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The Afghan

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  6,235 ratings  ·  372 reviews
A chilling story of modern terrorism from the grandmaster of international intrigue.

T he Day of the Jackal, The Dogs of War, The Odessa File-the books of Frederick Forsyth have helped define the international thriller as we know it today. Combining meticulous research with crisp narratives and plots as current as the headlines, Forsyth shows us the world as it is in a way
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published August 22nd 2006 by Putnam Adult
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Jurassic Park by Michael CrichtonThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsThe Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. TolkienThe Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
Best Action-Adventure Novels
100th out of 946 books — 1,145 voters
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Community Reviews

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David J.
Oct 30, 2007 David J. rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any writers circle wanting an illustration of how not to write a thriller
You don't read Forsyth for the dialogue or the narrative style - you read him for twisty, page-turning plot and for know-how. This one, I have to admit, kept me turning the pages, but I found precious little new in the know-how.
Forysth's dialogue is wooden at best. In this one, he handles dialogue by mostly omitting it altogether. When he does break his long, grey, heavy paragraphs for a line of dialogue, it's not wooden any more - it's like lead.
Much the same goes for the narrative style. Th
Mar 05, 2009 Ed rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Died in the wool Forsyth fans, Clancy fans, spy story fans
I have always felt Forsyth's "Day of the Jackal" was one of the best suspense/thrillers, I've ever read.

How far the mighty have fallen.

In what reads like a channeling of Tom Clancy, "The Afghan" goes on and on with details that have little or nothing to do with plot or character development.

The actual "story" isn't bad but is dragged down by the constant insertion of irrelevancies and the over-reliance on stereotypical descriptions of both the terrorists and the good guys".

To be fair, some of t
I think this was the first Forsyth I've read (so far), and I enjoyed it. Definitely a manly style of writing, a bit ludlumesque, but different. The story was told a bit like a documentary, but the biggest difference to most other spy/suspense/thrillers I've read in ages was that there was no hot lady spy and no ladies to rescue. (I'm curious whether the other Forsyth books are like this - in this story any ladies to spy or to rescue would have fit like a pink glamour tracksuit in Afghanistan)
Ramakrishnan M
I am reading a Forsyth novel after long time. I felt very nostalgic (such fond memories from school and college days…) as I opened the pages of this thriller. Forsyth has always focused on FACTS, as a friend of mine used to say. You can always find very detailed, intricate details of missiles, military organizations, etc. in his novels. I have seen some debates on the accuracy of his research, though. In this book, I did notice some comments on Kerala that were not completely correct. I am not s ...more
Saurabh Sharma
This was the first time I read a book by Frederick Forsyth and it was not the initiation I was looking forward to. The Afghan as a spy thriller simply does not live upto its genre. The story moves at a slow pace till the final act, when it speeds up somewhat, and the author frequently goes into background mode for each and every event, derailing the pace and development of the plot.

'The Afghan' is a story of a retired British Special Agent, Mike Martin, who is sent on an undercover mission to u
Doug Clark
I am a huge Forsyth fan, and as such, was eagerly anticipating the reading of The Afghan, Forsyth’s latest thriller. I did enjoy it, but…it just wasn’t as page-turning as many of Forsyth’s earlier works such as The Day of the Jackal or The Dogs of War. Forsyth has clearly done his homework on terrorism, modern technology and intelligence agencies. Unfortunately, the display of that research came at the detriment of the plot and the characters in the plot. In filling in the backstory of the Afgha ...more
John Grinstead
I came to this not expecting to enjoy it - something I'm quite used to when reading things with a military theme or connection, where I have a tendency to cringe at the inaccurate references - but Forsyth lived up to his reputation of producing a well-researched story that entertains.

Building on a number of contemporary themes, he manages to spin a good yarn, whilst including sufficient factual references to suspend the readers disbelief; the only thing that you might have difficulty with is th
Jun 25, 2014 Efka rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who are interested in middleast political situation; suspense lovers; pro-americans;
Shelves: suspense
Though all the book is rather moderately paced, it engages you from beginning till the very last page. It is a briliantly fulfilled story about an anti-terrorist spec op, preparation to it, infiltration and the result of the whole operation. What was most exciting and intriguing for me, is that this book is written not as a run-and-gun or a typical James Bond style novel, but more like a true event, as fiction intertwines with real facts, real locations, and, sadly, real casualties. Interestingl ...more
Scott Holstad
Unlike most reviewers I've encountered online, I really enjoyed this book. Perhaps it's because it's the first Forsyth I've read since Day of the Jackal, I don't know. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I really wasn't disappointed.

