The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Unless you have been living in a dystopia of your own making, you must know that Atwood has written a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale and that it has been short-listed for the Booker Prize, with only the judges allowed to read it. What you may not know is that The Testaments takes up 15 years after the end of the first book and, according to Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times, Offred (played by Elisabeth Moss in the wildly successful TV series) is now an enemy of the state targeted for assassination. Come September 10, you too can learn what made one of the Booker judges call the story “terrifying and exhilarating.”

White Hot Silence by Henry Porter

Nine out of ten journalists who write thrillers on the side should stick to their day job, but among the few who do it superbly is Henry Porter. His latest novel, the second in his Paul Samson series (the first in the series, Firefly, was published in 2018), begins with the kidnapping of Anastasia Cristakos. Denis Hisam, her billionaire husband, who was once a Kurdish guerrilla, has no choice but to seek help from Paul Samson, a former M.I.6 man and Anastasia’s love interest in Firefly. Porter, who for many years served as the London editor of Vanity Fair, is a whiz at both character and plot, and White Hot Silence can enthrall even those who have not yet read its predecessor. As the Financial Times put it, “Thriller writing at its best.”

Quichotte by Salman Rushdie

Another novel short-listed for the Booker Prize is Rushdie’s latest, described as a “Don Quixote for the modern age.” That is all the encouragement we need to follow Quichotte, a laid-off salesman from India who searches for love in America. His saga is the invention of yet another Indian who has his own impossible dreams, in a work that Time has called “a brilliant, funny, world-encompassing wonder.”

Jim Kelly is the Books Editor for AIR MAIL