Having said just the other day that I don’t tend to go for books with political leanings, I am making a liar of myself today with a review for another political book, The Benevolent Dictator by Tom Trott.
Ben longs to be prime minister one day. But with no political connections, he is about to crash out of a Masters degree with no future ahead. So when by chance he becomes fast friends with a young Arab prince, and is offered a job in his government, he jumps at the chance to get on the political ladder.
Amal dreads the throne. And with Ben’s help he wants to reform his country, steering it onto a path towards democracy. But with the king’s health failing, revolutionaries in the streets, and terrorism threatening everyone, the country is ready to tear itself apart.
Alone in a hostile land, Ben must help Amal weigh what is best against what is right, making decisions that will risk his country, his family, and his life.
The Benevolent Dictator is a book that makes you question what you thought you knew about emirate states and absolute monarchies, and raises important questions around the trustworthiness of the news sources available to us in today’s world. We hear a lot about fake news appearing in the press, but never question how much of this is propaganda handed out by the ruling parties. Reading The Benevolent Dictator certainly gave me pause regarding this.
Aside from the important messages that Tom Trott includes in his book, he also creates a wonderful friendship between two men who really could not be more different from each other in so many ways, but with the same underlying ordeals. As Ben enters into Amal’s world, their cultural differences become even more apparent, but throughout this their friendship remains firm. To me this presented another vital message regarding friendship and seeing people for who they are, not where they came from.
This is a fast-paced book, with plenty of action which escalates to a dramatic conclusion, and is easy to read in one sitting. For me though, thinking about the world we live in today, it is so much more than this.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tom Trott was born in Brighton. He first started writing at Junior School, where he and a group of friends devised and performed comedy plays for school assemblies, much to the amusement of their fellow pupils. Since leaving school and growing up to be a big boy, he has written a short comedy play that was performed at the Theatre Royal Brighton in May 2014 as part of the Brighton Festival; he has written Daye’s Work, a television pilot for the local Brighton channel, and he has won the Empire Award (thriller category) in the 2015 New York Screenplay Contest. He is the proverbial Brighton rock, and currently lives in the city with his wife.
Many thanks to Tom and to Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on the tour, and for providing my copy of the book. Full details of the blog tour can be found below.