The Lords’ Day (Harry Jones #1), by Michael Dobbs

Five stars (of five)

Dobbs entertains the reader as a new-age Jeffrey Archer, penning novels that encapsulate the intricacies of the British parliamentary system. The novel opens on Lords’ Day, the official opening of the British parliamentary session. Amid all the pomp and circumstance, former Cabinet member and military hero Harry Jones is handling some less than wonderful news in his personal life. At the height of the day’s importance, Queen Elizabeth II enters the House of Peers to deliver her speech, as part of the day’s events. Chaos ensues as a group of foreign nationals hold all those in the room at gunpoint. Among the hostages are the British Prime Minister, his son, members of the British Cabinet, international dignitaries and the son of the US President, not to mention Her Majesty and the Prince of Wales. The story proceeds in two sphere, inside and outside the room. While the hostages settle in, the reader can witness some of the more philosophical narratives amongst those held captive, including worry and a better understanding of the event’s rationale. Outside the room, tension ramp up as British officials ponder security options to free those inside. The Home Secretary is the most senior member of the government not being held, and she assumes control of the British government. Her hard-line approach ruffles the feathers of her make-shift cabinet as well as the POTUS, seeking to ensure her son’s freedom. As Harry Jones uses his military background to assist the British response, he stumbles upon some information that might explain who’s behind the hostage-taking and a motive for the disaster. How it all turns out depends on many actors, all of whom want to play the starring role. Dobbs exemplifies his abilities and captures the reader’s attention until the closing sentence.

Dobbs takes a brilliant idea and builds a powerful political tale around it. Dobbs addresses some key themes, throughout the novel, including: British sentiment towards the monarchy, the monarch’s view of their role, reaction to the Afghan and Iraqi Wars, American hegemonic intoxication, the role of state sovereignty amongst allies, and British parliamentary succession. Tapping into the nuances of the British system, Dobbs introduces readers to Harry Jones and his abilities, which will likely become relevant in the future novels of the series. Spanning just over 24 hours, the plot’s stakes are high and the tension even higher, leaving Dobbs to fill pages with great narrative and political intrigue. An idea I’ve wanted to read about for a while finally comes to life in epic proportions. A must-read for political and thriller junkies.

Kudos, Baron Dobbs for your wonderful work. House of Cards was sensational and this goes to show you have paved the way for more great literary ideas.