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- Publisher: MACMILLAN
- Format: Hardback | 336 pages
- Dimensions: 146mm x 232mm x 30mm | 540g
- Publication date: 1 April 2005
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 1405041196
- ISBN 13: 9781405041195
- Sales rank: 1,785,639
Coruscating and scintillating, SPIN is a novel that cuts behind the headlines and those who make them - a stiletto-sharp, hilarious satire that exposes just how the corridors of power are really at work. It's the year 2011. The Party in power, the New Project Party is on a moral revival campaign and Selwyn Knox, the recently appointed minister for the Department for Society, is at its helm. Sonya Mair, his political adviser, is helping him call the shots - as well as helping him with some more personal matters ...Together they've selected the team. Very carefully. In fact, they've got dossiers on every last member ...Sir Robert Nottridge, Permanent Secretary: Eton, Cambridge, married, no children - or so his wife thinks. Christopher Brody, director of policy: a helpless gambler with debts up to his eyeballs and two mortgages. Nigel Tonbridge, director of strategy and communications: ex-journo and keeper of some dark family secrets - as well as some disturbing political ones that might just taint Saint Selwyn ...But for now, the team better do as they're told, and get down to administering morality. Meanwhile, back at Downing Street, PM Andy Sheen is suffering a few smears of his own, and his right hand man, Charlie McDonald, must quickly dispatch an official to Cambridge to "rescue data" and hunt down the man behind the allegations ...
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From 1980-1997 Martin Sixsmith worked for the BBC, where he was the Corporation's correspondent in Moscow, Washington, Brussels and Warsaw. From 1997-2002, he worked for the Government as Director of Communications and Press Secretary first to Harriet Harman, then to Alistair Darling and finally to Stephen Byers. He is now a writer, presenter and journalist.
A likably preposterous roman-a-clef, by a former U.K. government press secretary, takes aim at spin and dirty tricks in politics. After losing his post in a whistle-blowing scandal after he'd publicly shamed spin-doctor Jo Moore (notorious for advising on 9/11 that "this would be a good day to bury bad news"), author Sixsmith was pressured into signing a gag clause that prevented him from airing any further dirty Labour laundry. Here, in a first novel, he attempts to circumvent that restriction. The action is projected into the near future, with Labour renamed the New Project Party. The plot quickly departs from actual events, taking us to an imagined time when spin-doctoring cosmeticizes a eugenics program designed to eradicate people with genetic markers for criminal tendencies. The backroom deals and press manipulation, however, carry a strong stench of real life, and the attendant chicanery is handled with a light touch and an obvious familiarity. But the story soon escapes from the bounds of probability as the sleaze practiced by high-ranking politicians escalates to pedophilia, cocaine smuggling and murder, while civil servants are recruited to departments chiefly on the basis of their blackmail-ability. Inconvenient characters are dispensed with by their falling prey to a government-engineered scandal. The central story concerns the career of unscrupulous M.P. Selwyn Knox. Helped by his sidekick and lover, the luscious spin-doctor Sonya Mair, he rises to become head of the newly created Department for Society, intended to eradicate all undesirable social behavior from the British masses. Beginning with a wry depiction of the pair's dirty tricks, the story eventually-and unadvisedly-becomes embroiled in psychological explanations for Knox's foul deeds. Before long, both author and characters are delivering lengthy speeches (and sending lengthy e-mails) on moral hubris and original sin. Witty and fascinating in its treatment of realpolitik, but quickly loses itself in a mash of excess. (Kirkus Reviews)