First a warning: Phineas Redux is the fourth of the Trollope's Palliser novels and, while the six novels in the series can otherwise be read independently, this is an exception, forming also the sequel to Phineas Finn. If you have not read Phineas Finn, then, you need to begin there, and you may also stop perusing this review, which will be found to contain spoilers by anyone who has not read the first in the pair.
I cannot claim to have read all of Trollope's forty-seven novels, but of those I have read, this has been the most exciting. Our hero Phineas, having lost his wife to childbirth, returns from Ireland to run in a fresh election. As soon as he sets foot in London, he is plunged in the maelstrom of electoral intrigue, ministerial rivalry, and party machination that makes parliamentary life. The Conservative leader, Mr Daubeny (i.e. Disraeli), has attempted to pull the rug under Liberal feet by entering a motion to disestablish the Church of England. Phineas, meanwhile, cannot stand the formation of a Liberal cabinet to be thwarted for too long, for he depends on the revenue a ministerial post promises to bring. But the second of the Phineas Finn novels, while it is as strong as the first in its depiction of parliamentary life, also ranges far wider. Murder accusations, a cliffhanger of a trial, vitriolic press scuffles all become intertwined with the political game. Phineas's impossible involvement with Laura Kennedy and the scandal caused by her bigoted husband also weave into the plot, and stand in between Phineas and the mysterious, beautiful, and wealthy socialite Madame Goesler. Phineas Redux is a complex novel with an extraordinarily rich plot, and it as full of suspense as it is verisimilar in its reconstruction of contemporary London life. I found it simply exhilarating.