Escape into the wild: Run to the Western Shore, by Tim Pears, reviewed

Quintus, an Ephesian slave, is in attendance on his master, Sextus Julius Frontinus, the Roman governor of Britain, when Cunicatus, the chief of one of many warring tribes in ‘this hideous island at the edge of the world’, seals a marriage alliance between Frontinus and his daughter, Olwen. She, however, rejects the match, escaping from the camp at dead of night and impulsively asking Quintus to accompany her. Despite having seen a recaptured fugitive in Gaul torn apart between four horses, he agrees to go. Tim Pears’s Run to the Western Shore follows the pair as they flee through south Wales, hotly pursued by Frontinus’s legionnaires. They encounter a host

Hitting the buffers: The Passenger, by Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz, reviewed

‘They’ll slowly undress us first and then kill us, so our clothes won’t get bloody and our banknotes won’t get damaged.’ These words, spoken by Otto Silbermann in Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz’s The Passenger, are startling. Not because they so perfectly articulate the obscene ethos of Auschwitz but because they were written several years before the fact. Composed in 1938, after its author had escaped the more murderous developments of Hitler’s regime, The Passenger is a tense, nightmarish account of one Jewish man’s attempt to survive in a country that is systematically stripping him of his right to exist. Initially blind to the dangers around him, Silbermann, a respectable businessman, suddenly