Thursday, May 21, 2020

'House of Cards' by Michael Dobbs

21 May 2020

I’ve enjoyed reading ‘House of Cards’ – the 1989 novel by Michael Dobbs which led to acclaimed television adaptations on both sides of the Atlantic. I was familiar with the story of Francis Urquhart’s ruthless pursuit of power from the 1990 BBC TV series starring Ian Richardson, but it was good to rediscover this manipulative anti-hero after so many years. The novel, despite having been revised by the author to adopt the alternative ending used in the TV version, feels incredibly dated. Newspaper reporters at the Party Conference have to queue for a free telephone box to phone in their stories and the idea of looking up anything online is still some years away. The plot seems a bit predictable now, and the political skulduggery feels tame compared both to more recent fiction such as ‘The Thick of It’ and to the real political events of the last few years. Nevertheless Francis Urquhart is a great charmingly evil character and the novel is great fun.



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