When it comes to reading political novels I always 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!
But seriously, when was the last time you read a political novel with a vaguely Westminster based plot? Line of Beauty was probably the last, and that was only loosely based on Westminster politics. Publishers won't go near political novels at the moment. I've debated with my colleagues whether Biteback should enter this market, and maybe we will later in 2010. But political fiction is a market where you can easily get your fingers burnt. The difficulty is persuading the likes of Waterstone's and W H Smith that they can sell.
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. Buy it HERE.
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 became 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. Buy it HERE.
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. Buy it HERE.
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. Buy it HERE.
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.