The plot revolves around British and American intelligence agencies finding out about a super secret Al-Qaeda plot to do something bigger and worse than 9/11. The questions are what, when, and where? Several people are brought in to do something about it and only
Ian Mapp
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This is Forsyth all right. When I read Forsyth it's like I read a history book only better. Because then I knew it's not going to come out in any quiz or mid I enjoy it even more.

The story is more or less the same as the Fist of God...with the same character. But you don't have to read Fist of God in order to understand the character or lose the story. This book provides quite a repetition so for me who have read the Fist of's a bit boring. You know how Forsyth is with details
I wouldn't rank this in the same league as Forsyth's earlier, first-rate work (e.g., The Dogs of War or Day of the Jackal) Still, below-average Frederick Forsyth is better than a lot of espionage thriller writers who are on form.

The basic premise of this one is that British and American intelligence services have got wind of a plan for a terrorist attack. They do the near-impossible job of infiltrating an agent into al-Qaeda. For the mission, they choose a former SAS officer who is able to pass
Tim Merriman
Jan 14, 2008 Tim Merriman rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Forsyth fans
The story within the book is fascinating and convoluted but Forsyth writes with very little dialogue and long narrative passages that cover vast portions of the story in short order. He gives interesting background and too much background for me. I found myself skipping areas where his narration told me much more than I needed to know to follow the story. If you read to know more about the amazing armaments carried on helicopters, ships and portable weapons, this may be a lot of fun.

Michael Mar
I have a habit of when at the library picking up books for the kids, I take a quick tour of the Adult Fiction or New shelves and grab something that sounds interesting and that I have not read.
This was my latest, having not read a ton of "spy thrillers" but I was definitely entertained by the story. I appreciate Forsyth's interest in detailed background which helps make the story seem that much more lifelike, especially with a timely story that covers terrorism/Afghanistan/Gitmo. Another surpri
Kelly Crigger
I'm normally a fan of Forsyth (The Deceiver was one of the best books I ever read), but this fell short for me. Forsyth usually has a way of describing a character in painstaking detail without distracting from the main story, but he violates this principle in The Afghan. I knew way more than I needed to about each character and after several pages dedicated to their backgrounds, forgot where we were in the main story and where it was going. It's a compelling concept - a westerner infiltrating A ...more
Forsyth disappoints.

This has nothing on "Fist of God".

The Afghan relies too much on coincidence and needless subplots that do little to help the flow.

The final Al Asra that is hinted at is so ham handed so as not inspire any terror.

Col. Mike Martin R.I.P.

and with it, hopefully we'll bury the hackneyed snippet found 3 times in 2 novels

"To every man upon this earth, death comes soon or late

And how can a man die better, than facing fearful odds,

For the ashes of his fathers and the temples of his G
This book contained some well researched an incredibly interesting material about Afghanistan and the recent military and religious history of the area. The concept of placing a Western aligned spy into al Qaeda was interesting, quite well thought out and presented.

The current brutality, ignorance, greed and mindless stupidity of ISIS was an interesting backdrop while I read this book.

The core of the book is that there is a significant al Qaeda attack planned. The governments of the UK and The
The writing talent of Forsyth is evident here but unfortunately he misses the mark with this novel. He is known for developing a storyline slowly but in this case the story moves just too slow. The first half of the book is spent on character development of the Afghan prisoner who plays no role in the actual terrorist plot. The reader gets a thorough history lesson on armed conflict in Afghanistan but again that is not relevant to what the novel is suppose to be about.
Ranjan Atreya
The Afghan is very honest in what it is. An out and out Hollywood film waiting to be made. In a world where terrorism has become the source of much sorrow and horror this book is just a minor by product. Mind you the writing is good, the plot deserves an action hero and the climax is just as expected, there is something about the way in which sides have been taken which un-nerves me. Sure the Arab world has a few bad apples, sure its not perfect and yes, there are people who are out to cause evi ...more
Stuart Langridge

When British and American intelligence catch wind of a major Al Qaeda operation in the works, they instantly galvanize--but to do what? They know nothing about it: the what, where, or when. They have no sources in Al Qaeda, and it's impossible to plant someone. Impossible, unless-- The Afghan is Izmat Khan, a five-year prisoner of Guantánamo Bay and a former senior commander of the Taliban. The Afghan is also Colonel Mike Martin, a twenty-five-year veteran of war zones around the world--

Nitya Sivasubramanian
I usually know well enough to steer clear of potboiler thriller writers like Forsyth. I don't care enough about military tactics and political intrigue to enjoy them, to the extent that I admit I didn't even really enjoy Day of the Jackal as much as almost everyone else I know.

