Tory Chief Whip and devoted Thatcherite, Norman Armstrong, was born into a powerful political and military dynasty dating back to the English Civil War. His unlikely friend, influential left-wing political commentator, Alf Burton, is from a family of Tyneside shipyard workers, and remains haunted by bitter memories of Depression era poverty, disease and starvation. Early in their careers, a chaotic fight in a parliamentary bar cemented their deep and lasting bond. By the summer of 1983, following a landslide election victory, Norman is eagerly embracing his government’s second term, while Alf grows ever more fearful of the future.
Alf confides to Norman his chance discovery of a politically sensitive manuscript by wealthy Edwardian novelist and human rights crusader, Charlotte Morris, hoping to leverage even greater exclusive access to the inner workings of the Cabinet, but not even Alf is prepared for the lengths to which the government will go to keep the documents under wraps. Meanwhile, Britain is lurching toward one of the most brutal, protracted and all-encompassing social and industrial battles in its history.
By 1984, Sir Norman Armstrong is Home Secretary and the unrepentant architect of the police response to the Miners’ Strike, while Alf has aligned himself strongly and publicly with the miners’ cause. Their friendship is strained beyond breaking point amid accusations of personal betrayal, police and judicial corruption, the aftermath of deadly picket-line violence, and a devastating family tragedy.
"...Reads like a mix of House of Cards and Yes (Prime) Minister..." (The Banqueting Club - Goodreads)
"...I have to take my hat off to George Fairbrother, the sheer amount of research needed to give this book such an authentic feel must have taken years..." (Armstrong's Army - Goodreads)
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Although the principal characters in the Armstrong & Burton novels are wholly fictitious, a number of real people make cameo appearances, and many of the events that underpin the narrative really happened. Link here to find out more about the real history behind the stories,
including the Miners' Strike, Boer War concentration camps, the Jarrow March, the Abdication Crisis,
and 1970s and 80s British politics.
Read more about the characters, the world they inhabit, and the inspiration behind them here;
Talented voice artist Alistair McMillan was interviewed by the East Anglian Daily Times about his work narrating The Banqueting Club. Link here.
George Fairbrother and the Armstrong & Burton Series are proud co-sponsors of Oliver Crocker's The Bill Podcast,
and the scripted audio series, Letter from Helvetica.