Competition published on August 4, 2017.
The UK referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU was a political showdown the British PM, Jeremy Hartley, thought he couldn’t lose. But the next morning both he and the whole of the rest of the country woke in a state of shock.
America meanwhile has its own unlikely Presidential candidate, the brash showman Ronald Craig, a man that nobody thought could possibly gain office. Throw into the mix the cunning Russian President Igor Popov, with his plans to destabilise the west, and you have a brilliant alternative account of the events that end with Britain’s new PM attempting to seek her own mandate to deal with the Brexit related crisis and America welcoming its own new leader.
Spring 2016 to June 2017 was a time of seismic and unexpected political upheaval on both sides of the Atlantic. Who were the real actors in those events? Who was really behind them? And if we don’t know already, shouldn’t we be told?
No one is better placed to write an of-the-moment satirical thriller than Stanley Johnson, former MEP (Member of the European Parliament), a passionate environmentalist and an author with a clutch of thrillers under his belt. He is also father of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, though he maintains that any resemblance the characters in Kompromat may have to real-life politicians is entirely coincidental.
*We have a copy of Kompromat to give away – scroll down for your chance to win*
Our Real Readers were huge fans of this book:
This is a clever book with humour and character traits of some of todays politicians. Johnson has taken the issues surrounding Brexit and the UK Referendum, creating a good story line of political attitudes and thrown in a deal of skulduggery, which may have some truth in it! It is not often a book makes me laugh but this one did and gasp at times as the story progressed. Refreshing and made me think about backroom deals and the “spoils” of “war”. Easy to read and interesting.
Bev Allport, 4*
Although this is a work of fiction it is a very thought provoking book & I am sure that you will find yourself discussing it with your friends if you read it. Also do not be put off by the fact that this is about politics, it is an easy read & it is also enjoyable & laugh out loud funny. A fictional account yes, but maybe not all that fanciful?
Sara Boorman, 4*
Johnson has a very clear idea of how the world works – the public face and the reality behind it. He is well capable of presenting both together and then skewering various public people – no this is fiction, his characters – with well timed asides. It would be very funny, if it wasn’t perhaps so close to reality as to be serious. If you need to question what of the written is true and what is not, then surely the underlying issue is the need to be aware of what is true in the first place. Do you really want to look that closely? But the novel draws you on into the deeper and deeper intricacies of politics and people. Thereby creating a salutary history lesson – or not! The “light” presentation means this is likely to appeal to a broader range of book groups than “real” history (whatever that is). But for all cynics out there, read and enjoy.
Hilary White, 4*
This really is one of the best books I have read this year. It is an exciting political thriller and its quite brilliant satirical explorations really do hold up a mirror to the unpredictable and volatile nature of contemporary politics. There were lots of laugh-out-loud moments throughout (who would have thought that Brexit could have a funny side!) but it is also all too chillingly credible. I admired and enjoyed the author’s immediately engaging writing-style which I think is due in part to his considerable ability to create strong voices for each of his characters and to his ear for convincing dialogue, but also to his journalistic discipline. His pacing of the developing plots was excellent, so there was never a moment when I felt I wanted things to move along more quickly. I have not come across any of his earlier thrillers but, if they are as good as this one, then I’m keen to seek them out.
Linda Hepworth, 5*
Great for anyone interested in world politics especially and if not cynical before you will be after reading this skilfully written book. The writer covers the whole gamut of political life. The wrangling, the financial implications of staying or leaving, the dodgy dossier, weapons of mass destructions, subterfuge, attempted assassination, infidelity, fake news and of course the immigration problem. All caricatured and held up in this book for the enjoyment of readers. Regardless of readers’ views on Brexit many will find they are mirrored in this clever and entertaining book. There are metaphors that are uncomfortably close to the truth. So close one if truth is stranger than fiction where does one draw the line? If I was to summarise the theme of this book it might well be ‘trust no one’!
Sheila Grant, 5*
One of the fun aspects of this book is playing guess who. Igor Popov is obviously Vladimir Putin, Ronald Craig is Trump, while Mabel Hillick is Theresa May. There’s a character based on Cameron, a Rupert Murdoch, a Hillary Clinton, and yes, a surprisingly small part for the “ebullient and charismatic” former Mayor of London, Harry Stokes. You might assume that such a large globetrotting cast might make the novel unwieldy or a mess of competing narratives, but not a bit of it. This is a novel that trots along at quite a pace. The author does an admirably good job of joining all the threads and at no point does the novel meander or the plot get lost. As befitting a satire it’s also a surprisingly light-hearted novel, not a mean feat considering the weighty topics that it addresses. There are twists and turns galore, with not a few surprises. There are also some laugh out loud moments. Despite all this, Stanley Johnson spins an all too plausible tale and while I’m not suggesting that he knows anything we don’t, one just has to watch the news after reading the book to know that some of what he portrays might just be on the mark.
James Pierson, 4*
This is a hugely entertaining and engrossing read, clever intriguing and instantly readable which grabs your attention and keeps you engaged from first to last page. Clever, intelligent and well-written with superb characterisations throughout, there is humour, often subtle and sometimes downright laugh out loud. The chicanery and skulduggery from all sides comes thick and fast. It’s a political satire, part spy story and thriller all in one.
John McCormick, 5*
I was borderline terrified when Kompromat began with a 5 page list of characters; in a possibly never to be repeated comparison between these two tomes, this is what’s always put me off reading War and Peace. But, when reading, it’s not that hard to keep track of who’s who, largely because of the obvious caricaturing; more difficult is keeping track of what’s fact and what’s fiction. Which is somewhat scary in itself. In conclusion: an easy and fun read with serious subject matter, Stanley Johnson offers an insight into the pettiness and power plays of politics, with some of the humorous inventions coming a little too close to the truth. Recommended for politicos, news hounds and fans of satire.
Katy Goodwin-Bates, 3*
The story rollicks along at a tremendous pace, just as the real events did (it’s hard to believe the referendum was only just over a year ago). Masses of characters, including much endearingly cheeky renaming of recognisable people, are listed in a Cast of Characters running to five pages at the beginning of the book but don’t let that put you off, names are accompanied by job titles most of the time so it’s not difficult to keep track. The major players are personally recognisable too – the Russian President’s penchant for hanging out in the forest, bare-chested and toting a hunting rifle, his competitiveness with fast cars and planes, the US Republican presidential candidate needs little description beyond hair and bling. Some great gags, one of which will stay with me forever.
Sue Broom, 4*
We have a copy of the book to give away – for your chance to win simply fill in the form below:
The Competition is closed.
About the author
Stanley Johnson is a former politician, environmental campaigner, journalist and author of twenty-five books including ten thrillers, one of which, The Commissioner, was made into a film starring John Hurt. Stanley won the Newdigate Prize for Poetry and has received awards from Greenpeace and the RSPCA. He was recently awarded the RSPB Medal and the WWF’s Leader of the Living Planet Award for services to conservation. He is an Ambassador for the United Nations Convention on Migratory Species and Hon. President of the Gorilla Organization. Stanley lives in London and Somerset.
Kompromat is currently in development with Noho for a six-part TV series.
Kompromat by Stanley Johnson, published on 13 July, 2017 by Point Blank, in hardback
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