Plantaganet Palliser, Prime Minister of England - a man of power and prestige, with all the breeding and inherited wealth that goes with it - is appalled at the inexorable rise of Ferdinand Lopez. An exotic impostor, seemingly from nowhere, Lopez has society at his feet, while well-connected ladies vie with each other to exert influence on his behalf - even Palliser's own wife, Lady Glencora. But when the interloper makes a 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.
A novel of social, sexual and domestic politics, 'The Prime Minister' raises one of the most enduring questions in government - whether a morally scrupulous gentleman can make an effective leader.
©2004 Anthony Trollope (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
Until last week if you bought this you only got the first third of the book. It is now all present and correct.
To me it is one of the most interesting of the Palliser series, contrasting an upright man trying to lead the nation with the bounders taking over the world at, as Trollope saw it, a time of moral decay. There is an arch-cad, involved in double dealings and who gets into Parliament. Lady Glencora is drawn into shady dealings, scandal is whipped up by the gutter press and falls on the Prime Minister's head. It was written shortly after a massive financial crash which led to a Great Depression which lasted over 20 years.
Sound familiar? So it should. And because Trolllope is a great psychologist it is gripping stuff, which really makes me feel there is nothing new in the world, though I will admit that the ingenue (Emily) is dull.
Superbly read by Timothy West, as ever.
Dear Julie (in Sydney): I'm not surprised you find this book weak as there's only one volume there - 3 or 4 are missing. I've contacted Audible to investigate and make good. I've given 2 stars in anticipation, but hopefully to be increased to 5 as with the others so far in the series.
It is a real pleasure to listen to the leisurely narration of Timothy West of Trollope's Palliser series. The stories and manners depict another world, and the leisurely pace of the novels gives plenty of listening time for a long journey. Timothy West does justice to the characters and the narration perfectly.
It is amazing how relevant the sense of isolation and stress felt by the man at the top is still relevant for today's prime ministers and presidents. Trollope shows a real understanding of a dedicated and ambitious character who could be in parliament today.
I felt a great sympathy for Planty Pal, even though he is sometimes a distant and unsympathetic figure.
Not at all. Like a good wine it needs to be sipped and savoured at a reasonable pace.
I really enjoyed listening to the whole series in order. It is a pity there aren't more, but the span of time and characters is quite long, so perhaps I am just being greedy in not wanting a good thing to end.
I believe that John Major is a great fan of Trollope and he must have grimaced at times when reading The Prime Minister. What insights from the 19th century! Striving in a limited way to satisfy his party but still having the arrogance of the aristocracy, Plantagenet Palliser made almost every error in the political book.
No wonder Lady Glencora found him hard to love, with his stubborn rigidity and lack of humour. A complete trial of a husband but one she had tried to please by making their grand property attractive to his supporters. A mistake but well-intentioned. She meddles, he frets, and they continue doggedly in their mismatched marriage.
I loved it.
I am working my way through the complete Palliser series, of which this is the fifth of six. Timothy West is a total revelation, each character beautifully and consistently voiced throughout the entire series. I find Trollope's characters engaging and the stories brilliantly told. Sometimes the political stuff can get a bit tedious but this is a small criticism when the series is giving me so much joy.
Riveting, tragic and frustrating. I wanted to shout at Emily to run away from the dreadful Ferdinand Lopez, the villain of the book whom she foolishly marries. The tragedy is the slow decline of our heroine Emily, the shameful waste of her youth, and supremely, the anguish of her loving father as he witnesses this. Lopez deceives many, gradually relieves his kind father-in-law of a fortune and is feted in society as he is making his wicked plans. One does get very involved with these characters.
Our villain, only too memorably, meets his death by a shocking form of unexpected suicide which is hard to forget. The happiest moment, right at the end, is disappointingly underplayed, being left mainly to the reader's imagination.
Timothy West, as always, keeps us on the edge of our seat, or in my case, bed! Every scene is vivid in the mind's eye and we have an epic dramatisation in the imagination as his voice unfolds scene after scene in so many varied settings. West paces his narration at the optimum tempo for our absorbing a scene, event, or character. We also also catch a glimpse of the poverty of the era, as Lopez's partner is ruined with a large starving family and a wife who fights for the justice owed her.
At over 55 hours, one cannot listen quickly! I found it excellent value for the monthly sub. I lived in the book for quite some time, and still do so after finishing it.
The PM himself did not seem to me, to be the main character. It's a punchy title and maybe he defines the era by providing the backdrop to the novel. I noted with some amusement that his wife calls him the full 'Plantaganet' in private. Finally, I will listen again after a while, as I feel sure there is much that one misses after only one playing. Thank you Audible!
This is a weakish book in Trollope's great Palliser series, beautifully read by Timothy West.
I am pleased I listened to follow the story through, not a waste of time at all, and anything with this narrator is worth hearing, but the other volumes in the series are so much better books.
The problem alluded to by other reviews appears to've been corrected, as I heard the complete novel. The incomparable Timothy West illuminates Trollope's prose in such a way that makes the experience of listening to it far more rewarding than silent reading ever could.
"Feb.18 Customer Service says ..."
they have "escalated this to the Audio Bug Department to be corrected, and will continue to monitor it's status. Depending upon the extent of the audio problem, we may be able to resolve this issue internally within about 2 weeks, however if we have to request a new copy of the title this may delay the time until it is resolved.
