Michael Joseph, £20, pp432
Following his bestselling books on Greek mythology, Mythos and Heroes, Fry returns with an inimitable retelling of the siege of Troy. The pillars of the story are well known – the beauty of Helen, Aphrodite’s bribing of Paris, the wooden horse that brought down an empire – but Fry’s narrative, artfully humorous and rich in detail, breathes life and contemporary relevance into these ancient tales, revealing connections between myth and modern language, art and culture.
Coronet, £20, pp368
In a beautifully engrossing opening chapter, Norton introduces us to the inhabitants of a small Irish community whose lives are about to be shattered by a teenage car crash. Following the victims’ families and the survivors over the next three decades, we witness the repercussions of the tragedy – emotional, psychological and practical – as secrets threaten to reveal themselves. Norton’s third novel is a thoughtful examination of sexual identity, shame, and the impact of collective grief.
Penguin, £8.99, pp320 (paperback)
In a liberal Somerset school, a pair of gunmen open fire, taking staff and pupils captive. Lupton sets the clock ticking for the duration of the siege in a meticulously plotted novel set over the course of the three-hour ordeal. The cast list is compelling: young Syrian refugees, courageous teachers, desperate parents and terrified students. With great skill and sensitivity, Lupton explores themes of white supremacy and radicalisation in this emotionally devastating and beautifully observed literary thriller.