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The Afghan [Paperback]

Frederick Forsyth
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
Price: £5.43 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

13 Aug 2007

When British and American intelligence catch wind of a major Al Qaeda operation in the works, they are primed for action - but what can they do? They know nothing about the attack: the what, where or when. They have no sources in Al Qaeda, and it's impossible to plant someone. Impossible, unless . . .

The Afghan is Izmat Khan, a five-year prisoner of Guantanamo Bay and a former senior commander of the Taliban. The Afghan is also Colonel Mike Martin, a 25-year veteran of war zones around the world, a dark, lean man born and raised in Iraq. In an attempt to stave off disaster, the intelligence agencies will try to do what no one has ever done before - pass off a Westerner as an Arab among Arabs - pass off Martin as the trusted Khan.

It will require extraordinary preparation, and then extraordinary luck, for nothing can truly prepare Martin for the dark and shifting world he is about to enter. Or for the terrible things he will find there . . .

The Day of the Jackal, The Dogs of War, The Odessa File - the books of Frederick Forsyth have helped define the international thriller as we know it today. Combining meticulous research with crisp narratives and plots as current as the headlines, Forsyth shows us the world as it is, in a way that few have ever been able to equal.

And the world as it is today is a very scary place . . .

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Corgi; 1st Corgi Edition edition (13 Aug 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552155047
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552155045
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 17.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 39,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Forsyth's storytelling mastery goes from strength to strength. Don't ever imagine that you know what's going to happen next" (Mirror)

"Forsyth on top form...the master storyteller has lost none of his touch" (Daily Mail)

"Vintage Forsyth...Back doing what he does best" (Sunday Times)

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

"Exciting, frightening, instructive." (Literary Review)

Book Description

A chilling story of modern terrorism from the grandmaster of international intrigue

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Afghan's early promise disappoints 4 Oct 2006
The book gets off to a cracking start. As always Mr Forsyth has done his research, which makes the setting out of the plot all the more believable. Indeed, with a foot so firmly placed in reality the book reads almost as if it was a journalistic account of an actual event rather than a work of fiction. So why does this book that is so engrossing for the first 200 pages suddenly massively disappoint. Well, I am sorry Mr Foryth but suddenly, and for no good reason, this gritty and believable story goes into a complete fantasy land. I shan't go into detail but basically it involves an aeroplane developing mechanical problems somewhere over the vastness of the USA What, we ask, has this got to do with our plot? All is soon revealed, as by a truly staggering coincidence of fantastical proportions, the plane crashes onto the exact spot where one of the main characters happens to be. If he had been hit by a meteor it would have been more believable. As it is, this is the point where the story virtually collapses. The strong thread of reality, which weaves together the first two thirds of the book is severered beyond repair. As a result I felt a profound indifference to what followed. What a shame!
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars No wonder they want to live in Cricklewood! 21 Oct 2006
I have bought, and enjoyed every one of Mr. Forsyth's excellent fiction works, and I thought that he had avoided the problem common to many novelists, in that they tend to lose their 'edge' regarding plotline, 'readability' and tone after some success! Unfortunately, with 'The Afghan', I fear that Mr. Forsyth's long rule as a 'must buy' to an addict such as myself is fast approaching the end of it's path! Where the character Martin in !Fist of God' was utterly believable, because the writing led you carefully along that path of credibility, in 'The Afghan' his life turns into dust, because the author simply 'lost the plot'

I tend to agree with one of the previous reviewers when he said that the publisher probably wanted a quick release, so got something cobbled together! I expected far better from Frederick Forsyth, and am very dissappointed with his latest book!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice idea, shame about the plot 3 Sep 2007
The back page blurb claims this is 'Forsyth's finest novel since the Day of the Jackal'. If only! Whereas the Day of the Jackal is a breathtaking example of dazzling, original brilliance, the Afghan is an example of an author either a) sitting on his laurels or b) stuck for ideas. The problem isn't the apparently plausible terrorist plot itself, but Forsyth's attempts to crowbar (no pun intended if you've already read the novel) a western agent into the ranks of an Al Qaeda plot. In order to do this the author relies on three astronomical coincidences, only one of which is even remotely plausible - that two of the antagonists met briefly in Afghanistan (and then met a pre-infamy Osama Bin laden into the bargain); the other two are that an unsuspecting Al Qaeda incorporate the agent into the exact plot the west is worried about - as oppose to any other of their myriad operations - and that a malfunctioning f-15 fighter just happens to crash into a remote hut in the remote wilderness chosen by the C.I.A. for it's complete and utter remoteness!

