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The Knives

Richard T. Kelly

Richard T Kelly returns to the broad canvas of his acclaimed debut Crusaders with a vividly detailed and dramatically powerful novel of our times.

Date Published
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‘The knives are out for you, always. But that is the mission you accepted, David. So you have to face the knives, with fortitude. Just as we ask of the great British public…’

As Home Secretary in Her Majesty’s Government, David Blaylock’s daily work involves the control of Britain’s borders, the oversight of her police force, and the struggle against domestic terror threats. Some say the job is impossible; Blaylock insists he is tough enough. But around Westminster the gossip-mongers say his fiery temper is a liability.

An ex-soldier from a modest background, Blaylock has a life-story that the public respects. Privately, though, he carries pain and remorse – over some grievous things he saw in the army, and his estrangement from an ex-wife and three children for whom he still cares. A solitary figure in a high-pressure world, with no place to call home, Blaylock is never sure whom he can trust or whether his decisions are the right ones. Constantly in his mind is the danger of an attack on Britain’s streets. But over the course of one fraught autumn Blaylock finds that danger moving menacingly closer to his own person.

Critic Reviews

A gripping read from start to finish. A rich, multi-layered account of the complexities of modern government where personal, political and cultural realities mean simple choices are hard to come by.

Alastair Campbell
Critic Reviews

Richard T Kelly’s The Knives is a welcome and overdue break from the past – the best novel about modern politics I have read in years . . . Kelly has done his research and interviewed civil servants and politicians. He has grasped the speed of politics; how crises fall on ministers like guerrilla attacks . . . Of course, if research were all Kelly could do, he would have produced journalism not fiction. As The Knives progresses, disconcerted readers begin to realise we are in the hands of a deft storyteller, and we should not trust our first impressions. It is as much an exploration of self-destructive male vanity as politics.

Nick Cohen, Observer
Critic Reviews

An exciting novel . . . A finely honed slice of modern political drama . . . it grips from the off. This book could not also be more timely, with the threat to MPs' personal safety and radicalisation on British soil as alive on these pages as they are in tomorrow's headlines

Critic Reviews

Truth is stranger than fiction, and no one knows that more than Richard Kelly . . . while Kelly followed Theresa May’s career closely for his research, even he couldn’t have predicted quite how timely his tale would be . . . Kelly is now an accidental expert on the new Prime Minister.

Londoner's Diary, Evening Standard
Critic Reviews

[A] tale of political jeopardy . . . [Kelly] is admirably unjudgemental in his portrait of Blaylock and his politics, and admirably nuanced . . . a sympathetic portrait of a man adrift in the swirling sea of politics.

Andrew Holgate, Sunday Times
Critic Reviews

The current political climate, with reality giving fiction a run for its money, is one in which the jaded reader might be hard to impress. Which makes Richard T Kelly’s The Knives all the more admirable . . . This is a sharp and engaging tale . . . Kelly makes lives the reader can believe in. Novels are thrilling in the truest sense when they feel as if they are built of flesh and blood; it’s Kelly’s success in doing so that makes his final twist of the knife even more shocking.

Erica Wagner, Financial Times
Richard T.Kelly

Richard T Kelly is the author of the novels Crusaders (2008) and The Possessions of Doctor Forrest (2011). Eclipse, his first script for television, aired on Channel 4 in 2010. He has written several studies of filmmakers: Alan Clarke (1998), The Name of this Book is Dogme 95 (2000), and the authorized biography Sean Penn: His Life & Times (2004).…

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Richard T.Kelly