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To Play the King (Francis Urquhart #2)
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To Play the King (Francis Urquhart #2)

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  485 ratings  ·  39 reviews
After scheming his way to power, newly elected Prime Minister Francis Urquhart faces a crisis that could destroy his Government. But as he plots the drastic measures needed to save his political future he finds one determined man standing in the way - the idealistic new King. Urquhart will stop at nothing to cling to power. As he prepares to expose the scandalous activitie ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 315 pages
Published 1993 by HarperCollins (first published 1992)
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Heavy Duty People by Iain ParkeHeavy Duty Attitude by Iain ParkeHeavy Duty Trouble by Iain ParkeHouse of Cards by Michael DobbsTo Play the King by Michael Dobbs
Machiavellian books
5th out of 6 books — 3 voters
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre DumasLord Peter by Dorothy L. SayersLittle Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson BurnettSir Gawain and the Green Knight by Unknown
Lords, Dukes, Earls and Sirs In The Title
47th out of 228 books — 16 voters

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Community Reviews

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Dobbs follows through with the second in the trilogy, picking up the thread of the plot where it left off in HOUSE OF CARDS. This new book (with its political action) moves the story away from the party leadership and into the aftermass that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat, especially for the political nut. The PM faces a fairly new Monarch who has ascended the throne, with little experience dealing with his role as constitutional monarch. Both the PM and HRH have their own ideas ...more
This is our second outing with Francis Urquhart (FU), who is now the newly elected Prime Minister, serving alongside a newly crowned King. In typical FU style, Francis already has his sites set on his next move, which is securing his position as Prime Minister by forcing a quick election to clean house. Unfortunately, the King and his views are getting in the way of this master plan. A fun novel revealing once again the deals made in politics and how easily it can be to make or break a career.
This was not a bad book I just happened to like the first one better. Urquhart and his personality really changed in this book and he kind of felt like a new character to me. In a House of Cards he loved his wife and made sure he stayed out of trouble so he could further his political career, but in To Play the King, he seemed bitter and he has changed. The plot idea is good but again not as good as the first book. The rivalry between Prime Minister and King is interesting and Dobbs does a good ...more
It took a turn. Where is my magnificent bastard? The strong (if not loving) relationship with his wife? (view spoiler)

Again, I can't help but compare it to the TV show that introduced me to the books in the first place. For this book it had to be different as a republic and constitutional monarchy aren't going to
Sean Randall
Again, a masterful performance. I did enjoy the way in which the first book ended and wouldn't have minded if the only change between titles was the final scene, but there clearly had to be some further change to some of the earlier story for continuity to be possible. I didn't quite enjoy this as much as the first, but I suppose my monarchistic views have been subsumed by recent titles by authors such as Ken Jack. The ending of this one also seemed slightly rushed, but at this point I suppose D ...more
Woefully written. A rare example of the adaptation being infinitely better than the source material. Francis Urquhart is a fantastic character trapped within terrible prose.

Prime Minister Francis Urqhart will stop at nothing in his bid to gain ultimate control over Great Britain. Now, he is threatening to expose some of the royal families most scandalous secrets if the king continues to stand in his way. The media explodes as the two men go head to head in their efforts to gain the upper hand. Stories of sexual escapades, economic fiascos and more flood TV, magazines, the internet and newspapers. It appears that Urqhart just may succeed in his attempt to overthrow
I was ready to write that I liked the first one better then I read the last five pages and I was literally blown away.

Francis Urquhart finally got what he wanted, he's Prime Minister and already planning for the future.
He doesn't want the King to put his mouth in politics matter, he doesn't want anyone to stand in his way to the greatness his role could give him.
It's like an endless game of chess between Francis and the King, move after move with so many collateral effects.

