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House of Cards

(Francis Urquhart #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  7,033 ratings  ·  615 reviews
An alternate cover for this isbn can be found here.

The bestselling political thriller that introduced the scheming Francis Urguhart - the most memorable politician of the last decade.

Francis Urquhart is Chief Whip. He has his hands on every secret in politics - and is willing to betray them all to become Prime Minister.

Mattie Storin is a tenacious young political correspo
Mass Market Paperback, 383 pages
Published 1993 by HarperCollins Fontana (first published 1989)
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Elwin You can safely read this book - the American tv show is only very loosely based on the British House of Cards series, and this book is only the first …moreYou can safely read this book - the American tv show is only very loosely based on the British House of Cards series, and this book is only the first one in a trilogy (so you wouldn't encounter even vague spoilers for season 3 until you read the third one in this trilogy). (less)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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Lewis Weinstein
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-general
This is a political thriller of the first rank. Even after having seen House of Cards on TV (the American version) this book was still a fascinating read. I could hear Kevin Spacey's brilliantly evil voice in many of the written lines. The use of the press to twist and distort political events and perceptions is well portrayed and utterly frightening, especially as we see the Koch brothers and Fox News seeking to do the same thing in America now. People are often ill-informed and naive, in the b ...more
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a first novel on political intrigue as well as a kind-of murder mystery. Much more than any insights on the nature of power, and more than the machinations in a modern-day Florentine Court, this novel owes its worth to Francis Urquhart. A character who is clearly larger than the story being told, following the fine tradition of great Machiavellian villains with just enough complexity to be interesting.

Can't wait to read the next two.
Jane Jago
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's a good read, but maybe not a great read. If we were allowed half stars it'd be three and a half. More than three for the intriguing concept. But.

I think it may even be one of those rare occasions when the TV adaptation has something the book lacks. I think it's down to Francis Urquhart himself. Ian Richardson made him so believable and so intensely bad....

I'm undecided whether or not to do books two and three.
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, netflix
House of Cards is a solid power driven political thriller, well documented, and peppered with humour.
(Rating: 3.5 rounded up)

In his first political thriller, at the heart of the political scene in the ‘90s, Lord Dobbs likens politics to a game of cards: Shuffle - Cut - Hand.

The book starts with a flurry of characters, setting the scene for general election night the UK. Henry Collinridge, The Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party, wins the Party their fourth term by a sliver, leav
Jun 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller, politics
The author of this book served as Margaret Thatcher's Chief of Staff,and later had a falling out with her.He was thus well qualified to write a novel of political intrigue and backstabbing.

It is the story of Francis Urquhart,Chief Whip of the Conservative Party and his cunning plan to become Prime Minister of the UK.He uses any means to eliminate his political rivals,but a young female reporter gets on his trail.

The book would become popular enough to become a trilogy and be adapted as a BBC TV
Mike Smith
“Politics requires sacrifice. The sacrifice of others, of course.”

If you are looking for the most sensational political thriller.. look no further! I had high expectations for Michael Dobbs' "House of Cards" after becoming addicted to the American Netflix version and I must say, I was not disappointed. I thought it would be hard to beat the series starring the brilliant Kevin Spacey... but beaten to a pulp it was!

I had heard of the BBC mini-series based on these books before but never got arou
Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
This opening book of the trilogy lays the groundwork for what looks to be a sensational British political series, centred on one Member of Parliament and his addiction to power, no matter the cost. The book opens after the latest general election, as cabinet posts are being mulled over, and certain people, sure to be getting something are left out in the dark. Cue the beginning of the end for those holding the reins of power. Any reader of this genre may see some of the Jeffrey Archer influences ...more
Jenny Boyce
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley

I will start right out by saying that while I have seen advertisements for the show "House of Cards", I have never actually seen the show. This is an honest review of the book, not a comparison between the book and the show. Now that is out of the way, let's talk about the book.

I found this book to be extremely dull and uneventful. I definitely do not believe that this book should be classified as mystery/thriller, more like plain literary fiction.

