By William Rowe
When our hero, Neil Godwin, at age 24 and fresh from Oxford, is asked by Newfoundland’s aging Premier Percy Clapp to join his cabinet, he considers this appointment tantamount to anointment. Thus begins his education in the ways and wiles of political expediency and demagoguery. Handsome, articulate, hugely witty and married into the best family Newfoundland society has to offer, Godwin begins his rake’s progress to the highest office.
Yet Clapp, whose pernicious guile and disarming powers of oratory seem to provide the means to everlasting political power if not immortal life itself, is in no hurry to vacate his rock. While at first amused by Clapp’s rash and reckless style, the better he knows him the more Godwin comes to distrust and yet also become implicated in the Machiavellian maneuvers of the scoundrel. Acutely aware of his own moral shortcomings yet unable to fend off temptation Godwin becomes embroiled in intrigues and scandals that rival those of the Elizabethan court for cruelty, corruption and backstabbing betrayal. To unseat Clapp, Godwin must sink to the dirtiest of dirty tricks but at what cost to his carefully wrought ideals?
Clapp’s Rock is raw, bawdy, and outrageous. It is also a wickedly cunning satire of the ambitions, gullibility and pride of the political animal everywhere. Both comic and condemning, Clapps’ Rock is nevertheless faithful to the anarchic spirit of Newfoundland and its people.
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