Title: House of Cards
Author: Michael Dobbs
After binge watching Season 3 of House of Cards on Netflix on the weekend of its release on February 27th, I realized I should find the origin of such an ingenious storyline. Lo and behold, it originated in the United Kingdom based on the Parliament government and the Prime Minister! Now, what I know about the U.S. government I gleaned a tad from primary education, but the majority I’ve learned is from this show and Scandal. What I knew about the England’s government? That it is housed under Big Ben and Will and Kate are the ‘it’ couple.
Setting the inner-workings of specific government systems aside, this novel is quite devious and explores ruthless politics. Francis Urquhart is the Chief-Whip to the re-elected Prime Minister Henry Collingridge. The re-election was not a runaway as the PM would have liked. After being denied an assumed position in the Cabinet, Francis, wanting to make some changes (and to become Prime Minister himself), orchestrates elaborate schemes to filter out those he does not deem fit for government, with the help of Mattie Storin, the young political writer for the press. Greed and power are evident as well as not caring who/what is hurt in the process.
I am about more than halfway done the novel – as it is the first in the trilogy and I will likely finish out the series by the new year – and have been swept through several scenes of corruption and intrigue. Comparing to the Netflix series, there is some overlap, but I feel myself still feeling engaged with the story and wondering what twists and turns are going to be revealed next. Not having a context for the government system in London throws me off but the gist of hierarchy and influence assists with following along with the characters and dialogue. I’ll tell you one thing, stories like these make me think about what politics is really like!