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House Of Cards

(20 customer reviews)


498 in stock


House of Cards is Michael’s most famous novel. More than twenty-five years since its first publication it is still considered to be the definitive political thriller.

Based around the life and inexhaustible lusts of machiavellian politician Francis Urquhart, the novel was adapted into the hugely acclaimed BBC television series and spawned FU’s famous quote that has been used by countless politicians “…you might think that, I couldn’t possibly comment”.

The idea for a novel based around the dark political arts came to shortly after the 1987 general election campaign, which had been a particularly bruising one. Margaret Thatcher won that election comfortably, but she made many enemies while doing so – too many, Dobbs thought. It inspired Dobbs to begin work on a plot – entirely fictional, of course – to get rid of a Prime Minister. The book was picked up by the BBC. And during a week that had the nation holding its breath in astonishment, the first episode of the television series aired almost on the day she was forced to resign. It seemed almost impossible, but she was gone. The BBC’s television adaptation of the House of Cards series received fourteen BAFTA nominations and won two. It has been one of the best-selling television series worldwide made by the BBC in the past twenty years. And now the US adaptation, which stars Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and Kate Mara and is directed by David Fincher. Once more my cup overflows.

The #1 bestselling novel that inspired the hit Netflix series

A dark tale of greed, corruption, and unquenchable ambition, House of Cards reveals that no matter the country, politics, intrigue and passion reign in the corridors of power.

Francis Urquhart has his hand on every secret in politics and is willing to betray them all to become prime minister. Mattie Storin is a tenacious young reporter who has a knack for finding the real stories hidden behind the spin. When she stumbles upon a scandalous web of intrigue and financial corruption at the very highest levels, she vows to reveal the truth. But to do so she must battle her own demons and risk everything, even her life.

House of Cards is a classic political thriller reinvented for a new generation.

Reviews (20)

20 reviews for House Of Cards

  1. Daily Mail

    One thing is certain: Francis Urquhart will be remembered for much longer than the name of many a real Prime Minister

  2. Sunday Telegraph

    What a brilliant creation he is.

  3. Independent

    This blood-and-thunder tale, lifelike and thoroughly cynical, carries the ring of authenticity . . . a great triumph.

  4. Daily Express

    House of Cards is fast-moving, revelatory and brilliant.

  5. The Times

    With a friend like Michael Dobbs, who on earth needs enemies? His timing is again impeccable. Gloriously cheeky.

  6. Daily Mail

    Razor-sharp and merciless.

  7. York Evening Press

    Francis Urquhart is one of the great characters of modern fiction.

  8. Sunday Post

    House of Cards is a work of genius.

  9. The Independent

    This blood and thunder tale, lifelike and thoroughly cynical, certainly carries the ring of authenticity….a great triumph.


    The novel – both its 1989 and 2014 incarnations – is a delicious wallow in British bad behavior, both public and private… You’ll find their accents plummier, of course, and their sense of class distinctions sharper. But no translation skills are required to make Dobb’s novel a yummy treat for any Anglophile – or any fan of the new House of Cards.

  11. David Schnider -Posted On

    This is the first in a trilogy that is, perhaps, the best of modern political fiction. The reader can’t help but be riveted by the lead character, even hoping for his sinister plots to succeed. Even having seen the BBC television version, I loved the book. It’s a great read.

  12. Thomas Grover -Posted On

    I recently read the authors four novels on Churchill and was bowled over. As a result I looked for additional works by Mr. Dobbs and came across this novel which I think is absolutely brilliant ! We are introduced to a devious, ruthless, and very dangerous protagonist with the most appropriate initials, F.U..

    Francis Urquhart, an unknown politician knows the ins and outs of Her Majesty’s Government like no one else, and because he serves as Chief Whip of the party knows the foibles, vices, and secrets of his colleagues. Plans are set in motion to destroy his competition while he makes his move to become Prime Minister while the sitting Prime Minister falls to F.U.

    This is a great read.

  13. Keith A. Comess -Posted On

    Michael Dobbs, aka Baron Dobbs of the Conservative Party, is a member of the British House of Lords. In his various roles in government, extending over many years and in many roles (including advisor to former PM Margaret Thatcher; Conservative MP speechwriter; Government “Special Advisor”; and Conservative Party Chief of Staff) he is presumably well-placed to probe the dark corners of British politics.

    Urquhart’s malevolent nature and cunning political ambitions were apparently catalyzed into action (creating a modern day “I, Claudius” tale) by an offhand and offensive remark by PM Collingridge to “FU” in the presence of a senior party official. Revenge was relentless and remorseless. The book concludes with FU’s election as PM and sets the stage for the two book sequels and the two TV series it spawned. Revenge and ruthless cynicism are universal themes. The truth and power of the axiom, “Knowledge is power” is nicely illustrated in this story.

