An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris

 It is 1895 and French army officer Alfred Dreyfus has been exposed as a spy, found passing military secrets to the Germans. In a piece of cruel public theatre – the sort of flashy display the army has always quite fancied – he is stripped of his soldier’s uniform and his sword is broken in front of thousands…

The Sense Of An Ending by Julian Barnes

  Heavens to Betsy. They gave him the Booker Prize for this? Julian Barnes once wrote A History Of The World In Ten And A Half Chapters, which had scale and ambition. Brash, clever and show-offy, it did not even make the Booker shortlist. But by some extraordinary measure, The Sense Of An Ending was deemed ‘the best…

Colonel Sun by Robert Markham

 You can judge a book by a cover – just look at this one. You wouldn’t need any text to know it’s a James Bond novel. However, Robert Markham isn’t really Robert Markham at all. He’s Kingsley Amis, slumming it in 1968 as an Ian Fleming add-on after the latter put his cue in the rack. Anyway,…

The Austerity Olympics by Janie Hampton

 London 2012: in the run-up to the Olympic Games the British public was convinced it was going to cost too much and be a complete disaster. Oddly enough, the mood before London 1948 was much the same, in a world emerging from war, with food still rationed and a bomb-scarred capital hosting an event designed to bring peace and…