Happy Monday everyone! Today I’m brining you an extract for Time of Lies by Douglas Board as part of the blog blitz…..
In 2020 the United Kingdom elects its own Donald Trump.
Bob Grant, former football hooligan, now the charismatic leader of the Britain’s Great party, has swept to power on a populist tide. With his itchy finger hovering over the nuclear trigger, Bob presides over a brave new Britain where armed drones fill the skies, ex-bankers and foreigners are vilified, and the Millwall football chant ‘No one likes us, we don’t care’ has become an unofficial national anthem.
Meanwhile, Bob’s under-achieving, Guardian-reading brother Zack gets a tap on the shoulder from a shady Whitehall mandarin. A daring plot is afoot to defy the will of the people and unseat the increasingly unstable PM. Can Zack stop his brother before he launches a nuclear strike on Belgium? And just what is ACERBIC, Britain’s most closely-guarded military secret?
A darkly comic political thriller, Time of Lies is also a terrifyingly believable portrait of an alternative Britain. It couldn’t happen here… could it?
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In 2020 the UK elects its own Donald Trump as Prime Minister – Bob Grant, uneducated Bermondsey geezer and self-made millionaire. The election slogan of Bob’s BG party is ‘Britain’s Great! End of!’.
Zack, a Guardian-reading out-of-work actor, can’t believe that his brother Bob has his finger on Britain’s nuclear trigger. Meanwhile Patrick Smath, the Eton-educated permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence, is wetting himself and having to tell Bob Britain’s most closely-guarded secret for the last 25 years.
This is a Britain in which the Queen has retired from public life to Balmoral, out of national disgust or (rumours say) dementia, and Charles is Prince Regent. The Prime Minister has asked for an urgent audience at Buckingham Palace.
Unexpectedly from the Prince, ‘Before you go, tell me what you think of my vegetable beds.’
I join him at the window. Buckingham Palace’s manicured lawns, incongruously large in central London (also the city’s largest no-drone zone), stretch in front of us, bordered with shrubs, flowers and a high wall. The wall removes the traffic coagulating around Victoria Station and Hyde Park to another planet. But today gardeners on mini-tractors are tearing gashes of brown in the green. ‘Food needs not just to be organic, but grown at the shortest possible distance from the table. I’m putting in three vegetable beds. It’s a shame you won’t be in office to taste the results.’
The shapes of the vegetable beds have been pegged out. The Prince explains that there will be a crescent, a cross and a star of David, making the Palace organic, locally sourced and multi-faith all at the same time.
I reach for a Bob response and find one to hand. ‘If you ask me, guv’nor, that idea is a pile of shit.’
The Prince emits a sound perfected in the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshops ‒canned laughter. ‘I will say this for you, Bob ‒you never gave me guff.’ He glances at a clock on a nearby mantelpiece. If it’s true that the Palace has more than 300 working clocks, why are they so behind the times?
about the author
Douglas Board is the author of the campus satire MBA (Lightning Books, 2015), which asked why so much of the business world is Managed By Arseholes. Time of Lies, his second novel, is a timely exploration of the collapse of democracy.
Born in Hong Kong, he has degrees from Cambridge and Harvard and worked for the UK Treasury and then as a headhunter. He has also had a distinguished career in public life, serving as treasurer of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and chairing the British Refugee Council.
As well as writing fiction, he is the author of two applied research books on leadership, which was the subject of his doctorate. He is currently a senior visiting fellow at the Cass Business School in London. He and his wife Tricia Sibbons live in London and Johannesburg.
tour hosted by:
Thanks to Rachel for inviting me on to the tour and to Douglas for sharing an extract with us.
Have a great day all