In the second volume from Trollope's series of six 'Palliser' novels, we probe deep into the life of British politics. The story is told from the standpoint of a young Irish MP whose private and public affairs become entangled. Trollope's genius for making such matters exciting is displayed in full as he explores Phineas's political ambitions, his romantic attachments and the steep learning curve he has to climb in both. As usual in these novels, there is a large cast of delightful supporting characters, enlivened further by the author's rich sense of their comic possibilities. This talent for detail is combined with a magisterial overview which lifts the book above parochial politics, making it of interest to any reader interested in the study of personality and action.