The Prime Minister by Anthony Trollope
Plantaganet Palliser, Prime Minister of England - a man of power and prestige, with all the breeding and inherited wealth that goes with it - is appalled at the inexorable rise of Ferdinand Lopez. An exotic impostor, seemingly from nowhere, Lopez has society at his feet, while well-connected ladies vie with each other to exert influence on his behalf - even Palliser's own wife, Lady Glencora. But when the interloper makes a socially advantageous marriage, Palliser must decide whether to stand by his wife's support for Lopez in a by-election or leave him to face exposure as a fortune-hunting adventurer. A novel of social, sexual and domestic politics, The Prime Minister raises one of the most enduring questions in government - whether a morally scrupulous gentleman can make an effective leader.