Buddha of Brewer Street

Michael Dobbs, Author HarperCollins Publishers $27 (0p) ISBN 978-0-00-225412-0
For fans of the Machiavellian Prime Minister Francis Urquhart, the antiheroic protagonist of Dobbs's previous trilogy (adapted for TV as House of Cards, starring Ian Richardson), Thomas Goodfellowe, a decent, down-on-his-political-luck backbencher, is an unenticing replacement. Likewise, few readers will be tempted by the second installment's ludicrous intrigue involving the Chinese government's attempts to find and kidnap the newly reincarnated, British-born Dalai Lama. A former political adviser to Margaret Thatcher and John Major, Dobbs seems to have gone soft since New Labour took power, if Goodfellowe's soap-operatic midlife crisis is an indicator. With his wife hospitalized for depression, his teenage daughter hiding family planning and pregnancy leaflets and his junior ministerial career over, Goodfellowe is totally unprepared to be enlisted by Buddhist monks in the search for the next Dalai Lama. Dobbs delivers plenty of international cat-and-mouse episodes, stretching from London's Chinatown to Tibet, along with scenes of Chinese human rights abuses that would alarm Amnesty International, but none of this adds up to much of a read. Although there are good guys to cheer for and baddies to boo in the race to find the special child in England's Tibetan refugee community, this featherweight entertainment has no punch. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1997
Release date: 12/01/1997
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7540-0194-2
Paperback - 374 pages - 978-0-00-649798-1
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