Top positive review
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Marines, Pathfinders and hackers, oh my...
on 17 February 2014
Remember Colonel Mike Martin - Forsyth's creation that appeared in The Fist of God and The Afghan? You know the one I mean - British paratrooper and SAS legend who was the star of both books? Yeah, you remember - the character that made you turn the page and keep on reading without putting the book down, especially in The Afghan. Well Frederick has come up with an American version - The Tracker.
In this book, we learn his name, and we learn his history, and he's an instantly likeable character. US Marine, Arab linguist/specialist etc etc, working for a secret CTU-style agency called TOSA (Technical Operations Support Agency), and his mission? Find and neutralise The Preacher - a new extreme terrorist who is shaping the wills of many to carry out atrocities in the UK and the USA.
Forsyth has delved once again into extremism after his break with The Cobra. And why not? It's current and is a good idea to give us a new bad guy to hate. After the death of Bin Laden I wondered if Frederick would delve back into this territory and produce an espionage tale with military might. But here we don't get a Seal Team Six - that would have been too obvious and cliche. Not even the SAS feature in this book. Instead, we get the Pathfinders. Bravo, I say. If you've never heard of the Pathfinders - read this book to find out more. They're not fictitious - they do exist in Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the real world, and here Forsyth gives us an ensemble cast of an Airborne team of British squaddies who get to ply their trade on foreign soil with the backing of the British PM and the President of the USA, proving that the Special Relationship has never been better.
Sadly, in my opinion, the Pathfinders arrive too late in the book to make the reader totally care whether this team live or die as they carry out their mission. They are likeable, but it is necessary to stick them in towards the end, and you'll see why as you read, but they are far too brief for my liking.
Somali pirates, merchant seamen, lawyers and negotiators all have roles to play in this twisting tale, but it's the Tracker and his uber-geek hacker recruit who are the stars of the show. It's a shame that the Pathfinders weren't it for longer, I may have given this five stars.
It's a good story - not Forsyth's best, but very readable, and re-readable. I wonder what's next up Forsyth's sleeve - an attack on the incompetent Environmental Agency?