    The novel is both interesting and well-written, although the plot is oftentimes predictable and character development occasionally mundane. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright present a much more interesting and nuanced team than do Francis and his wife, Mortima. The Netflix series is also better at dramatic presentation and features more plot intricacies.

    In Francis Urquhart, Dobbs has re-established and updated the political archetype of the cunning, emotionless, crafty and manipulative politician, one whose prowess was acknowledged by President Obama who (supposedly) remarked, “At least he gets something done”, to which FU might have replied, “You might very well think that; I couldn’t possibly comment”.

  14. Suncoast -Posted On

    Many of you will have seen the very popular TV series for “House of Cards”, the UK one starring Ian Richardson, and currently the adaption to a US environment starring Kevin Spacey. This book is what started it all and introduces the delightfully wicked and corrupt Frances Urquhart who sets out to destroy his Prime Minister. Urquhart’s character and approach is cleverly described in the initials chosen by author Michael Dobbs – FU or more explicitly “Eff You”!

    Frances Urquhart is a long-standing member of the UK House of Commons and has reached his peak as Chief Whip in a Conservative government with a huge majority. His Prime Minister, Henry Collingridge, has lost his eye on the ball and is about to lose most of that majority. To keep the ball moving Urquhart suggests a fundamental Cabinet reshuffle to the PM but the Party Secretary gets in first and kills the proposal and any hopes that FU would get the Cabinet post he so wanted.

    FU immediately starts a plot to destroy the Prime Minister by any means possible. In his role as Chief Whip, FU has saved the intimate details of most key members and Cabinet Ministers which he uses to start the process of the PM’s downfall. He also uses Collingridge’s alcoholic brother Charles to bring the PM into an untenable position.

    A young and ambitious female journalist, Mattie Storin, starts to find out the real story behind what is happening but she doesn’t connect what is going on to Urquhart because of a power driven attraction despite their age difference.

    The book is peppered with wonderful opening Chapter quotes:

    “Those who climb the tallest trees must accept the consequence that it is likely to expose their vulnerable parts.”
    “The nature of ambition is that it requires casualties.”
    “Politics requires sacrifice. The sacrifice of others of course.”

    This is wonderful and extremely amusing “dark tale of greed, corruption and unquentionable ambition” about one of the most memorable and unashamedly wicked characters in political fiction. It was written by an author at the top of his form who had extensive inside knowledge of Downing Street having been a special advisor to Margaret Thatcher and several other Conservative Prime Ministers. Dobbs is now a Life Peer – Baron Dobbs.

    Even if you have seen one or both of the wonderful TV series I strongly recommend that you go back to where it started and revel in the wicked world of Frances Urquhart. There are 2 more books in the series “To play the King” and “The Final Cut” which I look forward to reading.

  15. Suncoast -Posted On

    Creative writing involving English politics. I can see why the current Kevin Spacey TV Netflix production is such a big success.

  16. Lewis Weinstein -Posted On

    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 book and in life.

  17. Jemidar -Posted On

    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 :).

  18. Matt -Posted On

    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 in the book, especially in FIRST AMONG EQUALS, though in this case it is one man seeking power, not a handful. The reader will also see the lengths to which a report will go to obtain the scoop of her lifetime and how she will handle the world of man-dominated reporters. In what can only be described as a true ascent to power of both characters, Dobbs sets the scene for some explosive action in the books that follow and will surely have readers on the edge of their seats.

    I can admit an addiction to the Netflix-based Americanisation of this novel and how intriguing it was. I have yet to see the BBC series and will once the trilogy is complete. That said, the two different forms of government (parliamentary versus presidential) is not the only means by which this book and that series differ. The intrinsic nature of the British parliamentary system is a perfect backdrop for the book and will certainly come to play an even greater role and the second and third books present more information and drama. I can only hope that the books pull me in as Ralph Reed’s trilogy did, based on a US election and subsequent ascent to power. Anyone with a passion for politics (and especially a love of the parliamentary system) will thoroughly enjoy this political drama. Dobbs is to be applauded for his work and I cannot wait to see what he has in store next.

    Kudos Mr. Dobbs… you have the golden touch. Keep it up and dazzle us readers some more!

  19. Rebecca -Posted On

    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 Minister — and this novel reveals the convoluted tail of ambition, power and sheer wickedness. If you’ve only seen the Netflix series (and if you haven’t, you should) rest assured that this won’t ruin anything. I found it to be an intriguing intersection with the series, and only whetted my appetite to read the rest of the series, and hoped that there will be a third season on Netflix to come. Four and a half stars, and very much recommended.

  20. Samra Muslim -Posted On

    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

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