Firefox Paperback – 1 Jan 1978
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An excellent, exciting book (Arthur Hailey)
In a class by itself - a chilling, superbly researched thriller (Jack Higgins)
*Thrilling adventure from bestselling author.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Whereas the movie crammed this into the last twenty minutes, the book gives the aerial action, the 'meat', time to breathe. It's here where the novel works best - nobody reads 'Firefox' for the subtle interplay of characters, after all. Our hero, Gant, is a lump of marble (Eastwood was perfectly cast), the Russians are boo-hiss villains, and the plucky resistance heroes are cannon fodder.
There was a sequel, 'Firefox Down'.
The set-up is told fairly fast: Mitchell Gant, Vietnam pilot with PTSD, is hired by US and UK secret services to steal the Firefox, the bestest MiG fighter plane ever. It has ultra-secret, thought-controlled weapons system plus a stealth coating, and it can fly faster than Mach-5. So, Gant gets into then-Soviet Russia, gets ferried to the site where they built the plane, which is just getting ready for a test flight/demonstration flight. And it develops from there.
The characters aren't really all that well developed, at least I thought they remained flat, but all that doesn't matter. The plane would be the central character anyway. Most of the evol Russkies are really evil of the mustache-twirling kind: they are antisemitic, full of fear and loathing, one is manic depressive, and the few smart guys are so desperate to please their masters or so sycophantic that you think Emperor Palpatine's high command was full of men of integrity and they all had balls. The good Russkies are Jewish scientists (one was married to a Jewess who got incarcerated), who have to die so the American Gant can get to the plane.
But oh, it's so tightly plotted and pretty cleverly made. There were some stylistic wobbles, and it could have been written much better, but in terms of plotting, it's an absolute page turner - my commute was rarely so short. Of course you have to read it on its own terms, that is, a British author writing about a science-fictiony war plane and its kidnapping, with some cliches sprinkled around the book, but I really enjoyed it. In short, a very nicely plotted, pretty well executed techno-thriller from a time when the Cold War was still raging.
A very early techno-thriller from before the term was invented, 'Firefox' was also the inspiration for a fondly-remembered though mostly-dull movie. The book is much better - dealing with the theft of an experimental Russian 'stealth' aircraft (the lack of technical specifics mean that the book has not dated badly), the cloak-and-dagger espionage plot gives way almost exactly half-way through to a desperate flight in the stolen, and far-from-invicible, aircraft over Russian soil.
Whereas the movie crammed this into the last twenty minutes, the book gives the aerial action time to breathe. It's here where the novel works best - nobody reads 'Firefox' for the subtle interplay of characters, after all. Our hero, Gant, is a lump of marble (Eastwood was perfectly cast), the Russians are boo-hiss villains, and the plucky resistance heroes are cannon fodder.
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