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Avenger [Hardcover]

Frederick Forsyth
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Sep 2003
A young American aid volunteer, Billy Colenso, is brutally murdered in former Yugoslavia. His grandfather, the Canadian billionaire Steven Edmond, is bent on revenge. The quest to find Billy's murderer leads Edmond to Cal Dexter, ex-Vietnam Special Forces, the one man who could bring the killer to justice. But what starts as a personal, domestic tragedy soon explodes into a terrifying drama on the centre stage of world terrorism. From the battlefield of Vietnam via war-torn Serbia to the jungles of Central America, Avenger is packed with riveting detail, breathtaking action and political suspense, while in Cal Dexter we meet an unforgettable hero in the most dynamic Forsyth tradition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Press; Book Club (BCA/BOMC) edition (1 Sep 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0593050932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0593050934
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 14.4 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 562,637 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


"'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 --This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
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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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Is the Master Storyteller's crown slipping? 9 Sep 2003
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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but ... 23 Sep 2003
By dwein22
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth finishing 27 Aug 2011
Enjoyed reading this story. Main character clearly described allowing reader to become involved in the adventure, other characters seemed vague and distant to plot, especially the main target. Fast and easy to read, with a nice twist at the end. Made me smile. Recommended for light holiday entertainment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fred caught me again! 1 Feb 2009
I am rarely disappointed with Forsyth's stories. And I was not disappointed this time either. He caught me completely as I was really certain about the outcome of the story when I was 100, 50, 25, 10 pages from the end of the book, changing my assessment every time... I failed completely with all my ideas and conclusions. A very interesting book all in all, and a thrilling, shocking end! I entirely recommend it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unable to stop reading 15 Oct 2003
Having enjoyed Icon, his most recent book before Avenger, and much of Frederick Forsyth's older work, the work struck me as typically Forsyth. It will involve multiple plots, some going back as much as 70 years of history (such as the billionaire Edmonds) and connecting with major recent historic events (in this case: the wars in former Yugoslavia). His research is throrough and enlightening; the news items from 10 years ago finally start making sense.

It seems Forsyth's new hero is American (see Jason Monk in "Icon"), although his fascination with special forces hasn't disappeared. Similarly, the theme of "revenge" has occurred more often in his recent work (in his recent collection of stories "the Veteran", 3 of 5 deal with revenge or poetic justice).

Of course, the plot in "the Avenger" is a bomb, especially when the much-anticipated "secret informer" is revealed on the final pages. Although the narrative of the one-man attack lasts for over 50 pages, it doesn't become boring or one-sided.

Tops book, Freddie. Please keep on writing this way; and don't let us wait for 7 years again! Nobody comes close to writing political/military suspense this way.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read
Published 1 day ago by Richard Abbatt
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant storyline kept me to the end. the long lasting friendships a...
The way Frederick Forsyth builds his characters and storyline is outstanding. Every one of his books I have read is at least the equal of the best of James Patterson.
Published 2 months ago by Mr M.
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing
Intriguing but little a far fetched, using historical data is clever, and mixed with fiction can draw your interest sufficiently to hold your concentration
Published 3 months ago by Orator
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent as always
Superbly crafted, rich in detail and gripping from start to finish. The sequel to this is in the same class.
Published 3 months ago by Bens Biggest Fan
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This was a very good story full of detail and information and kept you guessing right up to the last line
Published 3 months ago by June
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much detail
I found this book relies on incredible detail to tell the story. Its often repeated.
The basic plot is good but sometimes we lose the plot when the story strays away from the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by AOK
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Fairly typical Forsyth. Carefully builds up the characters and situation, but always leaves doubt in your mind as to whether the Avenger can actually pull the mission off. Read more
Published 4 months ago by MartinE
5.0 out of 5 stars Substantial read
another great read which may appeal to fans of Forsyth's less analytical and detailed side and are more appealed to by action and suspense. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Geraldine Gibbons
5.0 out of 5 stars Could not put down book ......
Even after the fourth or fifth time I have read it I still find it a very clever story.
Published 5 months ago by Peter Ellis
4.0 out of 5 stars great book
This is a very entertaining book, The type of story that once you pick it up youy can not put it down
Published 10 months ago by J A Cunningham
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