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First Among Equals

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  9,404 ratings  ·  207 reviews
Charles Seymour, second-born son, will never be the earl like his father, but he did inherit his mother's strength-and the will to realize his destiny....Simon Kerslake's father sacrificed everything to make sure his son's dreams come true. Now it is Simon's chance to rise as high as those dreams allow....Ray Gould was born to the back streets but raised with pride-a quali ...more
Paperback, 466 pages
Published 1993 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1983)
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Fortunately I love politics, as I worked in the Australian Federal and State political scene for a number of years, so this book grabbed me by the throat.

It is a great story and reveals how earlier actions by people in public life, no matter how covert, can rebound and have major consequences down the track – even 20 years later.

Archer also captures the fickleness of human nature, how ambition can undermine integrity and how personal jealousies can knock a good man down – no matter how good he i
Warning: Do not read this unless you are actually interested in politics!

First Among Equals is an epic saga which follows the lives (including scandals, wives and lies) of four British MP's. The book spans more than 20 years and would be nowhere near as good were it not for Archer's superb writing style.

Charles Seymoure is the ruthless second son of a wealthy Earl and will literally stop at nothing to make No.10 his home. Simon Kerslake is an ambitious "career Conservative" with a loving wife wh
Jayne Charles
I rather liked this slightly soapy tale of political life. Because Archer has been there and done it, the story has a certain authenticity, though I'm sure it has been greatly simplified. I thought the characters were well drawn, avoiding too much stereotyping. The only thing I didn't particularly like was the ending, and the convenient personality transplant of one of the main characters
Having been sure I'd read all of JAs books, I was surprised to find this one at a vacation house we rented on the Mediterannean. Well, they say to write what you know and Archer knows the British Parliament. I never would have cared to learn all the ins and outs but Jeffey makes learning fun! ;)
Sheetal Dash
'First Among Equals' is quite a different tale. Some of my friends told me that they found the initial part boring. Well, I didn't find that assessment to be true. This novel makes a very interesting reading, and like many other Archer novels, it picks up action as you reach 200-odd pages.
This is a tale of four aspiring gentlemen: Fraser, Gould, Kerslake and Seymour who enter the House of Commons in the 1960s, each aspiring to win the highest office - and to reach 10 Downing Street. But only one
It took me almost four months to finish this book. FOUR MONTHS! Even then, I skipped a couple of chapters near the end to finally finish it. Don't get me wrong. This book is actually pretty good. But politics? NOT my thing. So it was a mistake just to pick it up. Besides that, Archer's storytelling is top-notch, but the slow pace of this entire-career-of-four-different-men-documenting novel really grated on my nerves. I was skipping lots of pages at times, more interested in the personal lives o ...more
In this book, Archer gives the reader an insider's view of the parlimentary form of government. Four candiates each vying to become the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Canavasing votes, a coin toss, scrambling for coalitions to get the the required absolute majority, a minority party getting to play the king maker ..... like I said earlier, it shows most of the ins and outs of the parlimentary form of government. A well written political drama.

And a titbit, I read somewhere that different
Pick this book only if you are interested in politics and if you did pickup, You will find it boring in the start but keep reading, you will love the characters.
This one is quite different from the other archer's books that I have read. It gives inside information about how British parliament works.I liked all the four characters.It tells a lot about different personalities and how their decisions would shape their career.I find it hard to remember the characters in the start.It is lengthy but
Archer, Jeffrey “First Among Equals” Linden Press/Simon & Schuster; 1984

Being a fan of Mr. Archer I picked up this book at the annual Plano Book Sale along with some of his other books. However, this book was not only dull reading but it was lengthy and the characters vacillated between good and evil with the exception of Simon Kerslake. It was hard to follow the characters from one escapade to the next, one relationship to another. Both Charles Hampton and Raymond Gould round out the charac
I am sure many readers will find this very interesting. But personally I didn't like reading this. I didn't know anything about English Politics and didn't feel like doing much researching. One thing that annoyed me was the sudden change in POV. But its certainly good for those who like politics.
I have enjoyed most of Archer's books, finding them not only interesting but informative and entertaining. This is a clear exception. The book was tedious and boring with only momentary and fleeting episodes of interest or intrique. Overall, it was disappointing.
Wonderful if you want to learn about, or like British parliament. I read the abridged version (they leave a character out for the Americans I guess)but I'm looking forward to reading this version with the 4th man in it!
Krishna Kumar
Who gets to become the Prime Minister? This book tracks the professional and personal lives of four British politicians as they rise to various political positions and the office of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is within their reach. Apart from being a book I could not put down, it was also educational in the sense that I learnt a lot more about how the UK election process worked. Looking back, perhaps the book was similar to “The Prodigal Daughter” in that it resorted to unrealistic ...more
I had to read this for my European Politics course. It was a good novel, though nothing of substance. Though, it shows a lot about British parliament ins & outs.
Marton Mashby
I really loved this book ! it was the first book I head ever read by Jeffery Archer and I didnt know what to expect but now I can see why he has sold so many books !!

It is essentially about 4 men working their way through the political ranks in order to reach the top spot as PM and essentially this is what made me want to read it as I thought it would be interesting to learn the ins and outs of parliament. Quite quickly I became involved in the story line, routing for my favorites and determined
Fellow political enthusiasts awake! This is the book for you! I think it's the best I read in my life
A very good peek into British parliamentary democracy.

