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39 Reviews
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best from the best.
Forsyth has been noted for the detail and realism his books convey. I realised how true this was while watching the news and having just been reading this book on the train home, I suddenly realised I was waiting for news on the events in this book. I think this shows how involved I had become in the story.

On top of the extraordinary but believable storyline,...
Published on 30 Oct 2003 by J. Clinch

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars OK for Forsyth Fans
It is obvious that a lot of effort has gone into the research for this book, but whether it was worthwhile I am not too sure. After masses of information and complex characterisation, one is left with what is only really a routine thriller with not a lot of originality. It is fast moving, easy to read and if you are waiting for your plane or train go for it, but if you...
Published 9 months ago by Salvatore


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best from the best., 30 Oct 2003
By 
J. Clinch (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
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Forsyth has been noted for the detail and realism his books convey. I realised how true this was while watching the news and having just been reading this book on the train home, I suddenly realised I was waiting for news on the events in this book. I think this shows how involved I had become in the story.

On top of the extraordinary but believable storyline, is a good writer at work. Throughout my reading I had seen one nagging drawback to an otherwise brilliant tale. In order not to give anything away, all I can say is that I thought it was a bit biased. However as the book reaches its conclusion, with a superb twist, the idea dawns that you've been lead up the garden path, by a skilled author who can give you more than a stunning narrative.
Having read the majority of his books I would recommend any of them, but this one is especially good.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good international spy thriller from the cold war era, 12 May 2005
By 
Rennie Petersen (Copenhagen, Denmark) - See all my reviews
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"The Devil's Alternative" is a spy thriller from the end of the 1970's. The story pits the Russian leader (modeled somewhat on Leonid Brezhnev) against the American President (modeled somewhat on Lyndon Johnson) in a world crisis situation. At the same time the story is very European in that it is the British who just happen to have a spy with access to the Russian Politburo meetings. Also, most of the scenes that do not take place in the White House or the Kremlin take place in Europe.
The story is very exciting, although somewhat unrealistic. As usual, the good guys are trying to prevent World War III while the "hawks" in both the Kremlin and the White House can hardly wait to get going. The ending is somewhat contrived but on the whole the book is a very good read.
For someone reading this book nowadays it seems rather dated because of the huge changes in the world political and military situation since the 1970's. This can be considered either negative or positive depending on whether you are interested in the history of this era.
The differences between then and now are amazing. At that time the Soviet Union and Russia were a world superpower. Eastern Europe was communist, Germany was divided, and West Berlin was an isolated non-communist island in communist East Germany. The major political and military conflict in the world was the efforts of the communist countries to try to convert the whole world to communism and the efforts of the non-communist countries to prevent this from happening.
All of the above facts play a major role in this story, so an understanding of the situation then being different from the situation now is brought forcefully home to the reader.
There is an interesting passage in "The Devil's Alternative": "One day, maybe not too long from now, the Russian empire will begin to crack. One day soon, the Romanians will exercise their patriotism, and the Poles and Czechs. Followed by the Germans and Hungarians. And the Balts and Ukrainians, the Georgians and Armenians. The Russian empire will crack and crumble, the way the Roman and British empires cracked, because at last the arrogance of their mandarins became insufferable." (Page 410 in the paperback edition I read.)
Was Frederick Forsyth perceptive in writing this, or just lucky? My memory of that era is that not many people would have agreed with that prediction at that time.
What about the plot? In a book like "The Devil's Alternative" the plot is not so important - it is a vehicle for the characters to play out their conflict, and Frederick Forsyth is good at creating interesting characters who play out an interesting conflict.
Some parts of the story are somewhat unrealistic. In particular, the ending is rather contrived and some of the technical details about the fictitious world's largest supertanker strike me as very improbable. It is because of these various problems with the realism that I'm giving "The Devil's Alternative" four stars instead of five.
But for the most part the story is realistic enough for us to suspend our disbelief and let ourselves get excited, and even scared of the possible consequences of things going wrong. That's what makes this one of Frederick Forsyth's better books, and I can recommended it, especially if you want to relive the world political and military situation at the height of the cold war.
Rennie Petersen
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Devil's Alternative, 9 Nov 2012
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Classic early Forsyth, brilliantly researched and incredibly detailed. The story starts with a series of seemingly completely unconnected events which then slowly come together in a way you couldn't have imagined, until the US President is presented with The Devil's Alternative. The solution, the final twist, is brutal and totally unexpected. The politics may be a little difficult for the younger generation, but I was around during the Cold War, and this book is a Cold War classic. Brilliant.
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5.0 out of 5 stars true to Forsyth's style of writing. Hugely entertaining and ..., 4 Nov 2014
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true to Forsyth's style of writing .Hugely entertaining and thought provoking.His novels seem to me make many authors efforts in this genre somewhat weak and watery. I think it must be due to his training and experiance as a news corespondent and combatent that gives a reader the feeling that he or she is reading a report of an event rather than a "tale" .
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 13 July 2014
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A. Winsley-wisniewski (London. England) - See all my reviews
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Excellent book. One of Freddie's gripping earlier books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining, 24 Jun 2014
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The plot of this book is a little far fetched and some characterizations overdrawn. Nevertheless, it keeps you in suspense and captures the mood of the 1980s rather well.

The Ukrainian nationalist angle of the story gives the book surprising contemporary relevance.

A good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As expected, 1 Jun 2014
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Great author well researched book with great detail. Fantastic storyline. Very hard to put down. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I h
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant story from the master storyteller!, 9 May 2014
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Forsyth always writes books that are so well researched and believable. He also really knows how to wind the tension on and keep until the end. I would recommend this or any of his books to anybody who enjoys a good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, 4 May 2014
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This review is from: The Devil's Alternative (Paperback)
brilliant book 1st class service as always your deliveries and service are the best. what's more to say your the best
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4.0 out of 5 stars Second reading, 23 April 2014
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This book is like a fine wine. It gets better with age. Will probably read it again in 5 years
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The Devil's Alternative
The Devil's Alternative by Frederick Forsyth (Paperback - 7 April 2011)
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