Saturday, February 18, 2006

My Top Ten Political Novels

Paul Linford has posted his Top Ten Political Books. So always being one to jump on a bandwagon (!) I thought I'd follow his lead, but give you my Top Ten Political Novels instead. My definition of a political novel might be different to some people's, but you will gather from this list that I enjoy a plot which centres around Parliament. I started to write a political novel myself a few years ago (which unbelievably featured Charles Kennedy as Foreign Secretary oin a Tory led coalition!) but only wrote one chapter. I came across it again the other day on an old computer and it read rather well. Maybe I should have another go!

1 Second Term by Simon Walters
A ripping yarn about a Labour Prime Minister trying to get a second term in office. I published this book at Politico's even though we didn't normally do fiction. Several of the fictional pieces then turned into reality. Strange but true. Buy it HERE.

2 Aachen Memorandum by Andrew Roberts
A little noticed novel by historian Andrew Roberts. Centres around the implosion of the EU in 2045. Absolutely gripping. Now sadly out of print.

3 A Very British Coup by Chris Mullin
Left wing firebrand Harry Perkins becomes PM but doesn't reckon on the opposition of the security services. Subsequently a brilliant Channel 4 drama. Buy it HERE.

4 House of Cards by Michael Dobbs
The first of the trilogy, featuring the cunning chief whip Francis Urquhart and his memorable phrase, "you might say that, I couldn't possibly comment". Buy it HERE.

5 Line of Beauty - Alan Hollinghurst
Set in the latter Thatcher era it centres around the life of a coke snorting, gay sex addict who actually gets to meet Mrs T. Won the Booker Prize and is about to become a BBC2 drama. Buy it HERE.

6 Winston's War - Michael Dobbs
First of the tetrology of novels with Winston Churchill as the main character. Dobbs has started a new genre in historical fiction which works surprisingly well. Buy it HERE.

7 51st State - Peter Preston
Former Guardian editor imagine how Britain might become a 51st State of the United States. Far fetched but somehow he makes it seem just that little bit feasible.

8 Black Book - Sara Keays
Cecil Parkinson's former amour writes a salacious novel about the Black Book in which whips record the transgressions of their fellow MPs.

9 A Parliamentary Affair - Edwina Currie
Edwina's novels are highly readble and enjoyable, with a fair degree of bonking thrown in, it has to be said. This and its sequel, A Woman's Place are undoubtedly the best.

10 Palace of Enchantments - Douglas Hurd
Hurd's best novels were written in the 1960s and 1970s and have all been recently re-released. This one features a junior Foreign office minister who is desperatre to become Foreign Secretary. Buy it HERE.

Do post your own favourites in the Comments section.


Iain Dale said...

Bizarrely, I hated Primary Colours. I didn't even finish it. Good film though.

Anonymous said...

No room for Primary Colors? Not Parliamnetary, I know, but an enjoyable romp nonetheless. Although I didn't think The Running Mate was quite as good.

Anonymous said...

In the guilty pleasures section of political books why no Frederick Forsyth? Surely "The Fourth Protocol" could creep in? And if we're on political thrillers how about the American "Term Limits" by Vince Flynn (check it out on Amazon, a great beach read)? Come to think of it, I loved Archer's "First Among Equals" too...

Anonymous said...

I think you're wrong on Primary Colors but oh well... I recommend Christopher Brookmyre's Boiling a Frog - very angry about politics, politicians, the church but once you get past that very funny. A bit Scottish perhaps.
Surprised you didn't find space for Boris Johnson's 72 Virgins. Well worth a place in anybody's bookshelf

Paul Linford said...

A Very British Coup would be a very clear No 1 for me. The Walters book is so closely based on real life as to scarcely justify the term "novel." I would classify it as a typically mischievous piece of journalism by the great man masquerading as fiction!

Anonymous said...

Going back a bit, C.P. Snow's "Corridors of Power" is still a tremendous read - political and Whitehall intregue, plus a sex scandal thrown in.

Unknown said...

The only Douglas Hurd novel I've read was Scoth On The Rocks, which was about the rumblings of discontent in Scotland pre-devolution. I thought it was excellent, and might tuck into some more Hurd (to coin a phrase).

Another novel I'd recmooend is Max Davidson's "Well Done, beef Wellington". It is about a political reporter and his casual relationship with the Establishment.