An extract from Time of Lies by Douglas Board

June 5, 2019 - 4:24 am No Comments

So after yesterday’s extract of MBA, today I have an extract from Time of Lies by Douglas Board

Blurb: In 2020 the UK elects its own Donald Trump as Prime Minister – Bob Grant, uneducated Bermondsey geezer and self-made millionaire. The election slogan of Bob’s BG party is ‘Britain’s Great! End of!’.

Zack, a Guardian-reading out-of-work actor, can’t believe that his brother Bob has his finger on Britain’s nuclear trigger. Patrick Smath, the Eton-educated permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence, practically wet himself at having to tell Bob Britain’s most closely-guarded secret for the last 25 years. In the closing pages of the novel, Patrick is lying naked on the playing fields of Eton. Angela Deil is a big cheese TV presenter/journalist. ACERBIC has been Britain’s most closely-guarded defence secret for 25 years. The black dots indicate the defence staff who were in on the secret and have died. Bob tells the story

Extract: Behind the naked buttocks a row of oak and birch, and a sycamore in a garden; behind the sycamore a house in shadow; behind the house exploding orchid petals of pink, with pistils of sunlight landing on Dutchman’s playing fields. Dutchman’s and Agar’s Plough alone comprise more than twenty of Eton’s playing fields. I shift on my collapsible golf stool and swig coffee from a flask. It’s just gone five thirty in the morning.

The man is naked, shivering on mown grass, his head face down towards the west. As the planet’s rotation propels him feet-first towards the sun, he sees between blades of grass the school he attended for six years. Rope from a ship’s chandler tethers his wrists and ankles to pegs. On his left buttock ‘Britain’s Great! End of!’ has been written in purple lipstick. The bleeding from his left earlobe, now augmented with a single diamanté ring, has stopped. An hour ago he writhed and pissed himself.

‘Your after-action police protection was a shocker,’ I comment. The police officers parked outside Patrick’s house hadn’t noticed a night-time drone skimming the tarmac to arrive underneath them, releasing a gas. ‘Still, sevoflurane isn’t the kind of vile shit you used on me. The binding and gagging had to be on the generous side but they’ll be up and about stopping black teenagers again in no time.’

‘Dawn. So what’s going to happen?’

‘Angela Deil, with a news camera.’

‘Spinning some cock and bull story about how you were drugged and hypnotised will be a waste of time. You may not have noticed but your current reputation stinks.’

‘Please think of your bodacious plot as the Yorkshire pudding in our meal: beside it is beef which has hung and matured in the dark for twenty-six years. Its incredible flavour is about to become a worldwide phenomenon. Don’t bite your lip so hard, Patrick, you’ve bled enough already.’

A column of ants climbs up Patrick’s right shoulder. A ping on my phone says Angela is maybe ten minutes away. A grasshopper tires of blades and lands on the curls of Patrick’s hair. Most grasshoppers are vegetarian, but to this one the column of its neopteran kin looks like lunch on the go.

‘So, the black dots in the ACERBIC room.’ I slop water from a plastic bottle over Patrick’s nose and lips. He sucks in what he can.

‘What about them?’

‘How young they were. I mean, some of the generals were well old when they were snapped, but they still haven’t kicked the bucket. They do say being a senior officer is like living in Switzerland; it’s particularly good for your health.’

‘The adjutant I knew died of a particularly aggressive cancer.’

‘Why did you have any youngsters in on the secret? Of course, it was far too inky work for all the gold braid pinned to that wall. But then being young and junior and all that, they’re not quite as trustworthy, are they, as the ruling class? No peerages or knighthoods to lose. Not quite enough skin in the game. They risk succumbing to the sweet smell of cash. So a risk, but one which you managed. You might call it cancer – I’ll call it a life-shortening dose of being junior.’

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Author Bio

Douglas Board is the author of the campus satire MBA (Lightning Books, 2015), which asked why so much of the business world is Managed By Arseholes. Time of Lies, his second novel, is a timely exploration of the collapse of democracy.

Born in Hong Kong, he has degrees from Cambridge and Harvard and worked for the UK Treasury and then as a headhunter. He has also had a distinguished career in public life, serving as treasurer of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and chairing the British Refugee Council.

As well as writing fiction, he is the author of two applied research books on leadership, which was the subject of his doctorate. He is currently a senior visiting fellow at the Cass Business School in London. He and his wife Tricia Sibbons live in London and Johannesburg.

Social Media Links

Twitter: @BoardWryter

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