The plot
Mary ♥
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.8/5 stars

Politics require sacrifice. The sacrifice of others, of course

This is gonna be an interesting review. And probably as complex as that book and my feelings while reading it. I wouldn't say political thrillers are my cup of tea. I was never really interested in politics and how a country should be handled but 1) I was in mood for something corrupted and 2) my brother (who by the way is into politics) asked me to read it and tell him my opinion. I still don't know how I feel about i
Arun Divakar
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Francis Urquhart is not a unique character. Literature is rife with men and women who have discarded every single code of morality to find their way to the top of the pile. What does make Francis interesting is in how he embodies all that is rotten about mainstream politics and its obsession with power. Francis is all eloquence, charm and reason on the outside and a soul as dark as pitch on the inside. His machinations in and around Downing Street while vying for the position of the PM is what t ...more

I've long been a fan of the original BBC series based on this book and have always meant to read it, so with my son nagging me to hurry up and watch the new US series I thought it was time to finally get around to reading the book that started it all.

Very glad I did. Well worth the read. Also makes me appreciate the full extent of what Andrew Davies so cleverly did with the original series. Love it!!

Am now eagerly awaiting the next two books in the trilogy :).

YOU might think:

- this book is rather tedious and dull
- without much description or characterization
- it doesn't flow well or have much emotion behind it
- it might have been better had it stuck with "FU"'s narrative voice from beginning to end
- the BBC series with Ian Richardson smirking and winking into the camera is far superior

But I couldn't possibly comment!
Tom Marcinko
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Basis for the BBC trilogy. I didn’t like it half as much. You don’t have the voice that the script, & Ian Richardson, gave to the evil PM. Lots of the better plot points were added in the script, too—like the reporter & the evil pol becoming lovers. Not to mention the ending. Still … an interesting look at how a work can change from one medium to another. I liked it enough to probably read the rest of the trilogy. [Although I'll note here, almost a year later, that I haven't bothered to track 'e ...more
Rebecca Huston
After sitting down and watching the adaptations of this novel on Netflix with Kevin Spacey in the lead role, I was hooked. I decided to read the original novels, and I was fascinated at how the character of Francis Urquhart came about. Set in the late 80's, FU is the Chief Whip for the majority party, and after the Prime Minister manages to hang onto his job, FU is expecting a sweet plum of a Cabinet position to fall into his lap. But he is passed over and FU vows a bloody revenge on the Prime M ...more
Tanja Berg
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, audio
This was a highly entertaining political thriller. I loved following the journalist Mattie as she tries to understand what is going on. I also enjoyed "chief whip" Francis Urquhart machinations to get to power. Irreverent and fun. Makes me wonder about real life politics! ...more
Samra Muslim
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
One of the best political thrillers I have read ... The games, the characters and the intrigue - all just perfectly weaved to make it a fast and gripping read!!

Thoroughly enjoyed it
A Man Called Ove
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Novels written purely as political thrillers are rare. Often spy stories and international intrigue are also classified as political thrillers. I can only remember Archer's "First Among Equals", Robert Harris's "Imperium" and Hailey's "In High Places". Although in real life I have great difficulty reading between the lines, I enjoyed all these books. And ofcourse the U.S. version of "House of Cards" was a joy to watch.
First and foremost, lets address the central question in everyone's minds - Sh
Apr 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I thought it was okay. I don't think I was totally enamored with it, but it was something nice to read and since I watched 4 seasons of the Netflix series, it was interesting to see parallels. I can definitely see the basis for some of the Netflix characters. All in all, not bad, it had the appropriate amount of backstabbing, runaround, and general politickiness (new word!) one would expect from an election year. ...more
Hannah Polley
I thought this book was really slow to start but it picked up as it went along.

The Chief Whip, Urquhart, concocts a dastardly plan to oust the Prime Minister and replace him. The backstabbing of politics is completely unfolded as Urquhart bribes, threatens and eventually murders to get his own way.

