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Title: The House
Author: Tom Watson, Imogen Robertson
Published by Sphere on October 22, 2020
Genres: Political Thriller
Source: Pigeonhole Book Club
Format: arc, ebook
In their remarkable debut political thriller, Tom Watson, former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, and Imogen Robertson open the doors to The House, a place of ambition, hope, friendship . . . and betrayal.
Once allies, Labour MP Owen McKenna and Conservative Minister Philip Bickford now face each other across the House of Commons as bitter enemies. Then the reappearance of a figure from their past forces them to confront the choices that led to the tragic downfall of their former housemate, Jay.
Late one night, Owen receives a visit from a lobbyist who promises to protect him from the consequences of his actions in exchange for one, small favour – or to have his reputation and career utterly destroyed if he refuses. But that favour will sell out everything Owen believes in.
As rivals gather and whispers of wrongdoing fill the corridors of Westminster, it’s clear that someone knows the truth about Jay’s Icarus-like fall from grace. Now, the former friends must face one terrible truth…
Someone is responsible, and a reckoning is overdue.
I decided to read The House as I expected a story filled with political intrigue. Well, I got more politics than intrigue. Heavily laden with British politics, with the intrigue slowly developing as the story progressed, unreliable characters and an unsatisfactory ending, The House proved to be a less than exciting read.
The story has some good attributes. It provided a clear picture of the dirty side of politics. Blackmail, bullying and backstabbing all in the name of trying to make a name for oneself in the political arena. In this story the reader saw friendships being destroyed and it was a stark reminder that we cannot trust everyone who professes to be our friend. Most are looking out for themselves and would go to any lengths to achieve recognition, including destroying you, and then try to find justification for their actions.
The story told in two timelines 2008 and 2022 follows the lives of four roommates, Phillip, Owen, Georgina and Jay. All have political aspirations; however, tragedy struck and will forever change the lives of these four friends. Fast forward to 2022, with everyone still wearing masks, all the friends have achieved their dream, except for one whose life had been destroyed resulting from events which occurred in 2008. An investigation into the events of 2008 revealed a web of corruption, deceit, cover-ups, blackmail and a host of other nefarious activities.
The principal characters and most of the secondary characters proved to be an undesirable lot. Two of the principal characters redeemed themselves in the end, which provided me with hope that people can change even a disingenuous politician.
The story ended on a disappointing note. After ploughing through all the political quagmire to get to the truth and to have such an ambiguous ending did not go down well with me.
This book did not deliver as I expected, but other readers may be of a different view from me. So, if you are big on politics and like seeing how things in that world develop amid the global pandemic, then you can get yourself a copy of The House.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: