Sunday, June 6, 2010

First Among Equals by Jeffrey Archer

Title: First Among Equals

Author: Jeffrey Archer

Genre: Fiction

First Published: 1984, 466 pages

Challenge: N/A

From the Cover
In the 1960s four ambitious new MPs take their seats at Westminster. Over three decades they share the turbulent passions of the race for power with their wives and families, men and women caught up in a dramatic game for the highest stakes of all. But only one man can gain the ultimate goal - the office of Prime Minister...

My Thoughts
When my son picked out this book for me (thanks to my ever-growing shelf of delicious books, I've become quite fickle in the reading selection process), I actually groaned and moaned and pleaded him to pick a different one. I'm not a big fan of politics and neither am I a big fan of Archer's, so his choice didn't exactly get my mood pumping with anticipation. I attempted to read it anyway and as soon as I was half-way through, news struck that UK had just faced it's first hung Parliament since 1974. I was ecstatic. Here I was reading a book that's far more suited for the political junkie, and lo and behold, fiction becomes reality. Suddenly I was the guru of UK politics to friends who didn't have a clue....sweet.

The book focuses on 4 main characters and the progression of their political career; Charles Seymour, the aristocrat  who naturally was a Tory; Raymond Gould, the intellect who spurred the Labour Party but has one too many skeletons in the closet; Simon Kerslake, the humble, hard-working Tory with financial issues; and Andrew Kerr, the Scottish family man who astonished his Tory-supporting father by joining the Labour Party. Of all the 4 men, I found Andrew to be the most appealing character; he was witty, charming, described as being quite handsome and his political journey touched a very raw spot in me.

Though the plot may be a little dry in parts, there is sufficient content for the reader to grasp the mechanism of the UK political scene, and enough twists & turns to keep one entertained. A recommended read if you enjoy heavy reading and would like to know more about UK politics.   

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