Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Icon - Frederick Forsyth

Date of Reading: 06/10/2007
Author: Frederick Forsyth
Publisher: Corgi Books
Place: Great Britain
Year: 1996

          Thrillers or detective novels are best when it comes to train journeys; especially if you are in an Express or Superfast which goes slower than a Passenger and is held down in different stations for reasons I know not what. It is on one such journey that I came upon this novel -- a random search in the library revealed the worn out book in the corner and it looked like a good one too for the three hour ride home.
          I never got a chance to read any more of Forsyth, but thanks to this absorbing tale, much fretting is avoided, though the train was late by one hour. Isn't that what great about books? For Keats escape may be through imagination, for Coleridge the opium, but to some others like me its books.
         Now about the story; its a gripping action thriller interspersed with many flashbacks (which is the most interesting part) and as usual of the books of the period reflects the cold war in its extremities, ie., the good American saving the world from the evil Russians. Its a relief that now the place of Russians is taken by aliens and wizards or sometimes vampires and Greek Gods.
          Hero is Jason Monk, and ex-CIA agent and the setting is the Russia of 1999. Igor V. Komarov, the leader of UPF (Union of Patriotic Forces) is expected to be the next President. Meanwhile, Leonid Zaitsev, the office cleaner of the party headquarters, finds a black document on the table of  Akopov, the secretary. Its written by Komorov and is about his plans of killing the Jews and other terrorists in Russia. Zaitsev passes it to British Embassy and soon gets killed along with Akopov by Colonel Grishin, the personal bodyguard of Komarov.
          Now Monk is approached by Sir Nigel Irvine, the former chief of British Secret Intelligence. He has worked in Russia before with four agents who is later murdered by Colonel Grishin as their identities are leaked from headquarters. Though he finds out the betrayer, CIA throws him out in humiliation. Now is his chance to strike back.
         Monk works diligently this time in Moscow, meeting important Russian figures and revealing the Black manifesto. In spite of Komarov's attempts papers get the news and his rates go down. Sir Nigel plans to bring back the tsar. Grishin tries to capture Moscow on New Year's Eve but Monk's timely intervention spoils the plan; he kills Grishin. Russia returns to the rule of tsar.

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