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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In my modest opinion - the best spy novel ever
I am aware that there are many excellent spy books, but in my modest opinion this is the one that describes the best this strange and dangerous universe that is secret war.

Frederick Forsyth wrote a couple of even better books ("The day of the Jackal", "The dogs of war") but they were not exactly about spying. In this book, written in the 80s, he describes a...
Published on 1 Oct 2007 by Darth Maciek

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3.0 out of 5 stars THE FOURTH PROTOCOL
THE Fourth Protocol was a good book, a little too much detail would have made it more enjoyable, Frederick Forsyth researches his novels very well.
Published 6 months ago by Ian Partington


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In my modest opinion - the best spy novel ever, 1 Oct 2007
By 
Darth Maciek "Darth Maciek" (Darth Maciek is out there...) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Fourth Protocol (Paperback)
I am aware that there are many excellent spy books, but in my modest opinion this is the one that describes the best this strange and dangerous universe that is secret war.

Frederick Forsyth wrote a couple of even better books ("The day of the Jackal", "The dogs of war") but they were not exactly about spying. In this book, written in the 80s, he describes a very clever and dangerous plot of KGB, which, if successful, could really break NATO and leave Western Europe vulnerable to a possible Soviet takeover. The description of Soviet inner circles of power are very good, much better that in the usual spy stuff - Frederick Forsyth was one of the few Cold War spy writers who had a really good understanding of USSR and it shows here. The story is very coherent, the plot is plausible and technically possible and its execution is described in incredibly professional way.

There are however other stories circling around the main plot which describe some of the horribly dirty tricks used by the intelligence communities all around the world (the story takes us from United Kingdom to Soviet Union and then to Africa, before coming back to UK). There are no superheroes in this book (although there are superlosers) and this is definitely not a James Bond movie material - there is however a masterly executed description of the gray, shadowy, dirty and smelly world, where virtually nothing is what it appears and every double bottom has a third bottom... I will absolutely not reveal anything about the plot, but prepare to be surprised. Many times. There are humouristic moments in this book, although this is a dark humour - there is much more tragic fragments, some of which can break the heart.

This is a dark, somber, rare and precious jewel, which didn't age at all since 80s. Excellent to read on holidays or on a rainy weekend. Once you finished it, a good idea could be to read some other early Forsyth books, like "The Day of the Jackal". If by any chance you saw already the movie, with Pierce Brosnan and Michael Caine, please be aware, that although a honest effort this film was only a shadow of this great book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dated but perfect, 24 July 2007
This review is from: The Fourth Protocol (Paperback)
Wen I was young (20 years ago), my two favourite books were this one and Ludlum's Parsifal Mosaic. Hundreds of thrillers later, they remain in the top five. The 4th protocol contains lots of clever twists, it is much better than the (not bad) movie they made with Pierce Brosnan and Michael Caine out of it. It is probably dated now, cold war is over, but it still remains a top book for me. I shall re-read it someday. If you have never read it you should, Forsyth could write good stories at that time (now he has lost his edge but who does not age ?).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars masterfully written, 10 Feb 2009
This review is from: The Fourth Protocol (Paperback)
This book is set in Britain, South Africa and Russia in the 1980s. Unlike other agent stories, which I had tried in the past, the necessary background information for this intelligent plot is given in a compact way. Thus the book appears to be well researched and it is kept both exciting and understandable. Several story lines are intertwined in a neat way which helps to keep the suspense.

I had come upon this book after reading The Day of the Jackal (also by Forsyth) which I had experienced as similarly well researched and exciting. Thus this was my second book by Forsyth and I look forward to try out some more in the future.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oldie, but definitely a goldie!, 26 Aug 2007
This review is from: The Fourth Protocol (Paperback)
I first read this book about 20 years ago, and since then have not only reread this countless times, but have read all of Forsyth's work. They are all excellent reads, and far above the commercialiastic commonplace crud of other more "popular" writers. There is a sense of timelessness in his writings that transports you across continents and eras! Beautiful and enthralling!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fourth Protocol ... and Fifth Success for Forsyth, 11 Aug 2008
By 
Mark Slattery (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Fourth Protocol (Paperback)
I'm reading my Freddie Forsyth novels in sequence. This is his fifth thriller, and it maintains the even standard of excellence he established with his first and seminal work The Day of the Jackal.

