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80 of 92 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars War on the Cocaine Cartel
This work of fiction was easy to read and it may be because I already had a working knowledge of almost ninety percent of the acronyms used. There is no need to have knowledge of all the acronyms for they are listed in the front of the book and explained as they are used in the narrative. The concept for the novel is rather bold, the president of the United States has...
Published on 17 Aug 2010 by M. A. Ramos

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97 of 109 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Big Waste Of Time And Money!
Being a big fan of Frederick Forsyth since his debut book, The Day of the Jackel, I was looking forward to reading his latest, The Cobra. However, much to my surprise, The Cobra is a major disappointment and, in my opinion, Forsyth's worst book to-date by far. To Forsyth's credit, the premise of The Cobra is an interesting and timely one. The premise is that the President...
Published on 20 Aug 2010 by bobbewig


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97 of 109 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Big Waste Of Time And Money!, 20 Aug 2010
By 
bobbewig (New Jersey, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Cobra (Hardcover)
Being a big fan of Frederick Forsyth since his debut book, The Day of the Jackel, I was looking forward to reading his latest, The Cobra. However, much to my surprise, The Cobra is a major disappointment and, in my opinion, Forsyth's worst book to-date by far. To Forsyth's credit, the premise of The Cobra is an interesting and timely one. The premise is that the President of the U.S has decided to destroy the cocaine industry once and for all, and paves the way for a man called The Cobra (who used to run Special Ops for the CIA) to develop and execute a plan to accomplish this assignment. The Cobra is given carte blanche for anything he needs to accomplish this assignment -- no boundaries, no rules, no questions asked. Unfortunately, Forsyth's book reads like a boring, overly detailed chronicle of the events taken to carry out the President's decision rather than a suspenseful story with good dialogue and well-developed characters. Forsyth wrote The Cobra in a style that is highly narrative, with dialogue kept to a minimum, making the book very slow-paced. And, The Cobra, unlike many of Forsyth's previous books, is virtually devoid of character development, which contributed to my feeling that I never got to know any of the characters well enough to like or dislike them. I imagine that many of you who read my review and are fans of Frederick Forsyth will be skeptical that this author can write a book as bad as I'm describing. All I can say to you is that I hope you heed my advice and not read The Cobra. I'm sure you have better ways to spend your time and money.
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80 of 92 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars War on the Cocaine Cartel, 17 Aug 2010
By 
M. A. Ramos (Florida USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Cobra (Hardcover)
This work of fiction was easy to read and it may be because I already had a working knowledge of almost ninety percent of the acronyms used. There is no need to have knowledge of all the acronyms for they are listed in the front of the book and explained as they are used in the narrative. The concept for the novel is rather bold, the president of the United States has decided that cocaine is a clear and present danger to the country; though those exact words are not used. An old school Central Intelligence Agency operative, Paul Deveraux, who was retired from the agency because of his violent yet effective methods is summon to accomplish the task.

From the formulation of the basic desire of the president and with an executive order in hand Mr. Deveraux begins his prep work of building the organization he will need to combat the world cocaine trade and try to stop it. The book does go into detail on this organization building and research performed on the cocaine trade. We the reader are also introduced to the inner workings of the cocaine trade from the inside and can watch the actions and reactions of both sides as the book progresses. The realistic action in the book spans the cocaine using world.

All the above mentioned background is told in great detail and takes about half the book to get us where most readers of action want to be, the actual operation. The reader is privy to the operations as they take place and the cocaine organizations response as these operations to destroy the cocaine industry unfolds. A calculated plan of action with a plot that is easy to read. The background of the inner details we learned earlier about the formation of the anti-drug teams and the drug cartel bear fruits as the story unfolds. A rich yet violent work of fiction that is filled with accurate facts on existing governmental agencies and their capabilities.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tooooo Long, 9 Sep 2010
By 
Paul S. Ell (NI, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cobra (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This review relates to the 10 disk, 11 hour, unabridged reading of Forsyth's book by John Chancer and my comments should be seen in this context. I've haven't read any of Forsyth's work in the past but have to say I'd much rather have read this book than listen for hours to the rather dry narrative of Chancer. I'm afraid, unabridged, the monologue is simply too long and Chancer's style makes it easy for the mind to wander. The novel would appear to be the result of relatively detailed research into the cocaine trade and contains a lot of facts. This makes it even more unpalatable as an audio book as Chancer reads through the lists. Chancer makes little if any attempt to add characterisation to the individuals in the book and I found his narration tedious.

