IDS 'the thinking man's Archer'

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Indy Politics

His agent says he's "the thinking man's Jeffrey Archer". The general public is about to get the chance to make its own mind up.

After two years in which it has become something of a standing joke in the literary world, Iain Duncan Smith's first novel, The Devil's Tune, is finally due to appear in bookshops later this month.

However, there is no sign, as yet, of the kind of grand launch party enjoyed by fellow Tory scribes such as Lord Archer and Edwina Currie. Instead, both his publisher, Robson Books, and his agent, Guy Rose, appear to be rather coy about their newest writer, with neither prepared to confirm exactly when the book will be out or whether it is to be serialised.

Moreover, as it remains under strict embargo, only a handful of people have any idea what it is about, other than that it is set in Greece, Washington DC and London.

Despite this, Mr Rose is hoping for a modest return on his investment, and on his website he is inviting bids for the film rights. But asked when The Devil's Tune was likely to surface, he would only say: "It's coming out very, very soon and we have all sorts of plans for it." As to whether anyone had yet chosen to option the movie rights Mr Rose replied: "That's one of the reasons we can't be as open as we might otherwise be."

Described as "a catchy crime thriller with political overtones", the book first came to public attention in 2001, when it emerged that it had been turned down by the leading London literary agent Gillon Aitken. In his rejection letter, reproduced in The Times, he criticised the "superficial style", "undemanding" plot and lack of character development.

Earlier this year, the Tory leader appeared to have saved some face when he finally found a publisher, but soon found himself ridiculed again when it emerged that the advance he had received was a paltry £2,500.

Wry smiles have also been raised at his eventual choice of publisher. Robson Books' latest catalogue includes autobiographies by former newsreader Jan Leeming and soap star Kate O'Mara, a tome about the tangled lives of late TV presenters Paula Yates and Hughie Green, and an explicit bedroom guide entitled Over 200 Amazing Sex Tricks for Women.