Audie Award Nominee, Classic, 2013
Unscrupulous financial speculator Ferdinand Lopez, aspiring to marry into respectability and wealth, has society at his feet, with well-connected ladies vying with each other to exert influence on his behalf. Even Lady Glencora, the wife of Plantagenet Palliser, prime minister of England, supports the exotic imposter.
Palliser, respectable man of power and inherited wealth, is appalled by the rise of this man who seemingly appeared out of nowhere. When Lopez achieves his socially advantageous marriage, Palliser must decide whether to stand by his wife’s support for Lopez in a by-election or leave him to face exposure as a fortune-hunting adventurer.
This fifth installment in Trollope’s six-volume Palliser series is a brilliantly subtle portrait of love, marriage, and politics.
About the author: Anthony Trollope (1815–1882), the author of 47 novels, was one of the most prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era. He is best known for his series of books set in the English countryside as well as those set in the political life, works that show great psychological penetration.
“Considered by modern critics to represent the apex of the Palliser novels…The novel brilliantly dissects the politics of both marriage and government.” (Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature)
“In The Prime Minister Trollope was working at the top of his powers. It is a book for when one wishes to be challenged, rather than merely charmed, by a novel.” (Nicholas Shrimpton, emeritus fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University)
“The Prime Minister is the key work in the Palliser series.… The political storyline tells us that although the practicalities of political life demand frequent moral compromise and social discomfort, a man of the highest rank can be found who for a brief interlude will bring to the office of Prime Minister an idealism which is rare amid the hurlyburly of government.” (David Skilton, emeritus professor, Cardiff School of English, Communication, and Philosophy)
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- Joyce "Old Reader"
Depressingly retrograde politics
The writing is skillful and pretty engrossing, although some of the political digressions begin to get wearisome. What was quite disappointing about this book, though, was the incredibly awful view of society that Trollope puts forth. He is saying, in pretty blatant terms, that pretty much only upper crust, well-established Englishmen, preferably blond, are the only people who are honorable or trustworthy. The villain of the piece is a dark-haired, dark-complexioned man of Portuguese extraction, suspected of being a Jew. The women are essentially all ninnies who cause vast amounts of trouble when they don't do what their superiors, i.e., fathers or husbands, tell them to do. I just have no use for this sort of novel, except, I suppose as a historical artifact.
Change the plot.
They all irritated me, through no fault of the narrator.
I was quite disappointed. I've had some acquaintance with Trollope's Barchester Towers, and I'd expected better from this novel.
- The Frog Lady