A chilling story of modern terrorism from the grandmaster of international intrigue
A chilling story of modern terrorism from the grandmaster of international intrigue.
T he Day of the Jackal, The Dogs of War, The Odessa File-the books of Frederick Forsyth have helped define the international thriller as we know it today. Combining meticulous research with crisp narratives and plots as current as the headlines, Forsyth shows us the world as it is in a way that few have ever been able to equal.
And the world as it is today is a very scary place.
When British and American intelligence catch wind of a major Al Qaeda operation in the works, they instantly galvanize- but to do what? They know nothing about it: the what, where, or when. They have no sources in Al Qaeda, and it's impossible to plant someone. Impossible, unless . . .
The Afghan is Izmat Khan, a five-year prisoner of Guantanamo Bay and a former senior commander of the Taliban. The Afghan is also Colonel Mike Martin, a twenty-five-year veteran of war zones around the world-a dark, lean man born and raised in Iraq. In an attempt to stave off disaster, the intelligence agencies will try to do what no one has ever done before-pass off a Westerner as an Arab among Arabs-pass off Martin as the trusted Khan.
It will require extraordinary preparation, and then extraordinary luck, for nothing can truly prepare Martin for the dark and shifting world into which he is about to enter. Or for the terrible things he will find there.
Filled with remarkable detail and compulsive drama, The Afghan is further proof that Forsyth is truly master of suspense.
Forsyth writes as if preparing for the movie or television miniseries he knows will surely follow. His multiple focus in terms of characters and settings makes for thrilling cinema and engrossing reading, but in an audio version, a global smattering of Afghani, Arabic, Pakistani, British, Indonesian and other names can cause a bout of verbal vertigo. Wise listeners will replay the first CD or at least part of it. Once the characters, ships and locales are in place, the narrative is much easier to follow, despite Forsyth's love of minutiae. Powell plods through the novel with all the enthusiasm of a distracted Oxbridge tutor. His presentation is careful and eloquent but ultimately dull. He doesn't understand the nuances of most accents, including those of the Americans, all of whom have gruff voices. Powell does best with his performance of Colonel Mike Martin, the reluctant hero of this tale. The action, when it comes, is too little and too late to hold one's attention on audio. Powell's lethargic pace inflates this particular flaw in Forsyth's novel. It would be better to read the print version or wait for the film. Simultaneous release with the Putnam hardcover (Reviews, June 5). (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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August 20, 2006
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