But this particular title intrigued me because I do enjoy experiencing Western authors sending their characters into the Eastern world. I'm always hopeful that they find a way to do it that is new, creative, or mind-openin
Jari Peteri
Frederick Forsyth has not been in best form for a long time, alas. There is something of his old peculiar strenght here, that is, meticulous description of careful planning of something that, in the end, fails to happen. But where The Day of the Jackal or the Dogs of War were brilliantly executed specimens, the end of The Afghan is a serious disappoinment.
But Forsyth has understood the fact that suspense is not in the action but in the anticipation. Like in a Hitchcock film. The Day of the Jacka
A retired SAS and Para soldier goes undercover to thwart a mysterious terrorist plot.
I have been a Forsyth fan ever since I read The Day of the Jackal in the '70s. I'm particularly fond of his The Devil's Alternative.
I found The Afghan more draggy than those books, at least until it neared the denouement. Thus it's probably a good thing that I also found it shorter.
Still, it's Forsyth. I put The Afghan in the second rank of his books, along with other works such as The Dogs of War.
Ankit Shah
afghan is a good story but it gets boring in the middle.

After bomber's attack in london British and American intelligence found out that Alquaeda is going to start an operation which would be much bigger then 9/11 .So they decide to send a spy in Alqueda who can pass as arab among arabs and can find out about their mission . They found their mike martine is a suitable person to do the job because he resembles an ex soldier of Alqueda named izmat khan . Intelligent squad trained him and his ques
Juan Nieto Cano
No es el mejor libro que he leído de Forsyth, pero aún así es bueno, me ha gustado. Como ya nos tiene acostumbrados, Forsyth narra de manera milimétricamente detallada una operación secreta de como un coronel del servicio secreto británico se infiltra en al-Qaida, suplantando la identidad de un antiguo combatiente afgano, condenado a prisión en ese momento en Guantánamo, una misión muy complicada ya que tiene que copiar su vida de forma milimétrica, ya que si es descubierto, su destino es una mu ...more
Dave Bones
Freddies Al Qaeda wank fantasy. Quite readable. Bit silly but good.
I like reading fast paced mystery and this wasn't fast paced at all. It is not a badly written though. It gripped me in parts and I honestly felt the need to skip through some details that Forsyth could have done away with.

The book is Col. Mike Martin's preparation and journey going undercover posing as a Taliban rebel, Izmat Khan, the Afghan, to find out what the project Al-Isra is. Needless to say, it is highly detailed about the condition in the middle east and has some good twists and turns.
Kathleen Hagen
The Afghan, by Frederick Forsyth, Narrated by Robert Powell, Produced by Penguin Audio, Downloaded from

This book was hard to follow. But I think that was part of the point. The world of espionage today is so far removed from the cold war that those of us born into that generation have a hard time understanding that world as it is today. Publisher’s note:
A chilling story of modern terrorism from the grandmaster of international intrigue.The Day of the Jackal, The Dogs of War, The Ode
Iwan Sutisna
From his first books, The Jackal, Frederick Forsyth has gone a long way to entertained his readers with a complex mix of historical facts and fictional background thriller in the world of spymasters. In this book Frederick Forsyth again takes his readers to go in depth with Al Qaeda.
This book also introduce old fans with the return of Forsyth best chameleon character in The Fist of Goid, ex SAS commander, Colonerl Mike Martin who on once again must go behind enemy lines as the infamous terroris
I guess this book was written for Forsyth fans, banking on the success of his first and classical works such as The Day of the Jackal, and The Odessa File. It whets out the old fans' appetite for the old master's yet another reprisal performance.

However, the Afghan lacks the palpable action and fully fleshed out characters as in his earlier works. The novel was written in the same no-nonsense, acerbic, reporter-like style which is typical of Forsyth's. The book is full of information on the mode
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From Wikipedia:

Frederick Forsyth, CBE (born 25 August 1938) is an English author and occasional political commentator. He is best known for thrillers such as The Day of the Jackal, The Odessa File, The Fourth Protocol, The Dogs of War, The Devil's Alternative, The Fist of God, Icon, The Veteran, Avenger, The Afghan, and recently The Cobra.

The son of a furrier, Forsyth was born in Ashford, Kent. He
More about Frederick Forsyth...
The Day of the Jackal The Odessa File The Fourth Protocol The Dogs of War The Devil's Alternative

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