Trying to move away from the method of delivery of this novel, to the content itself, as noted, it is well researched but does not have a great deal of a story line. In particular I didn't like the representation of Obama and Cameron who are, of course, not mentioned by name but feature strongly as the leaders of the US and the UK. The only positive about this is that the book is at least up to date, but may well equally date. The slight surprise at the end of the 11 hour monologue, and I was still awake - just - is not particularly credible.

A fair novel, but a disastrous delivery. Buy the book or get the abridged audio version!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay but not a classic by any means, 3 Sep 2010
By 
Flash "flash-31" (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cobra (Hardcover)
I got this ahead of Frederick Forsyth's appearance at the Edinburgh book festival, and was eagerly looking forward to it. Sadly, whilst it is an easy read, and I got through it in a day and half, I felt a bit disappointed at the end. Upon reflection, it is a good story and would have got a higher rating if by a lesser author, however it just doesn't match up to some of his earlier novels. The technical side is very good, although the character development is pretty thin, and you don't really care about any of them. That said, if you are looking for an easy read on holiday this is it.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Cobra, 21 Aug 2010
By 
This review is from: The Cobra (Hardcover)
I was really looking forward to this book, since reading a news article over a year ago that indicated Forsyth was writing a book about Colombian drug cartels. But The Cobra is no Clear and Present Danger.

This book turned out to be a major disappointment, and I'm being generous by giving it two stars. The subject matter and premise is great. The premise, like many of Forsyth's books, is a little outlandish or over-the-top but made believable through the author's extensive research, tight plotting, and detailed descriptions.

A major problem is that, like his more recent books, Forsyth seems to be getting lazy with the writing. The majority of the narrative is simply Forsyth very dispassionately describing the events that are taking place. It reads more like an outline of a novel or a non-fiction account of events. In what could have been a gripping, action scene, only one page is devoted to an assault by FARC guerrillas on a secret American military base in Colombia and the subsequent battle which kills a hundred people. And it's not the just action. Conversations between characters are quickly summed up in a paragraph or two. It's really annoying and feels more like an extensive outline than a proper novel. I can't believe it took him 3-4 years to write this. It feels like he wrote it in a couple months.

The first half of the book is good, as the US and British prepare for their covert war against a powerful Colombian cocaine cartel. It's toward the second half of the book where things go downhill. Navy SEALs and British SBS marines intercept drug shipments on the high seas. A contracted Brazilian fighter pilot shoots down aircraft carrying cocaine. This happens several times, over and over again, and each scene is just a repeat of an earlier scene with no new twists or surprises. Meanwhile, law enforcement and intelligence go after various agents of the drug cartel and corrupt officials.

It just goes on for almost 200 pages until the President decides to shut the operation down and then that's basically it. There's no suspense or sense of looming danger in this book, unlike the nuclear weapon in The Fourth Protocol, the impending assassination in The Day of the Jackal, or the terrorist plot in The Afghan. Just intercepting and destroying drug shipment after drug shipment, with no real threat or danger posed to anyone other than the drug smugglers. The book really isn't much of a thriller at all.

Finally, toward the end, something a little unexpected does happen and the book becomes mildly interesting again.

The characters are completely lifeless and interchangeable, and it's very convenient that there's a list of characters, because they do become hard to keep track of. Forsyth brings back ruthless CIA operative Paul Deveruex and vigilante/bounty hunter Cal Dexter from Avenger. But why? He could have changed these characters' names and it would have made no difference at all. They were great characters in Avenger, but completely wasted here (especially Dexter, the Avenger).

There are a few positives. Forsyth provides great insight and detail into the workings of the global cocaine industry, Colombian drug cartels, and international law enforcement and counter-narcotics agencies.

