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Head of State: A Novel (2014)

by Andrew Marr

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934224,466 (2.94)1
The first novel from Britain's most celebrated political commentator is a gleefully twisted take on what goes on behind the door of 10 Downing Street. It's September 2017, and the United Kingdom is on the verge of a crucial referendum that will determine, once and for all, if the country remains a member of the European Union, or goes its own way. The stakes could not possibly be higher, and the outcome is delicately balanced. But, unsuspected by the electorate, and unknown to all but a handful of members of the Prime Minister's innermost circle, there is a shocking secret at the very heart of government that, were it to become known, would change everything in an instant. A group of ruthlessly determined individuals will stop at nothing - including murder - to prevent that from happening. Andrew Marr's first novel is a darkly comic tale of deception and skulduggery in Downing Street and Whitehall. Making full use of his unrivalled inside knowledge of the British political scene, Marr has created a sparkling entertainment, a wholly original depiction of Westminster and its denizens, and a fascinating, irreverent glimpse behind the parliamentary curtain.… (more)
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Uninteresting; nothing here to motivate me to read further. Could not recommend. Did not finish. ( )
  ColinMcLean | Jun 20, 2020 |
I’ve enjoyed reading Andrew Marr’s accessible history books, & was looking forward to a political thriller by an insider. But this was out & out farce. An interesting idea about the PM keeling over before the referendum vote & a plan to cover-up the event, but the characters were two-dimensional, and I didn’t gain any insight into the inner workings of the political class. Shame. ( )
  LARA335 | Jul 31, 2019 |
I believe that this is Andrew Marr's first novel - I hope it will be his last! He should stick to non-fiction in future.

Marr is an enigmatic and engaging character, and he has been through some sinuous twists of fate over the last few years. Having had a long and successful character as a political journalist, including stints as editor of 'The Independent' and chief political correspondent for the BBC, he branched off into making his own television series and writing popular histories (though the last of these, a history of the world took simplicity and the broad brush to hitherto unplumbed levels), again with great success.

His recent BBC series on Scottish writers, timed to coincide with the Referendum was marvellous, particularly the episodes on Sir Walter Scott and Hugh MacDiarmid. His popularity and public image took a bit of a knock with the revelations of his extra-marital affair, though the outrage was more about the hypocrisy of a senior journalist imposing a super-injunction than from any moral perspective. Certainly there has been widespread pleasure at his return to health following his stroke, and he remains immensely, and deservedly, popular.

But now this! The most popular of entertainers must surely know that one can test one's public that little bit too far! I was expecting a political thriller on a par with Gavin Esler's 'A Scandalous Man' or Martin Sixsmith's 'Spin' but I was sold a dreadful dummy here. this was like looking forward to an episode of 'Have I Got New For You?' but finding that the guests are Glenda Jackson and Anne Robinson, and Stanley Johnson is chairing it. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Oct 1, 2014 |
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The first novel from Britain's most celebrated political commentator is a gleefully twisted take on what goes on behind the door of 10 Downing Street. It's September 2017, and the United Kingdom is on the verge of a crucial referendum that will determine, once and for all, if the country remains a member of the European Union, or goes its own way. The stakes could not possibly be higher, and the outcome is delicately balanced. But, unsuspected by the electorate, and unknown to all but a handful of members of the Prime Minister's innermost circle, there is a shocking secret at the very heart of government that, were it to become known, would change everything in an instant. A group of ruthlessly determined individuals will stop at nothing - including murder - to prevent that from happening. Andrew Marr's first novel is a darkly comic tale of deception and skulduggery in Downing Street and Whitehall. Making full use of his unrivalled inside knowledge of the British political scene, Marr has created a sparkling entertainment, a wholly original depiction of Westminster and its denizens, and a fascinating, irreverent glimpse behind the parliamentary curtain.

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