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3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  4,062 ratings  ·  114 reviews
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 t...more
Paperback, 576 pages
Published September 2nd 1997 by Bantam (first published 1996)
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The Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick ForsythThe Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumThe Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
Espionage
85th out of 533 books — 589 voters
The Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréThe Hunt for Red October by Tom ClancyThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
Best Spy Novels
161st out of 728 books — 964 voters


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Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in November 1999.

Frederick Forsyth always has interesting ideas, but his writing never does them justice. Icon is no exception to this rule. The idea - a new Hitler attempting to take power in the chaotic ruins of a Russia devastated by mega-inflation and uncontrollable organised crime - is excellent. The major problem is the narrative style. The story takes second place to exposition of the idea - the reader does not really need pages of description of ficti...more
Kristina
I'm a sucker for spy novels and usually think that most good fiction in that genre died along with the Cold War. I will say, however, that this one was great. I took a little while to get through the first chapter but once I did I honestly couldn't put it down -- I stayed up until almost 3:00 a.m. one night to finish it because I just HAD to know what happened. It's kind of a "what would happen if ..." novel. When it was written in 1993, it actually was set to take place in the future (1999). Th...more
Stefan
Icon is one of my favorite novels by Frederick Forsyth because in this work he really makes easy to connect with the characters. Forsyth put many complicated characters in this book, and opened up the world post-Soviet Moscow. An excellent read that projects the settings so wonderfully described into the reader's mind. The dialogue does not fail the reader, and the plot is well developed and has a number of good surprises (which kept me on the edge of my seat). Forsyth also uses his previous exp...more
Ira
Aku cuman mo nambahin kalo buku ini bagussss banget.. trik trik spionasenya ok dah... FF emang jagonya
Arun Divakar
Too good to be true, don't we say this word about the really grand things we encounter at times ? A really hot lady/guy who for no reason strikes up a conversation with you and is willing to proceed further, a boss who suddenly supports you and gives a pay hike for no reason or maybe a new political leader who in a short time makes a tremendous impact on the masses. While any of these or for that matter any such overtly unbelievable incidents are going on, a small voice at the back of your mind...more
Velvetink
Finished. I liked it. Review sometime to follow - or maybe not because it's been a hard couple of months following mum's passing.

It's a shame I am reading this at the moment because I won't remember a thing about it, being currently consumed with thoughts that won't turn off and boundless grief. Icon covers an interesting period of modern Russian history. sigh. Looks like it's one I will have to come back to sometime.


The west Indies fish make their 2nd appearance around page 168 many years lat...more
Midori Jimenez
simply one of the best! i simply CANNOT put this book down when i started reading it. the plot was simple - stop Igor Komarov from being the Russian President. and how the lead character did it was simply amazing! it was brilliantly thought of and it is no doubt one of my favorite books of all time!

Karthik Vivekanandhan
I came across this book by accident,was not sure if it was too old to be any good because the story happens in 1999 Russia.It had been a very long time since I read The Day of the Jackal and i remember enjoying it then,so decided to give this a try.

The author has done a lot of research on Russia and espionage,once you have read through the first chapter,this becomes really interesting.This is a gripping spy novel with lots of flashbacks, and the part I start to get bored with all the American wr...more
Ron
Another "too old to be current and too new to be vintage/classic" book, found on the hallway communal bookshelf, but interesting, as I'd never read Frederick Forsyth. He seems to do a lot of research, a la Michael Crichton, but here, instead of technology and science, the emphasis is more on politics and espionage. Forsyth perhaps came of age (or was of age) during the excesses of the cold war, and there is a definite cloud of that hanging over the story, even though it's set in post-Glasnost Ru...more
Finitha Jose
Thrillers or detective novels are best when it comes to train journeys; especially if you are in an Express or Superfast which goes slower than a Passenger and is held down in different stations for reasons I know not what. It is on one such journey that I came upon this novel -- a random search in the library revealed the worn out book in the corner and it looked like a good one too for the three hour ride home.
I never got a chance to read any more of Forsyth, but thanks to this absorbing tal...more
Steve
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Juan Nieto Cano
Me ha encantado. Superenganchado desde el principio. Un libro que tiene todos los elementos que a mí me gustan y algunos forman parte de la novela negra: suspense, intriga, acción, espionaje, y una trama y malvado plan político perfectamente detallado, tanto el como llevarlo a cabo y el como destruirlo. El protagonista, Jason Monk, a parte de ser todo un héroe, llega a fascinar no sólo por su carisma e inteligencia, si no por como se desenvuelve en cualquier situación, sobre todo en las adversas...more
Diah Didi
One of the best novel I've ever read, in my opinion. Though I found it is hard and pretty boring to follow at the first time, Frederick Forsyth makes it so great that the story is getting more and more interesting, so I keep on reading it couple of times.
Since it tells us about spy and politic, all the characters created are full with heroism, cunning, betrayal and intrigue.
Jason Monk, together with Sir Nigel Irvine, as the main characters, presents the ideal type of secret service agent. Brill...more
Sailen Dutta
The Cold War has, without a doubt, given the world one good thing: Spy Thrillers. And coming from a master story teller like Forsyth, you can expect something exceptional. 'Icon' doesn't disappoint. The story takes place in two parts- Cold War era and post Cold War era. Jason Monk, the protagonist, was a runner of spies in Soviet Russia and he was one of the most successful agents of the CIA in recruiting high ranking Soviet officials to spy against their own country. Post Cold War, his skills a...more
Ishmael
This book has a very slow start, in fact I did not feel fully engaged until after page 100. But once I got past this milestone I was deeply immersed. The story picked up speed after that. The books title did not immerse until around the middle and then the second part was deeply captivating. An entertaining book following the bitter relationship that Jason Monk experienced with the spy community, and his resolve to do one last mission before disappearing into the deep waters of the Caribbean. Th...more
Víctor
Un buen libro de espías. Te deja entrever la trama, pero no te muestra toda su complejidad hasta el último momento.
Estructurado en dos partes redactadas de manera diferente cada una; la primera parte se torna demasiado lenta e inconexa -por momentos- para un libro de acción e intriga, pero afortunadamente la calidad va in crescendo. A pesar de que las 100 primeras páginas son capaces de ahuyentar a más de un lector impaciente, con las siguientes 100 la cosa va mejorando notablemente hasta alcan...more
Matimate
Frederick Forsyth is a master of conspiracy and The Icon is another masterpiece of his. He brought us to the post Soviet Russia. Igor Komarov wanted to be in power in Russia and he was not afraid to use any mean to make his dream come true and in the process getting rid of his opponents as well as several minorities which he simply did not like. Everything was playing on his cards, but then a mistake happened and former soldier now janitor who was cleaning the office was well touching things, wh...more
Dale
This is my first Forsyth novel and for the first 250 pages...

