The best political thrillers to spill the beans on the system

Why am I passionate about this?

If a book is based on personal experience it has an edge to it. So when I write my thrillers, even though they contain ample doses of make-believe, I try to anchor them to something which has happened to me. When I stook as a parliamentary candidate for the Conservatives in the 2015 UK General Election, a young supporter took his own life because of excessive bullying from within the party itself. This inspired me to write my first political thriller. It's important to me as a writer to make my stories as believable as possible.


I wrote...

The Missing Activist

By Louise Burfitt-Dons,

Book cover of The Missing Activist

What is my book about?

Vivid, clever, utterly compelling, The Missing Activist is the story of an outsider’s attempt to uncover a deadly conspiracy at the heart of a UK political party.

Post-Referendum Britain and a country on high alert for terrorist attacks…When a young political activist disappears in London, an off-the-wall Private Investigator Karen Andersen is put on the case. She uncovers secrets of a party system that prizes loyalty above truth, a serial killer and a female Jihadi plotting deadly revenge on the British Government. But Party secrets must be kept at all costs. A totally gripping contemporary thriller that will have you hooked from the very first page to the final, dramatic twist.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of House of Cards

Louise Burfitt-Dons Why did I love this book?

I enjoyed this book and loved the movie even more. It convinced me that people were fascinated by the inside story of politics. By his own account, most of the content on this book was drawn from what he saw working as an advisor to Margaret Thatcher when she was Leader of the Opposition. He claimed in an interview writing the book was a holiday distraction after he left office. But the title of the book is now one of the most used terms in conversation to sum up manipulative behaviour. Very “House of Cards!” 

By Michael Dobbs,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked House of Cards as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

REVISED AND UPDATED WITH BRAND NEW MATERIAL
The acclaimed political thriller that first introduced the unforgettable Francis Urquhart MP and launched Michael Dobbs' No 1 bestselling career - now updated with brand new material.

Michael Dobbs' entertaining tale of skulduggery and intrigue within the Palace of Westminster has been a huge hit with the public. Its scheming hero, Chief Whip Francis Urquhart, who uses fair means and foul to become Prime Minister, is one of the best-known characters of the last decade - the politician we all love to hate.

Acclaimed for its authenticity and insights into a secret world…


Book cover of The House

Louise Burfitt-Dons Why did I love this book?

Check out Tom Watson’s insider account of similar behaviour within the Labour Party as in House of Cards. Once Deputy Leader, he quit his position because of the “brutality and hostility” within the ranks. It is a good depiction of the sacrifices and betrayals required and shows no party system has the moral high ground when it comes to bullying and duplicitous behaviour.

By Tom Watson, Imogen Robertson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The House as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A prescient page-turner about secrets, lies, ruthless ambition and betrayal' SARAH VAUGHAN

'A rare view from the inside of the Machiavellian machinations for power . . . Fascinating' HARRIET TYCE

__________

In their remarkable debut political thriller, Tom Watson, former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, and Imogen Robertson open the doors to The House, a place of ambition, hope, friendship . . . and betrayal.

Once allies, Labour MP Owen McKenna and Conservative Minister Philip Bickford now face each other across the House of Commons as bitter enemies. Then the reappearance of a figure from their past forces them…


Book cover of Casino Royale

Louise Burfitt-Dons Why did I love this book?

The first of Ian Fleming’s books has James Bond on an assignment to bankrupt terrorist financier Le Chiffre in a high-stakes poker game at the Casino Royale in Montenegro. Far fetched perhaps, but in fact, inspired by a trip to The Estoril Casino with his superior when Ian Fleming was working for Naval Intelligence. It’s my favourite Bond book.

By Ian Fleming,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Casino Royale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the novel that introduced James Bond to the world, Ian Fleming’s agent 007 is dispatched to a French casino in Royale-les-Eaux. His mission? Bankrupt a ruthless Russian agent who’s been on a bad luck streak at the baccarat table.

