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First Among Equals

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  14,755 ratings  ·  384 reviews
Playing for the highest stakes of all . . .

In the 1960s, four ambitious new MPs take their seats at Westminster. Over three decades they share the turbulent passions of the race for power with their wives and families, men and women caught up in a dramatic game for the higest stakes of all. But only one man can gain the ultimate goal - the office of Prime Minister.
Paperback, 496 pages
Published May 16th 2004 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 1984)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  14,755 ratings  ·  384 reviews

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May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: archer
It is the story of four ambitious politicians,each wanting to become prime minister of Britain.In typical Archer fashion,the story follows the four men for three decades.

The characters are shown to interact with real life political figures including Churchill,Thatcher,Gaddafi and Queen Elizabeth.

They go through one election after another as governments rise and fall and significant events take place on the world stage.

Archer was himself a member of the British parliament. He knows the system an
Feb 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics
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
Apr 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
It's another great book of Jeffrey Archer. Recommended for those who love politics and all those who want to keep themselves occupied till the last page. It also defines how the parliament works. As a reader, you come to know in depth about the British government system. Further, it shows in detail about the life of people in political stream. What are the pressures, highs, and lows in life that politician observes. How media affect their personal lives. After this book, I have become a fan of J ...more
Sep 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller-crime
Review to follow.
So, the full story. I first read this novel when I was about 15 or 16, and knew next to nothing about the British parliamentary system (thanks, Polish education). I'm sure a lot of the novel went over my head, and I have no idea how accurate the translation was, but I have to say what I remembered was mainly the scheming and how cool it made politics seem.

I decided on this re-read because I wanted to see how I'd feel about it now. And I started reading the book only to realise something was str
3.5 out of 5 stars

It turns out that I read the original American edition, which left out every single part about the 4th main character. One reviewer said they thought that the American publisher left out the 4th main character because the publisher felt that American readers couldn't deal with too much complexity and too many main characters. I don't know if that's the reason, but because I really only read 3/4 of the original book - a book that only has three main characters - it may not be fa
Jayne Charles
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Hot damn I loved this book. I've read it before, when I was less grey and weathered, and I loved it as much then as now. It was even funnier to find out I'd picked the wrong person to win second read! ...more
Sridhar Babu
Feb 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Jeffrey Archer..
Charles Seymour and Simon Kerslake ( both Conservative members), Raymond Gould and Andrew Fraser(both Labour Party members) Fiona, Joyce, Lousie, Elizabeth and Margret Thatcher (Prime Minister UK) and others..
House of commons (English Parliament LONDON),
Political Thriller...

Four men from different family backgrounds, all of them strangers, embark a journey for the highest post in their life- Becoming the Prime Minister
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sheetal Dash
Sep 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
'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
Nov 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
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! ;) ...more
May 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time has made me more aware of both the parliamentary process and the role that personalities plays in politics. This reread of this book has that added dimension to the previous thoughts I had below.
This was one of the greatest insights into the British Parliamentary system that I have read. Archer manages to weave the lives of four individuals together as they travel through politics with a skill that does not crassly portray simplistic good or bad characters, but fleshes them out as fully
Linda Bridges
Four men are elected to Parliament in the same election. All four have aspirations of one day becoming Prime Minister. This book traces the political careers & personal lives of these four men. I generally love Jeffrey Archers books. This one was very slow in the beginning but picked up as I became more familiar with the characters.part of my problem was my unfamiliarity with Britain's parliamentary system & such things as two & three line whips & the political beliefs of their political parties ...more
Pat Camalliere
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Although I know little about England’s government, and much of the time I was clueless about the strategies of the characters, nonetheless I thoroughly enjoyed getting some sense for the politics and historic people and events. I also thought the three main characters were very well drawn and believable. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is not put off by reading the intricacies of a foreign government, which was actually a plus for me. One note: if reading summaries online the reader w ...more
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it
The first thing to be said about this book is the array of incredible characters - the ruthless and ambitious Charles Seymour, tenacious and gritty Simon Kerslake, lovable and heroic Andrew Fraser, brilliant Raymond Gould. The four characters start off as newly elected MPs to the House of Commons, and one thing that seems to be in common among them is their desire to become the Prime Minister. Throughout the novel, battles are fought, governments rise and fall, along with the individual characte ...more
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
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 characters
Jul 16, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 07, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
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. ...more
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fellow political enthusiasts awake! This is the book for you! I think it's the best I read in my life ...more
Apr 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Loved this one on the second read. Always good to revisit Archer
Camille Siddartha
Nov 11, 2015 rated it liked it
It was an alright read.
Glass River
Jul 07, 2020 marked it as fic-guided
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
First Among Equal is less a political thriller than historical fiction about the Uk politics from 1964 to 1984, when the book was published; the last few years are pure fiction, narrating events occurring after the book was written.
The book tells the stories of four individuals following a political career over nearly 30 years; given the author's experience, the political background is solid, the main problem I had with the it is that its prose is so dry that the story ends up totally lacking pa
Rishav Singh
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Four ingenious men and one goal : Charles Seymour, Andrew Fraser, Simon kerslake, and Ray Gould. All four of them aspires to be prime minister but only one of them can win. Coming from different backgrounds and support, all of them are capable of bringing revolution in the incorrigible election. Who will succeed in fight for Britain's most powerful office and No.10 downing Street ?
The entire story revolves around the political rivalry between these characters for
Oksana Zhydovtseva
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved the book. It is not too "political", doesn't contain too much of terminology and covers not only the picture of ruling and policy, but also illustrates private worries and common troubles of the uncommon men. It shows the rapidity of a human life, the importance of all of our decisions, the significance of trusting your inner thoughts, trusting your gut; it depicts humans' devotion to the chosen subjects, the ambition of the outstanding men, how we sometimes neglect the obviou ...more
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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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