It wasn't really my kind of story but I did appreciate it by the end.
Razvan Banciu
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A magnificent book! Every word is at its place, every sentence and every motto are waiting to be read, nothing is wrong, even the final, which looks unfair but respects the logic of the story. House of Cards' purpose is not to entertain, but to open our eyes to the political world and its misery. Mission accomplished... ...more
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I never saw the new series but recalled that my father watched the original, so I figured I should get around to this series. Wow! I must say that I very much enjoyed this novel & Francis Urquhart is captivating and seriously petrifying. I was all over the place with Mattie but ended up simply pitying her because she wanted to believe up to the very end. Roger was hapless and pathetic but I still hoped he’d make it but I knew he couldn’t. Mrs Urquhart gets total points for being just about as ch ...more
Mar 29, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
First of all I have to say that I have never seen the TV series, neither the first version of the BBC, nor the current Americanization starring Kevin Spacey and certainly it was a mistake, because this book is not particularly crisp, the characters are in fact quite stereotyped in their meanness and malice, and everything flows, most of the time, with a maddening slowness. If it had been set in the circus of the Italian parliament, surely it would have been more fun!

Prima di tutto devo dire di n
Allyson Thompson
Jun 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
It’s a 3.75 for me. Really, really slow start...then my dog ate the book. For the first time in my life I was tempted not to buy a second volume and just abandon it, but I’m glad I didn’t.

By the middle of the book, it became the great political thriller I was hoping for. The antagonist, Francis Urquhart, is magnificently horrible. He is subtle and diabolical in his plan to become the Prime Minister of Britain. He is one bad egg. As Chief Whip, Urquhart’s knowledge of the skeletons of his challe
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england, fiction, thriller
I really enjoyed this book but it left me feeling somewhat depressed as it hammers home that the Government is an absolute shambles, full of self serving power hungry wankers.

Nothing in this story is unbelievable and it bloody well should be! But it wouldn't surprise me if something like this came out of Parliament. We almost expect politicians to act like this now, that it's hardly shocking when a scandal rears its ugly head. I wish they'd just put their differences aside and get on with the
Feb 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, politics
To revisit an old favourite and not be impressed like you remember being 20 years ago isn't unusual. To read the afterword and be informed by the author that he "updated" the text to include "more colourful characters" makes me suspicious. I must read the original text again to be sure!
Despite it all such a great story, despite the tautness off the thread and what an introduction to the irrepressible FU - the Teflon Whip

Shad Kioi
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I thought the series was good but this book was absolutely stellar! Lots of memorable excerpts but a few stood out

" Politics requires sacrifice. The sacrifice of others, of course. Whatever a man can achieve by sacrificing himself for his country, there’s always more to be gained by allowing others to do it first. Timing, as my wife always says, is everything."

"Politics. The word is taken from the Ancient Greek. “Poly” means “many.”
And ticks are tiny, bloodsucking insects."
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is dated, and feels so as you read it, the whole lack of social media and the British approach to the news and politics. Yet.... we know that American journalists show deference too in order to maintain communication. Regardless, it is enjoyable, and a wonderful reflection of how much more closely the English keep to their storylines when they turn them into mini-series.
Ilona Zielkowska
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Really engaging political intrique.
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
“It’s not respect but fear that motivates a man; that’s how empires are built and revolutions begin. It is the secret of great men. When a man is afraid you will crush him, utterly destroy him, his respect will always follow. Base fear is intoxicating, overwhelming, liberating. Always stronger than respect. Always.”

Actual rating: 3.7.

The quotes in the beginning of every chapter were giving me the best Frank Underwood vibes from the Netflix's series. I am glad that the book, even though had the
House of Cards was a solid enough story, but I never felt in a hurry to pick it back up. There were bursts of action followed by slow plodding story throughout. Since it is about politics, I am sure the author intended readers to dislike his characters. He was successful! I had a problem liking or connecting to any of them. Probably a good thing, since they were all conniving and deceitful.

Urquhart, the main political player in this story, had no line that he wouldn't cross. He is what makes th
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Play Book Tag: House of Cards by Michael Dobbs (5 out of 5 Stars) 5 22 Apr 25, 2017 02:33PM  
Goodreads Librari...: 2nd ebook (nook) version missing cover art 2 134 Jul 25, 2016 02:52PM  
La Stamberga dei ...: Dal libro al telefilm: House of Cards 1 15 Aug 07, 2014 12:50AM  
4th wall 1 16 May 17, 2014 11:44PM  
La Stamberga dei ...: House of Cards di Michael Dobbs 1 14 Apr 18, 2014 02:43AM  

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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

Other books in the series

Francis Urquhart (3 books)
  • To Play the King (Francis Urquhart #2)
  • The Final Cut (Francis Urquhart #3)

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