Like Forsyth's other novels, The Fourth Protocol really seizes your attention, and like the other novels again, it does so gradually, like the slow crushing motion of a car compressor. The technique is the same. It is the detail that creates the clear images and the authenticity, and really you are inside what seems like a terrifying documentary. After this decade's developments in international terrorism one realises how far ahead of the game Forsyth is here with his portable nuclear plot.

What really works for him, as he delves into the inter-related layers of the secret services in both the UK and Russia, is how the reader is drawn to speculate about who is on our side and who is not. What are the key characters' motives and loyalties? The other technique, which is typically Forsyth, is the amazing number of minor variables that all have a seemingly telling impact on the possible outcome of the plot. The suspense ratchets up and it's beautifully resolved.

This novel lacks a little of the crunch and thud of one or two others, but the spell is woven just as well. You will the central character, Preston, to win. It may be the Fourth Protocol but it is Forsyth's Fifth Success. It falls short only in one regard, and that is the lack of sub-plots to add personal depth to the central characters. Again, this one is female-'lite'. It's a minor quibble for being so well entertained but women read thrillers too! Highly recommended!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, well worth taking on a long journey, 29 Oct 2000
By 
This review is from: The Fourth Protocol (Paperback)
This is a very entertaining novel. Forsyth appears to know his stuff about the British, American and Soviet secret services and in lots of ways the book as a "Bravo Two Zero" kind of 'handbook' appeal as the author describes in detail the workings and procedures of these government departments. I challenge anybody after reading the description of the Watchers (the secret service surveillance unit) to wonder for at least two weeks afterwards if they're being followed and watched.
The plot is also great with a steady pace and a controlled increase in velocity to the conclusion. It's all decidedly plausible and even the Soviets come out of the story rather human, unlike many inferior spy stories. However, it can be a rather clunky story -- you suspect where the story is heading and then are proved right a few pages later. It's like catching an accidental glimpse of back stage goings-on whilst watching a play - the spell is momentarily broken.
What's to criticise? Well, Forsyth has a laughably chauvanistic and perhaps simplistic approach to gender. There are few women in the novel and they appear merely to support the description of a man. And any men in the novel fall into one of two categories: weak or strong. If you're weak you betray your country. If you're strong you fight silently and thanklessly to preserve its way of life. Simple as that. No inbetweens and no shades of grey. (In some ways this is a touchingly 'old fashioned' view of life, however, that can be quite appealing).
But it's a fun book and definitely worth reading. Don't expect too much from it and you won't fail to enjoy it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars SPELL BINDING, 17 Nov 2014
By 
Gordon Craig "An avid reader" (Great Yarmouth, Norfolk UK) - See all my reviews
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The scene is set. The story starts to unfold. The action is fast, it switches from place to place, from country to country. The depth of background is amazing. It is all believable.
As one who very many years ago was on the very fringes I could not put it down.
I must download the next one.
Gordon C
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good read, 23 July 2014
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Takes a while for all the plot gears to come together, but once they do, the book becomes a taut and exciting spy thriller. Mr. Forsyth provides a few dollops of fascinating factual information along with the action and spy work. I've read a few of his other works as well and have enjoyed them all so far.

Kindle version is very well formatted, and I did not spot any typos.
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3.0 out of 5 stars THE FOURTH PROTOCOL, 22 Jun 2014
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THE Fourth Protocol was a good book, a little too much detail would have made it more enjoyable, Frederick Forsyth researches his novels very well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good author, 28 May 2014
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I enjoy FF cautiously but given the right novel he suits my style of reading. Will buy more of his books over time.
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The Fourth Protocol
The Fourth Protocol by Frederick Forsyth (Paperback - 7 April 2011)
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