Seventy-Two Virgins

Seventy-Two Virgins

3.21 (194 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Hardback

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Description

Seventy-Two Virgins is a comic political novel, with similar appeal to Stephen Fry or Ben Elton, written by one of Britain's most popular politicians. It is Boris Johnson's first novel. To much fanfare, the American President is on an inaugural visit to the Houses of Parliament. Our hero, a hapless MP on a bicycle, gets caught up in the ferocious security arrangements. A stolen ambulance runs into trouble with the Westminster Parking Authorities. A man, born in Lebanon but going by the name of Jones, manages to persuade his way through the barriers. The best sharpshooter in the United States is enlisted and stationed on the roof of the building adjoining Westminster Hall. Henry VIII's tennis ball gets caught up in the melee. These disparate parts meet head-on -- and the events are broadcast live on worldwide television.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 162 x 234 x 34mm | 639.58g
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0007195907
  • 9780007195909

Review quote

Praise for Boris Johnson and Friends, Voters, Countrymen: 'Johnson has cracked the art of making politics invigorating.'Daily Telegraph 'Such an entertaining read.' Daily Mail 'It is very funny and has, in short, all the idiosyncracies of its author.' Jeremy Paxmanshow more

Author information

Boris Johnson is the editor of the Spectator, MP for Henley, writes a column for the Daily Telegraph and has just been appointed Shadow Arts Minister. He lives in London and Oxfordshire with his wife and their children.show more

Review Text

With uncanny synchronicity, Boris Johnson's debut novel addresses a scenario that has hit international headlines. Perhaps editing the weekly news magazine, The Spectator, has blessed Johnson with subliminal clairvoyance, but his lighthearted farce about a terrorist attack on Parliament told from the solipsistic perspective of a chummy, ungraceful, cycle-riding Conservative MP is due to hit the stands just as Britain is being forced to address exactly that scenario. MP Roger Barlow, a thinly disguised stand-in for Johnson himself, is unwittingly drawn into the centre of an elaborate plan to storm Parliament upon the state visit of the American President. A broad comedy, political in both setting and prejudice, the book is a hasty read that plays for a farce what some may regard a deadly serious business. The terrorists themselves, while mostly Islamic militants (the 72 Virgins being a reference to the reward that supposedly awaits the noble jihad martyr, according to certain interpretations of the Koran), also include a misunderstood Welsh boy who is decidedly reluctant about the whole affair. Johnson ensures his jokes are well struck in every direction, with the American president coming off as a slightly daft cowboy, the police as either bureaucratic jocks or over-politicised civil servants, and most every other person demoted to the level of caricature, which is to say that even the most awful of circumstances is dressed for laughs ... rather like someone in a ragged Batman suit. (Kirkus UK)show more
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