All of this is a shame, because anyone interested in how the security services go about their business would find many sections of the novel very interesting. Forsyth's always been interested in the minutia of how devices/organizations work, but perhaps to cover for weaknesses in the plot here he often overdoes it, for instance giving long, lovingly detailed descriptions of a relatively minor plot device (an F-15) that most 14 year old schoolboys would already have gleaned from the same magazines that Forsyth cribbed his facts and figures from. The upshot of all this is that the character of Mike Martin is swamped and disappears almost completely from view. Which is great if you're an undercover agent, but not if you're the focus of a novel.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Fist of Mike 24 Nov 2006
Frederick Forsyth was early attracted to a life of adventure and eschews psychological complexity in favor of meticulous plotting, based on detailed factual research. His books are full of information about the technical details of such subjects as money laundering, gun running and identity theft. His novels read like investigative journalism in fictional guise and his research has often caused headaches for governments. His moral vision is a harsh one: the world is made up of predators and prey, and only the strong survive. The novels he wrote in the 1970s, particularly "The Day of the Jackal" or "The Odessa File" can be considered not only as his best work, but as the best that was written in this genre.

In his latest novel "The Afghan," one of the bodyguards of a senior Al Qaeda leader in Pakistan makes a stupid mistake and uses the cell phone of his boss. The cell phone is on a "wanted" list and alarm bells go off. The cell is traced, a raid is mounted and the mystery begins. A single reference to an episode in the Koran alarms the CIA and intelligence agencies around the world. Apparently, a disastrous Al Qaeda attack on the West, termed al-Isra (the enlightenment of Muhammad) is planned. Yet, the services don't know the what, when and where. They also don't have any informers inside Al Qaeda. Enter British special forces colonel, Mike Martin - Forsyth readers will recognize him from "The Fist of God." As Martin is physically able to pass for an Arab, is familiar with Afghanistan and has a near-perfect command of the Pashtun language, he is tasked to pose as a hardcore Taliban fighter who has been held in custody for five years. His job is to infiltrate the highest ranks of Al Qaeda and to investigate the secret of the Koranic reference.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good tale
A good tale, absolutely up to Forsyth's standard. Also helps us understand the current problems in the Middle East - they're much more complex than you may think
Published 9 hours ago by M. S. George
4.0 out of 5 stars Grit in the salad
Dear Frederick,

Loved the story! Top notch adventure yarn. Slightly unrealistic, but then, what else are adventures? Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. RM KLEPPMANN
5.0 out of 5 stars The Afghan
Started reading the Afghan it is vary good can't put it down vary we'll written this is my second Frederick Forsyth book and won't be the last
Published 1 month ago by chris elsworth
5.0 out of 5 stars The Afghan
Very enjoyable - does grip you - lots of detail - raises a few thoughts about validity of some of background info.
Published 3 months ago by Mr. E. Priestley
5.0 out of 5 stars exciting
I like all books by frederick forsyth so I am sure this will be as good. I will be listening to it soon. Great
Published 7 months ago by Sonya
4.0 out of 5 stars Good
Reads more like fact than fiction. My husband is still only half way through it, but seems it seems a very good and enjoyable read.
Published 7 months ago by Steve Thacker
2.0 out of 5 stars The Afghan
Once again Forsyth delivers a book that you cannot put down. In my view he is in a class of his own. Ryan and McNab are good but not in his league. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Published 8 months ago by Bun
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read
This is a well written action thriller that is hard to put down once started. The story is fast moving accurately described. Read more
Published 8 months ago by John B. Atkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Frederick Forsyth at his best
A truly gripping book that had me glued from start to finish. I would strongly recommend to anyone especially exiting Forsyth fans .
Published 11 months ago by shelty3
5.0 out of 5 stars being French, I read in english to maintain my vocabulary.
I have read all Frederick FORSYTH's books and was never desapointed by both stories as well as the writing style.
Published 14 months ago by alain warnant
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