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Avenger Paperback – 1 Sep 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi; New Ed edition (1 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552150444
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552150446
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 2.7 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 157,041 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Frederick Forsyth is the author of a number of bestselling novels including The Day of the Jackel, The Odessa File, The Dogs of War, The Devil's Alternative and The Fourth Protocol. He lives in Hertfordshire, England. www.frederickforsyth.co.uk

Product Description

Amazon Review

Avenger is the latest international thriller by Frederick Forsyth, who needs no introduction: his past bestsellers in this vein include The Day of the Jackal and The Odessa File.

The avenger is Calvin Dexter, outwardly a small-town US lawyer, who was shaped into a formidable killing machine by Vietnam. There are horrific flashbacks to his war career as a "Tunnel Rat", fighting the Vietcong at close quarters in their own deadly underground labyrinths. After taking the law into his own hands for a bitter personal revenge on a Central American mobster, Dexter hires out his expertise to grab untouchable criminals from safe havens and deliver them into the clutches of US justice.

His latest assignment is the toughest of all. A young American aid worker in fractured Yugoslavia met a revolting death at the hands of an ethnic-cleansing squad led by a Serbian war criminal. The boy's billionaire grandfather can afford an expensive revenge, but the trail seems cold... until, step by step, face-to-face investigation, lucky breaks, unstinting bribery and advanced computer hacking techniques trace the links from Serbia to the United Arab Emirates, a private plane, and a corrupt banana republic where the now very rich villain has the president and secret police on his payroll. Assaulting his massively guarded fortress--whose layers of defence include piranha, attack dogs and sharks deliberately given a taste for blood--would be one hell of a job even if Dexter had surprise on his side. But there are complications in high places. The CIA wants to use that Serbian killer as a stalking-horse in an elaborate operation against Al Qaeda, and issues an urgent warning that the avenger is coming...

Dexter plans an elegant, witty and almost bloodless coup, a sting in the style of Leslie Charteris's Saint rather than a Bond-type frontal assault. With the whole country mobilised against him, though, what chance does he have? Dexter, and Forsyth, may surprise you. The author has a knack for making background information vitally interesting: potted life histories of the characters (including big wheels in the FBI and CIA) are almost as compulsively readable as the major action scenes. Surprises and unmaskings continue until the final pages of this superior thriller. --David Langford --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"'Orchestrated into a steady ratcheting-up of tension that pays great dividends'" (Sunday Express)

"'Forsyth's storytelling mastery goes from strength to strength. Don't imagine you know what's going to happen next. Forsyth delivers a brilliant finale and a twist that'll make your head spin'" (The Mirror)

"'Highly readable and with that trademark of impressive detail'" (Mail on Sunday)

"'This action-injected tale races from Vietnam to Bosnia to Washington and on to the jungles of Central America with a taut showdown and an ingenious twist at the end'" (Daily Mail)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Siriam TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Aug. 2004
Format: Paperback
Frederick Forsyth's forte since his first success "Day of the Jackal" has always been to take a topical subject (with a variety of characters that allow delving into different well known historical events), wrap a great story line around it and so make for an enjoyable escapist thriller read in the resulting novel or short stories book. This book does not buck that trend though it is a lot better than some of his more recent efforts.
The usage of a main character who was a Vietnam vet involved in the well documented (though ultimately sideshow) "Vietcong tunnel warfare" fighting and a Serbian war crimes background for the main story allows usage of a lot of well known base points then weaved into a good plot. However the upping of the storyline to then encompass Middle East terrorism and a Serbian war criminal who has built a secure fortress in South America and is being manipulated by the CIA gets us into familiar Forsyth territory that this is ultimately an escapist story that makes for a great and easy read on a long trip or holiday but will never stand up to great scrutiny or review.
As the Americans say "Enjoy!"
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. T. Staples on 30 Sept. 2003
Format: Hardcover
Overall a very good read, good pace and plenty of action.
Although the leading character Cal Dexter is well written and developed the surrounding characters are paper thin and merit better descriptions.
The pursuit is good. As with other Forsyth novels his detail is immaculate. Very carefully constructed.
But the final part of the novel set in a South American banana republic and featuring an assault on a criminal hideout tends towards the James Bond school of fantasy islands and bad guys stroking cats.
The final twist in the plot is ingenious and unexpected.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 9 Sept. 2003
Format: Hardcover
The latest effort from Frederick Forsyth, whilst still being 99% better than everything his peers aspire to, turns out to be a pale watercolour rather than a vivid masterpiece.
Similar in basic plot to his earlier book 'The Negotiator', it centres on Cal Dexter's quest to trace an Eastern European war criminal. Whilst the usual components are still present - twists and turns and the usual high level of research in particular - the element of magic is missing from this one. It's as though he needed to pay the mortgage and went to the 'Big Frederick Forsyth Thriller By Numbers' manual, rather than thought up something new and imaginative.
Don't ignore it - you do so at your peril - just don't expect something as good as 'Icon' or 'Fist Of God'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Jan. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Certainly not as good as early Forsyth books, but a reasonable thriller none the less. The pace is jerky, at times slow, then speeding up and becoming too skimpy and losing detail and credibility. In the end it slows right down again with almost minute-by-minute action - and improves for it.
Is it possible Forsyth tried to cram too much into one book - we have Vietnam, the Middle East, the Balkans and the Central American jungle in a dizzy whirlwind. Perhaps a slightly narrower geographic field might have left him time (and energy) to devote to deepening the character field. Instead, we whizz around the world with people about whom we know a lot of biographically facts but not who they really are.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By O E J TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 Jun. 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This appealed to me simply because I have an interest in 'vengeance' storylines as opposed to revenge, and although I enjoyed it, it didn't move me in particular, not emotionally at least.