It's the worst Forsyth book I've read, but it could be worse. He's still way ahead authors like Brad Thor in terms of quality and substance.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More a 'Biafra Story' Forsyth than the action laden variety; good but not constantly gripping, 23 Jan 2012
By 
AK (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Cobra (Paperback)
The Cobra - currently Forsyth's latest book has seemingly gotten a lot of bad press from people, who expected it to be something else. Comments of this being completely unlike him, only partially apply in my opinion. The book simply follows his research tradition, with which he established his name in the first place - namely with his non-fiction Biafra Story, chronicling that conflict and all the backgrounds around it. This then subsequently mutated into the fictionalised The Dogs Of War, which is actually quite similar to 'The Cobra' in many ways - the long and meticulously detailed setup part of the book, the relatively short sequence, where real action takes place, less focus on the personality of the characters, etc.

So if you are looking for an action packed, firefight a page book (or one, where the firefights really come to life), the book is certainly very likely to disappoint. If, on the other hand, you enjoy the development of the slightly left field theory on combatting the cocaine trade, as well as the really elaborate research going with it, you will find the book gripping enough, even though neither the characters nor the action will not mesmerize you.

It is a solid book in my opinion, just not quite of the genre Forsyth has (also) been associated with lately. Hopefully this helps in making up your mind before you swear that Forsyth has gone weak in his old age and turn away from his other, very good book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fading Away, 30 Sep 2011
By 
This review is from: The Cobra (Kindle Edition)
For his early books, Forsyth will always be the master for me. No one else can put together a thriller like he can. But it has to be said, he is fading away. This is okay. It passes the time, and its not as lazy as some reviewers have said. But its not vintage Forsyth either. The next book needs to be a cracker - or many of us will give up. For the kind of topical thrillers Forsyth used to be so good at try Black Ops: Libya. That is the real deal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointment, 29 Sep 2010
This review is from: The Cobra (Hardcover)
Having been a avid Frederick Forsyth fan for a number of years, I could hardly wait to get my hands on a copy of his latest offering The Cobra. I had seen him interviewed on BBC Breakfast Time and the plot and content of the book had an immediate appeal. However what a disappointment the actual book turned out to be. The beginning was fine and in typical Forsyth style, slow to build with a lot of detail. The middle was OK but there was nothing really compelling - everything seemed to be a little too predictable. And, as regards the ending - rubbish. Overall well short of what I have come to expect from arguably the worlds greatest thriller writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Disc too long?, 16 Sep 2010
By 
M. J. Jacobs "michael jacobs" (Edgware, London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Cobra (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I am not going to review the plot, but rather the audio-book CD edition.

John Chancer, the actor/voice talent chosen to read this book will be familar to many of you, as he has appeared in many episodes of programmes such as Spooks : Complete BBC Series 2 [2002] [DVD]" and other spy/thriller-related movies and TV shows. His voice doesn't appeal to me, and whilst I understand that this story is primarily based in the Americas, I would have enjoyed hearing the author reading it himself.

The story is broken over 10 CDs, and more than 11 hours. The book is only 352 pages, which I would eat for breakfast with my very high reading speed. But there is no way you can listen to an audio book any faster than the speed it was recorded at.

As such, whilst the story is good, and gripping, as I have always found Frederick Forsyth's novels to be, the speed of the reading is slightly irritating, and the diction and emphasis in the words and sentences make me wish I was reading the novel. Like The Fourth Protocol which was an excellent novel, but made an awful movie despite a good cast, this feels better in print.

Sorry Mr. Chancer, I prefer to read books in my head than hear you pronouncing it in an accent which I don't feel very comfortable with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Cobra by Frederick Forsyth, 31 Aug 2010
By 
Gordon Keir (Edinburgh) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Cobra (Hardcover)
I am a great Forsyth fan and to be fair this isn't a bad book. Its easy to read and moves at the usual Forsyth quick pace. The premise of the book is identical to Tom Clancy's - Clear and Present Danger- but without the navel gazing to which Clancy always subjects us. Clancy's book is much much better though.

I was a bit surprised that he brought back Calvin Dexter from The Avenger and made him into a kind of American James Bond. A new character would have been more credible.

I cant complain too much though. It's a good read although Mr Forsyth owes a lot to Mr Clancy for the idea.
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The Cobra
The Cobra by Frederick Forsyth (Paperback - 14 April 2011)
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