Icon by Frederick Forsyth

After nearly a decade as a journalist, Frederick Forsyth turned his research into a string of bestselling thrillers.

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Icon by Frederick Forsyth


  • Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.27 x 6.91 x 4.17
  • Publisher: Bantam ; Reprint edition (October 1997)
  • ISBN: 0553574604

    Frederick Forsyth, best known for his spy novels
    The Day of The Jackal and The Odessa File, sets this post-communist thriller during 1999 in Russia, a land whose current stresses have worsened to breaking point. Ex-C.I.A. agent Jason Monk is sent in by a clandestine western group to try and stop the election of a sinister nationalist, Igor Komarov, who seems about to be installed in the Kremlin. The Russian Mafia and Komarov's nationalist militia make nasty enemies. As usual Forsyth gives his story an authentic feel with minute attention to detail and the use of real public figures in the background. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

    Book Description
    From the master of the novel of international intrigue comes a riveting new book as timely and unsettling as tomorrow's headlines.

    It is summer 1999 in Russia, a country on the threshold of anarchy. An interim president sits powerless in Moscow as his nation is wracked by famine and inflation, crime and corruption, and seething hordes of the unemployed roam the streets.

    For the West, Russia is a basket case. But for Igor Komarov, one-time army sergeant who has risen to leadership of the right-wing UPF party, the chaos is made to order. As he waits in the wings for the presidential election of January 2000, his striking voice rings out over the airwaves offering the roiling masses hope at last--not only for law, order, and prosperity, but for restoring the lost greatness of their land.

    Who is this man with the golden tongue who is so quickly becoming the promise of a Russia reborn? A document stolen from party headquarters and smuggled to Washington and London sends nightmare chills through those who remember the past, for this Black Manifesto is pure Mein Kampf in a country with frightening parallels to the Germany of the Weimar Republic.

    Officially the West can do nothing, but in secret a group of elder statesmen sends the only person who can expose the truth about Komarov into the heart of the inferno. Jason Monk, ex-CIA and "the best damn agent-runner we ever had," had sworn he would never return to Moscow, but one name changes his mind. Colonel Anatoli Grishin, the KGB officer who tortured and murdered four of Monk's agents after they had been betrayed by Aldrich Ames, is now Komarov's head of security.

    Monk has a dual mission: to stop Komarov, whatever it takes, and to prepare the way for an icon worthy of the Russian people. But he has a personal mission as well: to settle the final score with Grishin. To do this he must stay alive--and the forces allied against him are ruthless, the time frighteningly short....

    Reader Reviews
    Shaky ending mars fine start, October 21, 2003 Reviewer: Bill Slocum from Norwalk, CT USA Frederick Forsyth will never write a book as good as "The Day Of The Jackal" or "Odessa File" again. That's not a knock. Few authors ever get that lucky or brilliant once, let alone twice, especially their first two times off the blocks. "Icon" suffers from a beginning that suggests otherwise. You read the first 300 pages and they grab you in a way few books ever do, with alternating suspense yarns set years apart, each somehow building on the drama of the other. You agonize for poor Jason Monk as his Soviet assets are undone one after the other by real-life traitor Aldrich Ames, kind of what Benedict Arnold might have been had the Revolutionary figure succeeded in not only giving up West Point to the Redcoats, but Fort Ticonderoga and Philadelphia as well. The fact that its now well after 1999 and the ultra-nationalist movement in Russia has not taken control doesn't lessen the sense of fear and loathing Forsyth gets across as he slowly sets up the principal story with a nice sense of balance, nuance, and loving detail. You think to yourself: "Can it be? Did Forsyth find his wellspring once more?" Then it all goes to pieces in Part 2, along with the chief villians. After drumming in their diabolical competance in Part 1, Forsyth apparently allows them to forget their medication in Part 2. Not only do they act ridiculously, but Monk the hero, like the protagonist in "Fist Of God," seems to anticipate everything that happens in such a way to alleviate any creative unease the reader might feel. The book that starts so promisingly ends not with a bang but a yawn. Even at the very end, when Forsyth reveals a key trick in his narrative, he does so in such a rote way as to raise more questions than answers. Clearly he went for a "He was my father" type finale, but what we get instead is another of those coincidences that pock the narrative's second half. I love Forsyth, even lesser Forsyth. There's a lot to enjoy here, especially in the first half, and people who like their resolutions tidy and suspense-free may enjoy the rest as well. But I sort of wish the master could have taken more time to sort out the second half of his story with the same apparent care he bestowed on the first.

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