Francis isn't the
Francis Xavier
What a great twist! I enjoyed this book as much as the first, House of Cards. I actually came about these books after getting hooked on the Netflix adaptation. If you are a fan of the modern TV series than you should definitely pick up these books. I have not had the opportunity to watch the original British TV adaptation but plan to after reading the last book in the series.
A political thriller, To Play the King pits the Prime Minister of Britain, Francis Urquhart, against the King. The reader is familiar with Francis Urquhart, the main character, from Dobbs novel, House of Cards that was made into an award wining series on BBC TV in the 1990’s. Urquhart’s ambition seems unmatched as he tries to crush anyone in his path including the monarchy to cement his hold on power. Set against the backdrop of the House of Commons, Dobbs creates a world filled with ambition, j ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It's not often that I am left to say that I preferred the television adaptation of a book, but this is one of those times. I enjoyed reading this, and would encourage others to read it, but ultimately I find myself agreeing with the television series on the plot differences between them.
This political thriller picks up where the first book left off and is still focused on the Prime Minister (FU) while dragging the Royal Family into the shenanigans. The pace of the first half was a little slow for me but the second half more than made up for it.
Harold Crowder
Every bit as engaging as the first book, absolutely captivating, relentlessly holding your attention, and leaving you wanting more and unable to stop turning pages -- how's this gonna turn out?

The way Dobbs delivers is superb! Can't wait to start the final book of the trilogy!
Nov 08, 2014 Mauro rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: ebook
Stavolta il colpo di scena è stato un po' prevedibile, ma la storia merita comunque. Un protagonista estremamente carismatico e la capacità dell'autore di scrivere di politica e intrighi di palazzo, ne fanno un'altra ottima storia.
Dobbs story line and writing doesn't hold up much in the second book of the series. I have to admit that the tv show is much more compelling.
I liked this book better than the first one. It was a beautifully written book where it shows that one's schemes are never successful every-time. Amazing read.
Tommy Collison
Very good in an airport page-turner way, but also better because it's delightfully British in the way Dan Brown & Co. isn't.
Jane Wynne
Urquart is a dislikable character and sadly I daresay people like him exist in Parliament. The portrayal of the King, obviously based on Prince Charles, was interesting and his final twist of the knife made for a good ending.
Paul Servini
Didn't enjoy this quite as much as the first in the series.
Book 2 in the Frances Urquhart series.... I am not sure why I did not enjoy it as much as the first book. FU was just as evil and twisted. I am looking forward to Book 3.
The book seemed to drag in places but the twist at the end made up for it. Excellent book and well written.
læst som: bog 2 af trilogi
It seems that the author merely chose to up the ante with To Play the King, this time targeting the King rather than the PM. In this way the first half of the book feels nearly identical to the first book of the series. However, the second half of the book picks up at a lively pace, bringing up larger affairs like class warfare and the necessity of a constitutional monarchy in the UK, which Dobbs puts under a strong searchlight.

I'd give the plodding first half a 2, and the brisk second half a 4.
Clarisa Doval
Good, but not as much as the first one in the series. Characters were maybe less interesting, or maybe less developed.
Shrey Goyal
Michael Dobbs knows his stuff.
Matt Roberts
Dobbs' second installment of the Urquhart series left much to be desired. "To Play the King" is written in an entirely different fashion than "House of Cards." This book reads slowly, is drawn out, and is rather dry. Not a great sequel to the much beloved "House of Cards."
Ben Dummitt
Better than the first book, the second in the trilogy details what is essentially a feud between the king and the prime minister. It was an interesting power play although it had a bit of a cliffhanger ending and those aren't my favorite. Especially considering what happens in the third book.
A fun snarky political thriller that took up where the first book left off. It was so much to read about characters that you love to hate and hate to love. I enjoyed trying to determine who was putting the screws to who and for what purpose. I'm looking forward to book 3.
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Michael Dobbs was born on the same day, in the same hour as Prince Charles in 1948.

He is the son of nurseryman Eric and his wife Eileen Dobbs and was educated at Hertford Grammar School and Christ Church, Oxford University. After graduating in 1971 he moved to the United States.

In the USA he attended the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, which he
More about Michael Dobbs...

Other Books in the Series

Francis Urquhart (3 books)
  • House of Cards (Francis Urquhart, #1)
  • The Final Cut (Francis Urquhart #3)
House of Cards (Francis Urquhart, #1) Winston's War (Winston Churchill #1) Never Surrender (Winston Churchill, #2) The Final Cut (Francis Urquhart #3) Churchill's Triumph (Winston Churchill #4)

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