'First Among Equals' is a 1984 novel that follows the careers and personal lives of four British politicians (Simon Kerslake, MP for Coventry Central; Charles Seymour, MP for Sussex Downs; Raymond Gould, MP for Leeds North; and Andrew Fraser, MP for Edinburgh Carlton) from 1964 to 1991, each vying to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Several situations in the novel are drawn from the author's own early political career in the British House of Commons, and the fictional characters interact with actual British politicians of the day
When published in the United States, the novel was rewritten to eliminate the character of Andrew Fraser. The Fraser character eventually departs the Labour Party to join the breakaway Social Democratic Party.
According to Archer, the change was made because the publisher did not believe the American audience would understand a multi-party political system. As a result, several plot elements revolving around Andrew Fraser were transferred to other characters, notably Simon Kerslake, who suffered through a change of heart in marriage and the loss of a child in the US edition, while these events happened to Andrew Fraser in the UK edition.
The ending of the novel differed in the US version as well, with both the winner of the ultimate election and the manner in which the contest was decided changing from one version to the next.