1.5 stars out of 5 from my side; had I not been a Forsyth fan, I would have rated it 2.5 stars, perhaps 3… that rating should explain the book in short and sweet. Simply put, avoid if you are a die-hard Forsyth fan, read it otherwise. It is worth one read – and one read only. It lacks the gel, the pulling power that will make you want to read it again and again. And, for the price, it is just not worth it. At 399/- (330 +/- a few online), it is waaaaay too expensive; at that price, I would much prefer to go in for a book that has a factor that makes me want to return to it. Spending that money for 2 hours is not justified.
To those who have read my book reviews before, the beginning to the review itself would have made it clear how much of a let-down this book has been to me; to be very honest, I regret the purchase. My money was wasted on this; I could have done much better with it. The current book is not what you expect from a Forsyth, straight and simple.
The plot, unlike other Forsyth novels, is, at least to me, incomplete and underdeveloped at best and flawed at worst. This is about an online terrorist, who preached Jihad through online sermons, converts one-off Muslims into Jehadis, and exhorts them to kill influential people. Net result is that this guy is declared a public enemy number one in the USA, and a man-hunt is launched, with executive orders to kill him. Flat out, I dont believe the plot: unlike most of his other novels. It seems way too far-fetched, contrived and unreal. The concept is interesting, but its development leaves a lot to be desired for. The punch and the believability is totally lacking in this novel.
Frankly, Forsyth seems to be far more at home in the Western Hemisphere, and the Cold War and/or spy thrillers genres. This new genre – that of Islamic terrorism – is simply not his cup of tea. As an example, I cannot recall any details from the Afghan – while I recall the characters from The Fourth Protocol, The Dogs Of War, or The Day Of The Jackal with crystal clarity even today. As a matter of fact, even in the current novel, I cannot recall many characters.
Character dvelopment – one of the hallmarks of a Forsyth – leaves a lot to be desired for. While the principal protagonist has been well developed, the antagonist lacks punch. The stamp of class in character development is just missing. My best guess is that the author is not fully at home in this new genre he has entered – which could be the reason why I cannot connect with the characters from this book.
The pace of the book is good and nicely paced; the readability is also of a very high order. The actions sequences, the flow of the story etc is all pretty much effortless. The book, as I pointed out earlier, makes for a good fast read. While it is not unputdownable, it still does manage to hold the interest of the reader till the last page, plot weaknesses notwithstanding. Problem is that the story does not grow on you, and pull you in. You read not as an involved person, but as a detached bystander. You dont wonder what happens next, you dont bite your nails in anticipation…
At 300/- plus in cash, avoid. Not worth it, at least in my opinion…
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3. What India Should Know by V Lakshmikanthan / J Vasundhara Devi
4. The War Ministry – Krishan Partap Singh
5. Bankerupt – Ravi Subramanian