Today I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Benevolent Dictator by Tom Trott as part of the blog tour by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. You can grab your own copy of this novella from Amamzon UK CLICK HERE
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.
Ben and Amal meet during a University debate. Ben has aspirations to make his mark in politics and discovers after chatting to Amal that his dream could become reality. Amal is a Prince and invites Ben to become his adviser.
This is a quick read at 187 pages and is very much a story about what happens when dreams become reality. With all the best will in the world you cannot take the theory of what you know, have learnt or have been taught and make it work in a practical way, especially when it is in a country you do not know. Unfortunately Ben discovers this the hard way.
The author has created a story of contrats, the contrast in the life style of Ben and Amal, the contrasts between their own countries and also in the traditions and cultures of their respective countries. I like this story a lot and I think this is because even though it has some political aspects it is not overly politicised. It is more about how Ben takes to his new role, how he deals with the change in Amal’s role. They built a friendship based on their own ideas of how Amal’s Emirate should be ruled, but when that the time comes to take on that role of responsibility how will Amal deal with it.
As I have said, I really enjoyed this story, it’s a quick read but also quite intense as I was taken into a world very different to my own. A world that has power struggles, danger and corruption with threats from activists and rebels. A world that the naive and inexperienced Ben has no idea about. A story that does have a very important message.
I do have to mention the title, how can a dictator be benevolent? Very ironic title and I think it does actually fit really well as I now write up my review.
It is a book I would recommend for those who like a story that does have politics and ideologies but is essentially how Ben gets to glimpse a culture different from his own and see’s the good and the bad side of it. One I would definitely recommend.
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.
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