From Publishers Weekly
"The master is back," the promo goes, "with his best thriller since The Day of the Jackal." A bold statement: while no Jackal, this strong and memorable novel is his best in decades, and as good as The Odessa File and The Dogs of War. It is the story of vigilante Cal Dexter's pursuit of a Serbian warlord into the jungles of the fictional Republic of San Martin. Dexter, former Vietnam tunnel rat, now small-town attorney and clandestine kidnapper of refugees from justice, is after Zoran Zilic, a gangster who has escaped Serbia with a fortune but not before savagely killing an American aid worker who happens to be the grandson of a billionaire mining magnate. It's the magnate who sets in motion the operation against Zilic, first through a man known as "The Tracker," who locates him, then via the Avenger, whose task is to bring Zilic to American justice. But Zilic is protected in his South American jungle compound not only by the best security money can buy but also by a top FBI man who plans to use the warlord to help take out a dangerous terrorist named Usama bin Laden; much of the narrative takes place within weeks of 9/11, and is laced with irony. Forsyth fans won't be surprised that the action, always exciting, is supported by numerous briefings on matters geopolitical, historical and scientific; with Jackal, Forsyth established the now traditional formula of thrillers that educate as well as entertain. The digressions are frequent early on but no page lacks interest and the novel's second half, which focuses on the Avenger's attempted snatch of Zilic, is pure gold. This will hit bestseller lists high and hard and a sequel seems likely.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* The Day of the Jackal
, The Dogs of War
, The Odessa File--
these Forsyth blockbusters helped define the international conspiracy thriller. Forsyth's newest novel, his fourteenth, could well return him to those lofty heights. Once again, his crisp narration leads readers through labyrinths of criminal and espionage plots and through land mines of warfare, historical, contemporary, and threatening (the book stops on September 10, 2001). One of the amazing features of Forsyth's writing is the way he spotlights seemingly random, unconnected events, usually involving armed conflict, and then gradually weaves them all together into a seamless plot. This time out, World War II, Vietnam, Bosnia, and Cambodia take turns commanding center stage, held together by two protagonists: a middle-aged lawyer and an aging business tycoon, who have both suffered devastating losses. The tycoon's loss, that of his grandson on a relief mission in Bosnia, becomes subsumed in the mission of attorney Calvin Dexter, grieving father and former 'Nam tunnel rat, whose mission in life is to bring justice to those who have gotten away with murder. Perhaps the most fascinating part of the book is the in-depth chronicle (based on real-life stories of surviving veterans) of the excruciating, perilous work of the tunnel rats in ferreting out the Vietcong in their vast underground lairs. Forsyth's extraordinary care with detail, his solid voice, and his exquisite pacing make this a totally engrossing thriller. Connie FletcherCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved