Time of Lies by Douglas Board

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Time of Lies by Douglas Board

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Stephen Leach
Reviewed by Stephen Leach
Summary: A sharply-focused tale of the worst-case scenario – what would happen if the UK were to elect its own Donald Trump?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: June 2017
Publisher: Lightning Books
ISBN: 978-1785630347

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The Labour Party has split in two. So have the Conservatives. The smaller parties have descended into squabbling and internal strife. Brexit negotiations have trundled on in dribs and drabs, held up at every turn by a slow-moving and mostly unwilling Europe.

It's 2019, and things haven't exactly gone as planned.

There's a new political party gaining traction in many parts of Britain, and all the polls suggest it's heading for a landslide victory in the 2020 election. They're called the Britain's Great party, and populist doesn't quite seem to cover it. Their policies? Booting out the bankers, priority housing for Britons, a reasonable immigration policy, and regaining the sovereignty of our once-great nation!

Oh, no. Are we really here again?

It's hardly worth taking the time to point out, but a satire like this only works if it's plausible – and this one is. If you'd handed me this book the day after the referendum result, I'd have had a hard time believing it was fiction. The most interesting thought I had while reading Time of Lies is that it's not hard to envisage a situation where you yourself could end up voting for someone like this. For the last few years, in the UK and beyond, for a lot of disenfranchised people it seems that conventional politicians don't understand how to – or simply can't – deliver on what the voters actually want from them, whether that be tackling widespread poverty and inequality, solving the housing, health, and education crises, or even reducing immigration. Here, once again, an outside choice has appeared, promising all the answers.

Well, we know that there (probably) won't be a 2020 election – but everything else is still scarily accurate.

To be honest, our hero Zack doesn't make for much of a compelling protagonist, and nor do many of the characters, really: this is such an issue-driven read that that's to be expected. And while this book is more about hypothesising than it is about character development, it does take some time to get inside the head of Bob Grant, newly-elected Prime Minister and head of the Britain's Great party. He's an oddly fascinating creation, but he's no Donald Trump – for one, he seems to be a good orator. The clever approach the novel takes in showing us the run-up to the election instead of starting with the aftermath allows us to appreciate fully why things have swung the way they have, as well as set up the developments to follow – for after Bob gets elected, Zack and his girlfriend Kathy learn that there's a plot, cooked up by the bureaucrats in Whitehall, to force him from office…

Time of Lies is a thoughtful, at times slightly zany, look at a future we hope won't come to pass – but has every chance of doing so. Though things haven't quite gotten this chaotic yet, it should serve as a reminder, now more than ever, of the need to stand up and be counted. Don't let others decide your future for you.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending this book for review.

If you enjoyed this, you might find A Very British Coup by Chris Mullin an interesting read. It's set in a completely different time, yet explores some similar ideas. Or if you're done with hypotheticals and want to examine the state of the real world, The Broken Compass: How British Politics lost its way by Peter Hitchens is a fascinating look at the evolution of modern politics and how outdated the way we view the political spectrum can be.

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Buy Time of Lies by Douglas Board at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Time of Lies by Douglas Board at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Time of Lies by Douglas Board at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Time of Lies by Douglas Board at Amazon.com.


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