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The Afghan Mass Market Paperback – August 7, 2007


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Reprint edition (August 7, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451221834
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451221834
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 4.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

In Forsyth's latest novel, British and American intelligence forces learn of an impending al-Qaeda terrorist strike. However, they don't know exactly when or where the strike will take place. Their solution: to have one of their own officers infiltrate the terrorist group, posing as one of its own. It's an inventive story, and Forsyth spins it eloquently and with enough nail-biting suspense to leave readers' fingertips raw. One of the masters of the political thriller, Forsyth writes with a bare-bones, reportorial style that makes his stories feel as realistic as anything one might read in the daily newspaper. He set the standard for political thrillers with 1971's Day of the Jackal, and, although he has myriad competitors today, no one else has managed to make the very flatness of the documentarian's style an effective instrument for generating tension. Forsyth's name doesn't draw a crowd the way it used to, but this one deserves the attention of those who read such modern espionage masters as Daniel Silva. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This is not Forsythe's best.
M. E. Dungo
The hero is retired SAS officer Mike Martin who attempts to infiltrate Al-Qaeda via his resemblance and command of Arabic and dialects (but not Pushtan) .
Bachelier
The book is mostly exposition very little plot.
Ohng

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 99 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In general, I am highly skeptical of the "international political thriller" genre, however I will concede that Forsyth is a master storyteller well worth anyone's time. "Day of the Jackal" and "The Odessa File" have got to be in the genre's all time top five, and I also greatly enjoyed his short story collection "No Comebacks." This latest book, while perfectly serviceable and engaging (as long as you don't think too hard about it), falls well short of these.

Through a gripping opening highlighting the use of technology in the "war on terror", Western intelligence agencies learn of the existence of an impending Al-Qaeda attack that will be even more shocking than 9/11. Unfortunately, they don't have a clue what it is, or how to find out. A chance remark (one of the many, many coincidences required by the plot), leads them to enlist retired SAS officer Mike Martin in a desperate attempt to infiltrate Al-Qaeda. They do this via an elaborate switcheroo with an Afghan who's been disappeared into Guantanamo for five years. In another massive (though, alas, not the most egregious) coincidence, Martin just happens to have known this Afghan years ago while fighting the Soviets. The first half of the book involves setting this plan up,and the second half follows Martin's attempt to uncover the plot. (Apparently Martin was the hero of an earlier Forsyth book, "The Fist of God", however, I've not read it. Other reviewers report an egregious number of continuity errors between the two books relating to Martin.)

The story unfolds so that readers not particularly conversant with the "war on terror" and the history of Al-Qaeda will get brought fully up to speed. There's also a very clunky section explaining the difference between mainstream Islam and extremist Wahabbism.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Gaurang Mokashi on April 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Being a great fan of Frederick Forsyth, I was eagerly waiting for the next installment of intrigue and drama from the great one.

The Afghan was big disappointment for me. The book falls short on a number of accounts when compared to his previous offerings. Detailed information and complex plot are Forsyth hallmarks. This novel fails in both aspects. Also the story lacks the drive and engrossing quality of his other novels. If you add an ending which peters out rather than reaching the climax then you have a very oridinary novel by Forsyth standards.

But then again, the novel is ordinary only by his own standards. If you have not read a Forsyth novel before then it can be a good read. Also the media hype surrounding Al-qaeda and taliban and easy availibility of information about them may have taken out some intrigue from the book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Afghan will be most appealing to people who don't know much about Al Qaeda, antiterrorism, current military technology, and recent Afghan history and want to get a smattering in novel form. For those who are knowledgeable in those areas, this plot is filled with unnecessary details that considerably slow down the story. In addition, the plot is so far-fetched in places that you'll wonder if you are supposed to be reading a fairy tale or a realistic thriller. Strangely, the book contains more than its share of factual errors that hurt the credibility of the story. Above all, I found myself always feeling like I was reading a story rather than being drawn into something that seemed real to me.

Occasionally, the book reminds you of Day of the Jackel for a few paragraphs . . . but mostly the emotional juice has been replaced with artificial sweetener. I think the biggest weakness of The Afghan is that you probably won't identify with the protagonist all that much. In the best of Forsyth's books, someone is trying to save the world and you find yourself rooting strongly for and identifying with them. That identification with the hero simply isn't strong enough here to allow that kind of reading pleasure.

Basically, Mr. Forsyth tried a little too hard. With a slightly different and more plausible plot, fewer details, and a more accessible hero, this could have been a terrific story.

If you don't know the book's basic premise, let me summarize it for you. A senior Al Qaeda operative's computer is captured after a ridiculous security breach. On the computer comes a veiled reference to a new operation. What's going on?

Through a string of coincidences, it occurs to the powers-that-be that they may be able to infiltrate a ringer to find out the plot.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Jon on March 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Well below Forsyth standard. As another review noted an incredible string of "coincidences". A character escapes literally by means of a bolt out of the blue, which destroys the walls and kills guards but does not injure him. He then finds added assets under impossible conditions with no possible way of knowing where to look. There are even more one-in-a- million coincidences in this part of the book but any more would spoil it assuming any remaining credibility.

Several screaming factual errors. Chivas Regal is a fine Scotch but it is not a single Malt. Forsyth should know this. The mentioned jet took off from Pensacola "Air Force" base. Pensacola is a Naval base. The Air Force base in the area is Eglin.

Major loose ends at the end, like how did the bad guys know enough to plan their attack, which required very closely held information.

Lots of good material but some real blunders along the way.

I feel he has treated great character very shabbily.
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