The 1960s witnessed four young ambitious men take up their oaths as Members of Parliament.

Over the course of thirty years, readers are shown the journey undertaken by these four men, how their paths cross and the external events that influence their position in the House of Commons. All four men have a large dream that they are willing to go all out for, but in the end only one man will be deemed fit for the coveted position of Prime Minist
Loved this one on the second read. Always good to revisit Archer
Sheetal Dash
Certainly one of the best books I have ever read. It is true that Jeffrey Archer gives us an example of the pure art of storytelling. But what I most admired - as in every other book of J. Archer - was his incomparable use of the language and the structure of an original story. A very good idea finds a very good way of embodiment. However, what went wrong? I found the book a rather slow page turner at some points, and it was a little difficult to come to the end. Perhaps because of its 450 pages ...more
Four may be pushing it, but the insight in to the UK political system and the requirement that the readers must figure out some things for themselves was enough for the push. I think this may be the first of this author I have read and will definitely give others of his books a try. I suppose I read the UK version as mine had four characters and will say again that I really enjoyed that not every little thing is spelled out step by step. The reader is expected to put a little effort into it and ...more
Scooping it Up
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Lisa (Harmonybites)
Feb 10, 2012 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Political Junkies of an Anglophile Tilt
I found this a completely absorbing read from the beginning. I'm not sure what a British reader would make of it, but as an American and admitted anglophile, I found it fascinating to get a look inside Britain's parliamentary system and politics by following four characters who aspire to be the "first among equals"--the Prime Minister. Archer himself was a member of parliament, so there's an authority and sympathy to his depiction of the wheeling and dealing and temptations of the office. The pr ...more

Charles Seymour, Simon Kerslake, Raymond Gould, and Andrew Fraser come from completely different backgrounds but they all have one goal in common -- to become prime minister of Great Britain after becoming members of parliament.

This puts fictional characters against real ones, and after doing a little searching, I found out that the US and UK versions are different. I guess I'm reading the UK, but I was thrown when it said Gary Hart won the election for president in 1988. I found out that t
This was nice long novel (as, I think, most of Archer's novels are) and I learned a great deal about the British Parliamentary system. If we think the USA's congressional system is comvoluted, I must say we don't hold a candle to the Houses of Commons and Lords--the frequency of formations of governments and calls for elections, the age-old rituals, etc. (I am not disparaging the system, I am just saying it's extremely convoluted--but it works, of course.) The four "heroes" aren't always heroic- ...more
This is a story about four very driven characters competing in the British political environment from 1964 - 1991, all aspiring to be Prime Minister one day:

Charles Seymour (Viscount)- an Eton/Oxford graduate born to money and banking - obviously a Tory (Conservative) but also an aristocratic, arrogant snob. Doesn't have much luck with wives, nor the board of his family business.

Simon Kerslake - another Conservative, but also a devoted family man who makes some risky investment choices in his pe
It happened for a first time indeed that I read a book again that I had left half way through in my tumultuous teens.

‘First Among Equals’ by Jeffrey Archer is not an easy book to read, at least for me. Revolving solely around British politics, I found it a wee bit hard to comprehend and know the exact difference between the Conservative (They are also known as Tories, they sometimes can act like snobs!!) and the Labour party (They are the socialists and support the trade unionists!!), though of
Jun 13, 2013 Siddhartha rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: politics lovers
I must say I loved everything about the book... the characters, the plot, the writing style, the end what not. I read one of the JA's books once and went for the sequel too which I found boring and from my friends' reviews, I kept away from his writings.
I came through this novel when I am completely bored and turns out it is one of the very few books the library here has. I instantly took a liking to it with every chapter, it tempted me to go for more.
I don't know if brilliant is quite the wor
Sistem pemerintahan parlementer di Inggris menjadi sedikit lebih jelas dibandingkan dalam studi komparatif ketatanegaraan. Karena Archer menjelaskannya secara terperinci, bagaimana seorang anggota Parlemen terpilih, bagaimana seorang pemimpin partai terpilih, apa yang disebut dengan "bangku belakang", pemerintahan yang jatuh-bangun bahkan hanya dalam beberapa bulan, sistem dua partai besar, dan lainnya.

Tentunya akan sedikit kebingungan untuk mengikuti cerita dari Archer. Meski tidak menggunakan
Thoroughly enjoyed this older novel (1984) that follows 3 men and their personal lives & careers in British politics. Archer served in Parliament himself and is able to vividly paint a picture of the ups & downs of those who are part of the British political process. His first chapter put a smile on my face as Archer obviously thought that by 1991 Charles would be on the throne! His interesting & twisty storyline in this book is vintage Archer & why I have liked every book I have ...more
An interesting book to read... Mr. Archer made me hate and love all the 4 lead characters at some point or the other. When i picked up this book i thought it might be just another boring book on politics. But this book was not just politics but a complete package of emotions, drama, loyalties and politics. The author never let my interest level drop.

I have to admit i was surprised by Charles's decision. Even though i hated him in the beginning, and did feel he deserved what he got but eventuall
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Jeffrey Howard Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare (born 15 April 1940) is an English author and former politician.

He was a Member of Parliament and deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, and became a life peer in 1992. His political career, having suffered several controversies, ended after a conviction for perverting the course of justice and his subsequent imprisonment. He is married
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