...I had determined that it would be my last.

Forsyth spends the first half of of the 500+ page Icon just setting the reader up for the real plot of the novel. Unfortunately, the setup consists of a series of disjointed flashbacks interspersed with seemingly unrelated tales of what is going on in the present of the novel (1999-2000 in the old USSR, now Russia).

Suddenly, once the flashbacks work their way up to the present time the real...more
Ian
Loved this. First Forsyth novel I ever read, whichprompted me to read his back previous novels. Love the way he changes with the times from writing cold war/post cold war thrillers to now dealing with the modern day threat from al-Qaeda. Long may he continue.
Mahesh Prasad
One of the best of Forsyth. Maybe it's bcz I like Russia very much but even then the portrayal of the great country is a must read. You will feel that you are sitting by the Moskva river and enjoying the cool Russian breeze.

The character portrayal is the masterpiece of Forsyth. Without any bias, without any direct reference as to who is the protagonist, he just narrates the events. We understand the character of a person simply from the events. His character will be as we decipher it; not as t...more
Iva Endrychová
Tak nějak jsem čekala, že Monk to nepřežije... Jako dobrý číst si o špionáži v době studené války... Konečně vím proč se jedna povídka jmenuje Lefortovo.o)

Teď mám ve čtečce rozečtenou Boží pěst.
Peter
(entered this years after reading; read this before Goodreads)

Probably enjoyed it.

Aurora library.
Mahareni Maldini
Awalnya ogah2an baca buku ini, coz 15 halaman pertama berisi uraian tentang kondisi sosial politik Rusia yg lagi carut marut menjelang tahun 2000. Tapi makin k belakang, yeeeee...makin penasaran.

Bener2 deh Sir Nigel Irvine itu, seorang mantan intel yg cerdik banget. Cocok digabungkan sama Jason Monk yg brilian d lapangan. Keren dah! Otak 2 orang ini bikin partai UPF jadi hancur lebur.

Weeeell...sosok wanita2 d buku ini cuma peran2 pembantu doank. Tokoh lainnya laki2 semua. Mungkin karena dunia sp...more
Manoj Bharathi
Well the pandering to spy fiction continues.. and this book is right up there in the genre. Again, a wonderful peek into the world of Cold War espionage. I really enjoy these descriptive portions but invariably though in my book the actual sewing up of the story at the end by Forsyth always seems to fall short.
Eevee
Spy novels don't usually involve this much fictional political history. I like it, but I'm not sure other people who like spy novels would. Also, it kind of amazes me that Forsyth can have such a thorough understanding of Russian politics, and the procedures of intelligence gathering, but not be able to write believably about how computers work.
Sahil Madhok
get lost in the novel many characters keep u engage
Bakhtiar Iqbal
One of his best works
Jim Puskas
In somewhat the same vein as "The Fourth Protocol", i.e. deeply insightful into the intrigues and competing forces within Russia, in this case after the collapse of the Soviet Union, rather than at the height of the cold war. In terms of its exploration of the effects of gangsterism and systemic corruption, it also harkens back somewhat to "Avenger". It lacks the scope of either of those books but is still an engrossing read for anyone who appreciates Forsythe's style.
Howard
Definitely one of Forsyth's better stories. Complex, but not too complex. Some good characters and a plot who's general direction is clear early on and the more enjoyable for it.
I enjoy Forsyth's better stories, but always find myself having to suffer through the swathes of unnecessarily length backstory to every character, every building, every town, every sock that every character wears ... you get the point :-)
I have reached the point now where I skip a lot ;)
Shiv
marvellous, outstanding.... I can say no more..
People who want generic espionage thriller can read this book without any doubts in their minds... You will simply love it and will remember the whole of your life....
Although I'm a big fan of Forsyth.. Have read his each n every book but this was different in regard to it's mature treatment... How a real spy agency works brick by brick to topple a regime... And to bring about a coup..
Must read guys..
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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
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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