In the mean time, if you prefer not to wait until the file is repaired, please let us know and we will be able to remove the book from your library and issue you a full refund. " (call 1-888-283-5051 or email Customer Service)
Let's hope that it's fixed soon!
"Trollope goes too far this time"
This should have been a good book and the first 14 hours really were, with an interesting villain and some political & social maneuverings by old friends from the earlier Palliser novels. But honestly, everything was settled and finished after 14 hours, and there 7 hours left to go. Trollope's heroines do sometimes get tedious with their insistence on morbid self-punishment but this heroine takes the cake. She goes on and on until no one in the book cares any longer what happens to her and we readers stopped caring way before that. It seems like Trollope couldn't stop dragging it out. Indeed, the book doesn't really end. It just peters away from exhaustion.
That said, Simon Vance does a great reading. He has a deep and delicious voice perfect for Victorian novels, and distinguishes his various characters' voices and accents with a light but effective touch.
"Not the complete work"
I was very disappointed in this purchase of The Prime Minister. The audio is only a small part of the novel and yet I was charged full price. That is why I give it only one star. However, Timothy West is an excellent reader, if only he were reading the entire novel. Previously I have purchased and downloaded all of the audiobooks of Anthony Trollope. Many of them last more than twenty hours reading time and they were not sold in small parcels of the book. I hope that Audible will remedy this.
"Perfect Diction and Seamless Rhythm!"
The narration of this wonderful book by Timothy West is simply superb. Because he is so obviously absorbed in the story and the characters, the whole experience is rich and authentic. Timothy is such a consumate actor that he sweeps the listener into Trollope's world. Simply sublime! Interesting insight into the isolation of the lonely and self-doubting leader. This is a fascinating installment in this brilliant and engrossing series. Emily's resistance became a little tiresome but Trollope was probably endeavouring to protect the honour of his heroine. What a marvellous team: Timothy and Trollope! This series is pure bliss!
Timothy West does a brilliant job of bringing this book to life. Experienced no problems with the download that previous listeners have experienced.
"As of Feb. 18, 2011, 2/3 of the book is missing"
This is not the complete book; rather, it is less than 1/3. I am addicted to the Palliser series as read by Timothy West, and was extremely disappointed when I got to the end of the 5-hour file sold by Audible and the book was abruptly cut off in the middle of a scene. Further research confirmed that the complete book is at least three times longer.
I hope that Audible will fix this soon, since Trollope as read by Timothy West is a pure delight. Audible, while you are at it, please add the The Duke's Children, the last book in the series!! And please let us know when you will be providing us with the rest of the book that we purchased!!!
"Weakest plot of this series"
I've really come to appreciate Anthony Trollope, and love his dry sense of humor. The plot for this one is, I think, the weakest of the books in this series. I give it 3 stars ... Kind of drags at times, but on the plus side not much about parliamentary procedure.
"Enjoy your Job not the Prestige"
I liked the Plantagenet Palliser storyline in that people today must deal with decisions regarding life quality versus job prestige.
I was a bit disappointed with the Ferdinand Lopez storyline. I really did not feel that it was characteristic of that type of character to choose that way of ending life. I think that he would more convincingly have taken some others with him.
Nevertheless, as always, a very entertaining book! Well read by Timothy West.
This sprawling novel follows two main plots and sets of characters. Previous readers of the Palliser novels find Plantagenet Palliser, now Duke of Omnium and a member of the House of Lords, inveigled into becoming prime minister of an unstable coalition government. Meanwhile his wife, the inimitable Glencora, decides to reinvent herself as a grand political hostess, to her husband's exasperation and ultimate misfortune.
The second plot strand follows the story of Ferdinand Lopez, one of Trollope's most memorable villains. When Lopez courts Emily Wharton, her barrister father initially forbids the marriage to a "greasy Portuguese, probably a Jew", and indulges in one of the memorably xenophobic outbursts in the annals of fiction. Emily accuses her father of prejudice and eventually wins the right to marry Lopez; yet despite his racism, her father turns out to have been right about Lopez's character and motives. Trollope is always a keen observer of human psychology, and in Lopez he presents an extraordinary portrait of a narcissistic personality, who over the course of the novel subjects his wife and her father to escalating psychological abuse, while piece by piece losing his own grip on reality. When Lopez decides to enter politics as a liberal candidate, and is encouraged by the meddling Glencora Palliser, the two plot lines converge in a scandal which threatens to bring down Palliser's government.
I adore Trollope, and the Palliser novels are among the jewels in his crown. The Prime Minister contains some thrilling moments, but is a little marred by the last section of the book. After Lopez's death, which is surely one of the highpoints of the novel, the widowed Emily struggles to re-establish herself. As always, Trollope is psychologically spot on when he describes the victim mentality she has developed as a result of her husband's psychological abuse; but listening to her droning on about how she deserved the way she was treated becomes terribly tedious when repeated in chapter after chapter. Lopez might have been a bad egg, but he made the plot go like a firecracker when he was onstage, and without him, the storyline can't but suffer the loss. The political sections are amongst the best in these novels, but again, the most exciting bits occur earlier, and the last section altogether feels as if, like the coalition government, it is running out of steam. For this reason, I am only giving four stars instead of five to the actual story, but it's still a great listen, and no one can read these books quite like the incredible Timothy West.
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