THE MARMALADE FILES - Steve Lewis & Chris Uhlmann

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

One of the biggest problems with the blanding out of Australian Federal politics and society is that Political Satire seems to have disappeared around the back, probably mugged by some idiot with a bias obsession. Well that is until THE MARMALADE FILES where I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to finally find something to laugh about coming out of Canberra. In an amused way, not that panicked titter that escapes when you realise that the idiot on the telly who just said what they said may actually be believed by someone out there...

As a political junkie I will admit to being somewhat predisposed to love THE MARMALADE FILES simply because of some of the opening cracks. It really didn't hurt that it's obviously fact wrapped up in fiction, with the names changed to protect the innocent (for the nanosecond it takes for you to replace the fictional name with the true life name). Well, it didn't hurt until there were aspects of the plot that got a bit too real, too feasible for comfort mind you. What with a dumped Prime Minister / Foreign Minister with a control fetish right down to refusing to die when everything physical had shut down.... A Defence Minister in bucket loads of trouble over his relationship with a Chinese Spy... And a Liberal Leader well entangled in a Finance Department plot to down the Prime Minister. There are other characters who are so magnificently real that you just know, somewhere deep in the bowels of Canberra Society, there are some press secretaries and intelligence analysts that aren't going to be buying Uhlmann and Lewis a drink anytime soon... then again, maybe it's a badge of honour to get a gig in a book like this. It should be. It's hilarious.

Whilst THE MARMALADE FILES is definitely more on the satire side than a straight-forward thriller, it sets a cracking pace. You have to wonder whether the authors have gotten themselves caught in the 24 hour media vortex and simply can't let go. Regardless of how or why, or what the book is, this was a fantastic read, although I think those who are less interested in politics as a spectator sport might not see the glorious wonder of some of the in-jokes and references. Now, whenever anything, no matter how normal or how odd, occurs in Canberra's political halls, all I'm going to be wondering is how these two are going to spin that into the next book.

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An imaginative romp through the dark underbelly of politics by two veteran Canberra insiders.

When seasoned newshound Harry Dunkley is slipped a compromising photograph one frosty Canberra dawn he knows he′s onto something big. In pursuit of the scoop, Dunkley must negotiate the deadly corridors of power where the minority Toohey Government hangs by a thread - its stricken Foreign Minister on life support, her heart maintained by a single thought. Revenge.

Rabid Rottweilers prowl in the guise of Opposition senators, union thugs wage class warfare, TV anchors simper and fawn ... and loyalty and decency have long since given way to compromise and treachery.

From the teahouses of Beijing to the beaches of Bali, from the marbled halls of Washington to the basements of the bureaucracy, Dunkley′s quest takes him ever closer to the truth - and ever deeper into a lethal political game.

Review THE MARMALADE FILES - Steve Lewis & Chris Uhlmann
Karen Chisholm
Monday, April 29, 2013

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