Don Brash was right to get worried about Nicky Hager's The Hollow Men. The book - widely foreshadowed by Labour politicians from the Prime Minister down as the "book of emails" that would come out before Christmas and put the skids under National's leader - clearly derives its authenticity from the contents of the stolen cache of Brash's personal emails.
Unfortunately for Brash he was not around to hear Sir Roger Douglas, a fellow traveller, tell an Auckland business bash on Thursday night that "in politics as in other areas you cannot blink".
He had already resigned so that the party could get itself on a sound footing behind John Key - his own privately anointed leader - to fight the next election.
We are asked to believe Hager's drum that the "leaked papers came from the highest levels of the National Party hierarchy [six people in particular]" who the author says were profoundly unhappy that National's "good" election campaign took Brash to within a hair's breadth of becoming Prime Minister in 2005.
It would not take any seasoned political analyst long to figure out just who would benefit from the publication of these many emails between Brash, prominent business people, lobby groups, Exclusive Brethren, and his own backroom staff and close colleagues.
The English camp - those associated with the dumped former leader - will not suffer any collateral damage from Hager's hatchet job.
But the book could just as easily be based on documents lifted from Parliament's server by private investigators working for Brash's opponents, instead of the National Party insiders Hager claims provided him with the leaked papers.
These are papers which Hager says comprised "a parcel of research" he provided for the Sunday Star-Times to base its story "How ACT helped Brash takeover" two weeks before the election, because he was concerned the classic Don Brash image was, at least in part, false advertising.
The Star-Times said the story was based on National sources - not the workings of the Wellington-based researcher.
What a rats' nest.
There is no evidence in this book that Hager has made any attempt at all to seek reactions to or verification of his more significant claims.
The emails do provide some interesting insights on the business influences which backed Brash into power. But there are no surprises.
Brash has been a full-blown member of New Zealand's "New Right" for two decades and is a longtime friend of the leading economic reformers of the 1980s and 1990s, who saw in his election as leader a chance to get the reform agenda rolling again. No secret about that.
Hager reveals controversial allegations such as a proposal by the Talley brothers (offshore tax exiles based in Europe) to basically launder a $1 million donation to repackage Brash through a trust called Vco to avoid any declarations of political party funding. We do not know if it was done. This calls into question the seniority of Hager's insider sources.
But the allegation should still be inquired into by the Electoral Commission to see if the proposed election laundromat did go into overdrive or was shelved by National officials concerned at its propriety.
The usual centre-right suspects are named as probable donors to National's Waitemata Trust, which steered anonymous donations into the 2005 campaign. But there are no concrete names and amounts.
In page after page Hager hints at hidden agendas.
He calls into question National's roading and accident compensation policies and the role of lobbyists in constructing speeches.
And he raises issues about the tactics Brash's former chief of staff Richard Long advised to head off questions about the Exclusive Brethren's influence.
It's abundantly clear that the PM and her deputy Michael Cullen were in on the publication of this book well before press gallery journalists got wind of it. The author's obvious anti-business bias is laid bare.
I just hope the news media give as much space to Brash's explanations as they do to Hager's one-sided treatise.
Key will not lose any sleep over the book's contents.
It was Richard Long who constructed the lines his leader and other backroom players used to dissemble over the Exclusive Brethren's role in funding attack advertising against National's opponents. Not the finance spokesman.
Key will be National's leader on Monday.
If Hager wants to be taken seriously he should then turn his attention to Labour's election rorts.