In a first novel of thrilling immediacy, Foden tells the luckless and bloody story of a young Scottish doctor in the Ugandan bush. He is plucked from obscurity by Idi Amin to act first as medical adviser, then as cynical admirer, lastly as unwilling and often imperilled witness to the dictator's bloodlusts. With docu-drama fidelity, Foden sticks closely to the plot - but it is his deep feeling for Africa and a mature imagination which power a novel that is happy in the marriage of content and style.
A brilliantly realized account of Idi's (unfinished) life and career . . . an exhilarating success, and proof that the modern English novel can work with the big themes of politics and history
The characterization of Amin is highly convincing, the childish grossness and wonky charm far too much like the real thing for comfort. He is a vividly present personality, weak when tempted, forceful when thwarted, massively ignorant but with a fatal gleam of intelligence . . . An imposing début.
It compares favourably with Ryszard Kapuscinski's evocation of Haile Selassie in his novel The Emperor . . . Taking fiction into such territory as this is to be applauded. The Last King of Scotland is an auspicious début that bodes well for Foden's future work.
The central figure, and in many ways the hero, of this powerful first novel is Idi Amin . . . Foden has given us a dark, often comic picture of a country and a part of man where "God is not driving", in a superb first novel which demonstrates that he is a writer of tremendous invention and promise.
The shockingly surreal raw material of Idi Amin's character is put to complex fictional use. Foden's Amin is not just a monster, he is - mysteriously - touching and almost appealing, even while showing off an archbishop's frozen severed head. That is a genuine imaginative achievement.
Foden's Idi is a startingly interesting creation. He has the measure of the despot's "wicked brilliance"
A gripping tale of tropical corruption... This is a wonderful read, beautifully written, every description drenched with a sense of Africa
As convincing and terrifying a portrait of a capricious tyrant as I have ever read. Foden captures with absolute fidelity the fascination of a figure like Amin
Catches to perfection Idi Amin's contradictory, murderous, playful, brutal, sentimental character