Phineas at Bay

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Phineas at BaySet in 1890s England, Phineas at Bay picks up where Anthony Trollope’s Palliser series left off: now two decades after the unconventional marriage of Phineas Finn, an Irish Catholic, to the Viennese Jewish widow Marie “Madame Max” Goesler.

Phineas has become an almost entirely independent member of Parliament, nominally belonging to the Liberal Party. But his independence has come at a cost. Having made no political gains, his own party no longer takes him seriously. But an awakening of his political and social conscience leads him to revitalize his political activism and become involved in the newly forming Labor Party.

Meanwhile the rivalry between Socialist Jack Chiltern and the newest member of Parliament, Savrola Vavasor, the two suitors of Phineas’s orphaned niece, Clarissa Riley, draws Phineas into becoming the maître d’arms at a violent duel.

And alongside all the other action, the beautiful Lady Elizabeth Eustace adds to the drama with her shady past and her entanglements with Jack and her ex-husband, a clergyman with a dark reputation of his own.

Scholar and lawyer John F. Wirenius sets the Victorian-era author’s pointed satire loose on today’s political and social excesses, creating a novel that can be read alone or in conjunction with Trollope’s novels.

“In writing “Phineas at Bay”, John Wirenius has done the Trollope-loving world a great service. Phineas Finn was my first Trollope novel, at age 19 or 20, and ever since I think of him as the most charming character in English fiction. Now we have the chance to renew the acquaintance with Phineas later in life, and all of his world, in a novel Trollope himself would have thoroughly enjoyed: meaty, filled with humor, affection, drama, and above all, character – Trollope’s greatest genius and gift to the reading world. Read it at once, and, like all Trollope, again and again.”
 – Randolph Williams, President, the American Trollope Society

About the Author

John F. Wirenius studied English literature and political science at Fordham University, graduating as valedictorian with a BA in English in 1987. He went on to study law at Columbia University as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, gaining his JD degree in 1990. He has served as an assistant corporation counsel in the New York City Law Department as well as an associate counsel for New York State United Teachers. He has also served as lead counsel on more than fifty criminal cases and tried obscenity and other freedom-of-speech cases. In addition to numerous scholarly articles, he authored the book First Amendment, First Principles: Verbal Acts and Freedom of Speech.

Wirenius’s debut novel, Phineas at Bay, follows up on the Palliser novels by Anthony Trollope, creating a Victorian-era story that resonates with modern readers using satirical commentary to illuminate today’s political and social excesses.


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