THE START – HOUSE OF CARDS

A dark tale of greed, corruption and unquenchable ambition.

House of Cards is Michael's most famous novel. More than twenty 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”. There are two further novels in the trilogy; “To Play the King” and “The Final Cut”. And now what the world has been waiting for – the devastating new 13-hour U.S. television adaptation, starring Kevin Spacey and directed by David Fincher. It will win many awards and millions of followers.

'I started writing the book beside a swimming pool during a moment of boredom on holiday. I had no idea it was about to change my life so completely. A quarter of a century later it's still doing that, changing my life, never knowing what to expect…'

 

The idea for a novel based around the dark political arts came to me 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, I thought. It inspired me 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.

 

John Major won the subsequent leadership battle and became Prime Minister. He told me that House of Cards had done for his job 'what Dracula has done for baby-sitting'. I took it as a compliment.

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 US version is different, of course – but not that different. Kevin Spacey recently said: "The original was about a wily, murderous politician worming his way to becoming Prime Minister. This is about a wily, murderous politician worming his way to the White House. It ain't your daddy's West Wing!"

He also said 'this wouldn't have been possible without the brilliant material it was based on'. He's not only one of the most talented actors of our age but kind, too.

 

"One thing is certain: FU will be remembered for much longer than the name of many a real Prime Minister." Daily Mail

"What a brilliant creation he is." Sunday Telegraph

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

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

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

"Razor-sharp and merciless." Daily Mail

"Francis Urquhart is one of the great characters of modern fiction." York Evening Press

"House of Cards is a work of genius." Sunday Post.