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A Very British Coup by Chris Mullin. A similar plot to 'The State of the Nation'. A left wing leader of the Labour party is elected as British PM. The British establishment is out to stop him. Will they succeed? This is well paced but the characters are not as well drawn as those of Shea's. However the bad guys are less unredeemably evil and so more believable. Hence the result is much more disturbing.
The Last Days of America and The Crash of 79 by Paul Erdman. Erdman is excellent in creating alternative future histories which are believable even when stray into the improbable. They are still believable even when with hindsight we know history went a different way. The first involves complicated plots and corruption concerning arms deals in Europe. The second involves the machinations of the Shah of Iran (read this book and realise what we were saved by the Shah being overthrown in 79). Where his books fail is that all the characters are one-dimensional but the pace is fast enough that you almost don't notice that you don't care a monkey's what happens to these people.
The Dangerous Edge by Tim Renton. Two aid workers are taken hostage but this novel focuses not on Beirut but the political infighting back in London over what should be done to resolve the crisis. Tim Renton is a former Conservative Chief Whip and is able to go into almost excessive detail and I soon began to get confused by all the minor characters. Any yet that seems to be Renton's point - in a confused situation it can be the detail that is more important than the big picture. Jock Meldrum-Ross is a junior minister and a nonentity. It seems curious that Renton makes him the focus of this story yet it is on him that the outcome turns. There are few likeable characters in this book but they are believable.
Woman on the Edge of Time Marge Piercy. The heroine finding herself dumped in a mental hospital finds refuge in dreams about a future in which an egalitarian society lives in real harmony with nature. Slowly she realises this future is facing grave dangers and that her problems of surviving in a brutalising institution are intimately connected to thwarting that danger. Moves with a good pace and has a well developed main character.