Trollope’s Phineas Finn explores two grand subjects: politics and love. Our hero, Phineas, is the son of an Irish doctor. He trains as a lawyer, but yearns for a life in politics. And, surprisingly, an opening makes itself available and Phineas finds himself in Parliament at the age of 25. Trollope, knowledgeable in the ways politics is played, gives Phineas plenty of action with the various political factions. Intertwined in the political narrative, is Phineas’ love-life. There are several beautiful, appealing women in Phineas’ life: Lady Laura, who loves Phineas but marries the wealthy, but stoic Mr. Kennedy. There’s flighty but rich Violet Effingham, who men fight duels over. Then, there’s the mysterious and cunning widow Madame Goesler with her fabulous fortune. Phineas makes youthful mistakes and nearly comes to ruination, but Trollope has several cards up his sleeve to keep the plot twisting and turning until the final page. This is the second of the Palliser novels. I reviewed the first book in the series, Can You Forgive Her? a few weeks ago. Both books are rich in detail and subtle in substance. I was sorry to see this 700 page book end.