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When you open up, who will you let in? When Alex Morris loses her fiance in dreadful circumstances, she moves from London to Edinburgh to make a break with the past. Alex takes a job at a Pupil Referral Unit, which accepts the students excluded from other schools in the city. These are troubled, difficult kids and Alex is terrified of what she's taken on. There is one class - a group of five teenagers - who intimidate Alex and every other teacher on The Unit. But with the help of the Greek tragedies she teaches, Alex gradually develops a rapport with them. Finding them enthralled by tales of cruel fate and bloody revenge, Alex even begins to worry that they are taking her lessons to heart, and that a whole new tragedy is being performed, right in front of her. The Amber Fury is a beautifully constructed psychological page-turner. It is a dark mystery of a novel about loss, obsession, and the deep, abiding human need to connect.
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It's time for us to re-examine the past. Our lives are infinitely richer if we take the time to look at what the Greeks and Romans have given us in politics and law, religion and philosophy and education, and to learn how people really lived in Athens, Rome, Sparta and Alexandria. This is a book with a serious point to make but the author isn't simply a classicist but a comedian and broadcaster who has made television and radio documentaries about humour, education and Dorothy Parker. This is a book for us all.
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In The Children of Jocasta, Natalie Haynes takes a fresh perspective on an ancient story, reimagining in gripping prose how the Oedipus and Antigone stories would look if the oft-overlooked female characters took centre stage. Retelling the myth to reveal a new side of an ancient story . . .