One of SMERSH’s most deadly operatives, the man known only as “Le Chiffre,” has been a prime target of the British Secret Service for years. If Bond can wipe out his bankroll, Le Chiffre will likely be “retired” by his paymasters in Moscow. But what if the cards won’t cooperate? After a brutal night at the gaming tables, Bond soon…


Book cover of A Perfect Spy

Louise Burfitt-Dons Why did I love this book?

This twisty tale of a British spy and double agent Magnus Pym is also a thinly disguised portrayal of his early life. Before turning to writing, John Le Carre worked as an intelligence officer for both MI5 and MI6. Unlike Fleming's glamorous portrayal of spies, his heroes were often depicted as lonely, tragic figures. The fact he knew the inside of the system gives his books extra gravitas.

By John le Carré,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked A Perfect Spy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


"The best English novel since the war." -- Philip Roth

Over the course of his seemingly irreproachable life, Magnus Pym has been all things to all people: a devoted family man, a trusted colleague, a loyal friend-and the perfect spy. But in the wake of his estranged father's death, Magnus vanishes, and the British Secret Service is up in arms. Is it grief, or is the reason for his disappearance more sinister? And who is the mysterious man with the sad moustache who also seems to be looking for Magnus?

In A Perfect Spy, John le Carre has crafted one…


Book cover of The Prince

Louise Burfitt-Dons Why did I love this book?

Once read, never forgotten. To explain the "Machiavellian" behaviour which makes up the majority of spy and political thrillers, you should start with this. It's even recommended as a leadership manual. The Prince is a political treatise written in the 16th century by Italian diplomat and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli as an instruction guide for new princes and royals. It outlines strategies that a ruler must follow to govern. The message behind it is a warning. "Just because you behave decently doesn't mean others will."

By Niccolò Machiavelli, Tim Parks (translator),

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Prince as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is the world's most famous master plan for seizing and holding power.  Astonishing in its candor The Prince even today remains a disturbingly realistic and prophetic work on what it takes to be a prince . . . a king . . . a president.  When, in 1512, Machiavelli was removed from his post in his beloved Florence, he resolved to set down a treatise on leadership that was practical, not idealistic.  In The Prince he envisioned would be unencumbered by ordinary ethical and moral values; his prince would be man and beast, fox and lion.  Today, this small…


You might also like...

Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

By Sam Baldwin,

Book cover of Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

Sam Baldwin Author Of Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an Englishman who fell in love with a 300-year-old former sausage curing hut on the side of a Slovenian mountain in 2007. After years of visits spent renovating the place, I moved to Slovenia, where I lived and worked for many years, exploring the country, customs, and culture, learning some of the language, and visiting its most beautiful places. I continue to be enamored with Slovenia, and you will regularly find me at my cabin, making repairs and splitting firewood.

Sam's book list on books about Slovenia

What is my book about?

When two brothers discover a 300-year-old sausage-curing cabin on the side of a Slovenian mountain, it's love at first sight. But 300-year-old cabins come with 300 problems.

Dormice & Moonshine is the true story of an Englishman seduced by Slovenia. In the wake of a breakup, he seeks temporary refuge in his hinterland house, but what was meant as a pitstop becomes life-changing when he decides to stay. Along the way, he meets a colourful cross-section of Slovene society: from dormouse hunters, moonshine makers, beekeepers, and bitcoin miners, to a man who swam the Amazon, and a hilltop matriarch who…

Dormice & Moonshine: Falling for Slovenia

By Sam Baldwin,

What is this book about?

'Charming, funny, insightful, and moving. The perfect book for any Slovenophile' - Noah Charney, BBC presenter

'A rollicking and very affectionate tour' - Steve Fallon, author of Lonely Planet Slovenia

'Delivers discovery and adventure...captivating!' - Bartosz Stefaniak, editor, 3 Seas Europe

When two brothers discover a 300-year-old sausage-curing cabin on the side of a Slovenian mountain, it's love at first sight. But 300-year-old cabins come with 300 problems.

Dormice & Moonshine is the true story of an Englishman seduced by Slovenia. In the wake of a breakup, he seeks temporary refuge in his hinterland house but what was meant as…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in political corruption, France, and treason?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about political corruption, France, and treason.

Political Corruption Explore 40 books about political corruption
France Explore 902 books about France
Treason Explore 15 books about treason