"Marvellous, surprising, crystal-clear, amazing, stimulating, delightful, fascinating" — this is how our reviewer described Nonplussed!, a book published last year by by the same author.

In their new book John Bryant and Chris Sangwin explore the complex problems and challenges facing engineers and mathematicians now and through the ages.

I've read several of Paul Nahin's books before (see my review of Dr. Euler's fabulous formula in Plus) and this is no exception to his excellent style. The strategies of pursuit and evasion have fascinated mathematicians for centuries. One of the earliest problems was posed by Frenchman Pierre Bouger in 1732.

Mathematics is the language of science. Clear, simple, fundamental. Perhaps because of this purity, numbers can be the slaves of spin-doctors, politicians and an unscrupulous media.

I will tell you all about the book, but first I want to tell you what it felt like to read it. It felt like being back at the beginning of my adventure into mathematics. It felt like the first time the history, culture, and philosophy of maths were unfolded before me.