It was a tremendous odyssey however, winging its way from such unusual places as Vietnam to Canada to Dubai and on to Surinam - among many others. Chief among those others was Bosnia, and I have to admit I welcomed this history lesson about a series of conflicts that I never truly understood as well as I do now, thanks to Fred! Likewise the guerrilla warfare in Vietnam, even the Second World war - how superbly the author entwines fact with fiction and fills us with, if we're honest, a lot of unexpected knowledge on the way through this somewhat long-drawn-out mission of justice. Thanks to fascinating background on the central character of Cal Dexter, in particular his years as a 'tunnel rat' against the tactically superior Viet Cong army, we know that he is more than capable of carrying out the seemingly impossible task of finding and returning the Serbian war-lord to the paymaster who recruited him for his role of avenger.

The tale contains more than passing associations with Al Qaeda too, and their 9/11 strikes, leaving the reader to wonder how it might have been avoided, or how Osama Bin Laden could have been found just days later. Not classic Forsyth I guess, but a mightily interesting tale nonetheless, and worth reading more than once.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By dwein22 on 23 Sept. 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I must say I enjoyed this book but it seems to jump around a little too much and is a lot shorter than most of his other novels. It was a little too slow to get going but by the end I couldn't put it down. It's nowhere near as good as some of his earlier novels. I enjoyed Icon a lot more but I still would recommend this book as a good read if a little short.
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Format: Paperback
I love most of Frederick Forsyth's books and I am reading his whole oeuvre for the second time and am seldomly disappointed. In "Avenger" we get a bit of history on WWII, Vietnam War, The Yugoslav wars, the developing hatred of the Middle East for the Western World, i.e. the US. And even though, towards the end, some plots seem far fetched, but interesting. The character Cal Dexter is a man after my own heart for his morality, his abilities and aptitude. The end at the last page is totally unexpected and gave me a big smile and a feeling of regret that this was the end.
A very interesting book and a very unexpected end! I do so recommend it.

This book is a welcome return to the full-length thriller for Forsyth. It has a strong central character in Cal Dexter, and the backdrop of the criminal underworld's links to the Bosnian war and the CIA's lacklustre attempts at tracking down al-Qaeda provide an intriguing look into those secret worlds. As in all Forsyth's books the research is impeccable, although he does seem slightly at sea with computer technology (the book contains a misunderstanding of the use of PGP security). But this is a minor flaw. The major characters are given depth with thoroughly laid-out back stories and the loose-ends are neatly tied up at the end. You are likely to want to read this book if you liked The Day of the Jackal or The Negotiator. Those with an historical interest in the war in Bosnia will also find it an interesting read.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At his best, Forsyth is hard to beat..., 7 Dec.
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