, campaigners warn

Pristine and fragile stretches of the Sicilian coastline are under threat from the rush to plunder the island's rich oil resources, environment campaigners warned yesterday.

Video: Mount Etna erupts

The latest eruption on Mount Etna sent flames hundreds of metres into the air at the weekend.

Chelsea target Javier Pastore wants Italy stay

Javier Pastore would rather remain in Italy than join a Premier League team if he decides to leave Palermo this summer.

Letters from London and Europe, By Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

The Prince of Lampedusa led an erratic life before, nearly 60, he began his ironic classic of 19th-century Sicily, The Leopard. Translated by JG Nichols, this selection of letters home during 1920s travels gathers much finely atmospheric writing.

Invisible Ink: No 83 - Alexander Baron

It's hard for frontline war writers to show an objective sensitivity to their subject matter while fighting for their country.

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Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain