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To Play the King  By  cover art

To Play the King

By: Michael Dobbs
Narrated by: Samuel West
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Publisher's Summary

Newly elected Prime Minister Francis Urquhart takes on the new King in the controversial number one best-selling second volume in the Francis Urquhart trilogy - now reissued in audio.

After scheming his way to power in House of Cards, Francis Urquhart made a triumphant return in To Play the King - a Sunday Times number one best-seller that became a BBC TV series, with Ian Richardson resuming his award-winning role as Francis Urquhart, and a hugely successful Netflix series.

Its highly controversial and uncannily topical storyline - in which the role of the monarchy in modern Britain comes under scrutiny as Prime Minister Francis Urquhart threatens to expose Royal secrets when his plans are blocked by the idealistic new King - coincided with a huge increase in public interest in the future of the Royal Family following a series of Royal scandals.

©2013 Michael Dobbs (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"This thriller will delight anybody who relishes political intrigue...a model of its kind and impeccably timed." (Daily Mail)

"With a friend like Michael Dobbs, who on earth needs enemies? His timing is again impeccable. A good romp, and gloriously cheeky. Dobbs’ books grab because of their authenticity - the man knows his stuff." (The Times)

What listeners say about To Play the King

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Grossed me out

I liked the first book so much that I was able to brush aside the sexist portrayal of women in it. However, I found that it this second title the story wasn't absorbing enough to get me past the disgust. The relationship dynamic seems to repeat the first book: an elderly man acts all slimy towards a younger female, who ends up finding him attractive. Women's cleavages get more attention in the narration than do their motives or personalities. However, I do say that if you are able to get past that, the author has a skill for writing a good story! I'm hoping to finish this some other time, now I had to put it to rest after the first few hours.

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Pretty Good

But I preferred the first in this series: it was more interesting despite the exotically royal flavor of this one. I think the first was better because the leading character was more than two dimensional. After the success of the first novel and the TV series I think Dobbs decided that he had a winning formula and left out the extraneous, although the extraneous gave dimension that now seems lacking. Wont try number three. Enough is enough.

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  • Deborah
  • 06-16-19

Ok but nowhere near as good as "House of Cards"

Looked interesting, especially introduction of King as a key character, but no real new ideas. Sad to see that sex and revealing photos still run the country. Entertaining but in a low key way.

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  • Christopher Hegan
  • 05-17-19

Not a Patch on Book 1

Dobbs picks up where the odious Urquart left at the end of Book 1, now a new PM. Except he doesn’t. Not really. He marches along with what is instantly a formula with no psychological continuity from the previous shock finale. I finished it, more or less enjoyed the plotting, but all along knew that I could not quite believe it,

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  • KJ
  • 08-31-22

Perhaps not quite as good

as House of Cards but very enjoyable. Samuel West's narration is spot on. Will definitely listen to the third book of the trilogy.

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  • Bronty
  • 01-19-22

Excellent

All the twists that you would expect from Michael Dobb’s trilogy. Although previously televised, the audiobook is a great listen that you could return to over the years. The by Samuel West narration was brilliant and even brought about the visualisation of the televised characters to the listener.

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  • Marion G.
  • 01-07-22

Not a patch on House of Cards

I simply loved House of Cards both on TV and listening to this wonderful narrator but somewhat disappointed with this second book in the trilogy. Could see Richardson and Kitchen in their battle for supremacy and loved the cut and thrust of their every meeting but somehow it just didn't grab my attention as had its predecessor. Perhaps, knowing the outcome, the magic wasn't there! But on to the final novel and lets see if I can restore the balance.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-08-21

Sam West as a reader

I love Sam West's portrayal of the different characters in this series. Brilliant. And a funny, witty, dry-humoured tale.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-27-21

Uncomfortable at times.

A wonderful story of political intrigue and shenanigans spoilt by rampant misogyny.
Just about every time a male character meets with a female character her is ogling her legs or admiring her breasts. And if he is not, you can rest assured that she is showing off her legs or sticking out her breasts in order to get what she wants.
It’s the same with ‘House of Cards’, another David Nobbs novel, and apart from being boring and repetitive it is very unnecessary.