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Dogs of War

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  12,457 ratings  ·  197 reviews
#1 "New York Times "bestselling author Frederick Forsyth delivers an international thriller that takes readers into the darkest hearts of men and nations...
In a remote corner of the impoverished African republic of Zangaro lies Crystal Mountain. At certain times of the day, the mountain itself seems to glow with a strange light. Only the ruthless and untouchable tycoon Si
ebook, 464 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by New American Library (first published 1974)
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Dec 14, 2013 Checkman rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: military fiction fans
I spent fourteen years in the U.S. Army (1986-2000). Approximately seven years in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve and seven years in the Regular Army. I was eighteen when I enlisted in 1986 and I was all about the "action". I had obviously watched too many Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone movies. By the time I separated from the Army in 2000 I had come to realize a few crucial things about the military and combat operations.

1. Beans and bullets (logistics) are everything. Th
It's been a lot of years since I last saw any part of the movie & more since I read it, but it aged very well. As usual, Forsyth takes us through a long, convoluted setup that is fascinating, very much the same structure as The Day of the Jackal. The epilogue explains a lot, but... well, I can't say without a huge spoiler. Motivations that don't make sense will, trust me.

While most of my shelf choices are obvious, I put it on the mystery-thriller shelf because it has a lot of that in it. Who
Chris Ingalls
Oh, man. After almost 20 years of reading and enjoying Forsyth's globe-trotting espionage/mystery thrillers, I knew I was bound to come across a clunker, and this one's it.

In a way, this book is similar to his deservedly acclaimed "Day of the Jackal" in that in concerns the plot and execution of a serious crime for political gain. While "Jackal" is about the assassination of French President Charles De Gaulle, "Dogs of War" concerns the attempted coup d'etat of a small, fictional African countr
Jul 28, 2013 Werner marked it as read-in-condensed-versions  ·  review of another edition
In keeping with my usual practice for books I've only read in a Reader's Digest condensed version, I'm not presuming to review or rate this one. However, I do want to post an interesting background factoid. Zangara, the fictional African nation that serves as the setting here, was directly modeled on the real-life country of Equatorial Guinea, which Forsyth visited just before writing the book, and psychotic President Kimba is a fictionalized version of E.G.'s first president, Macias Nguema, who ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Interesting if dated book. I was even then fascinated by the subject matter..mercenary soldiers. I know that many will disagree, but I've never held the opinion that they are universally "evil". This is an interesting story, it hasn't stayed with me as much as say, The Day of the Jackal, but Forsyth is still one of the best ever writers of suspense, thriller, and techno thriller.
A classically Forsyth book The Dogs of War (or: How to take over a small West-African country with a gang of well-armed friends 101) is nine-tenths description to the reader of the meticulous planning that goes into pulling off something big and impressive. The plotting is extremely sophisticated and tension is kept high as our not-particularly-sympathetic protagonist Cat Shannon is fixed to a tight schedule by ruthless employers. The final tenth of the book is needless to say some frenetic, cha ...more
Cry 'Havoc' and let slip the Dogs of War!
The idea is interesting, to have mercenaries to conduct a coup in a small (fictitious) country in West Africa. However, Forsyth spent too much time explaining the process in preparing the action. Well, might be useful if one wants to do the same thing in the 70s though. I felt kinda bored reading the middle part of this book. Couldn't care less about all of the business arrangements and Bond-esque love affair. Thank goodness, the last chapter was excitin
David Jarrett
This was a good, but not a great book, The premise was interesting -- a wealthy and unscrupulous English tycoon's attempt to overthrow the corrupt government of a backward but mineral-rich African country in order to install his own corrupt head of state in a coup de-etat. In order to accomplish this, he hires a mercenary, Carlo Shannon, an experienced fighter with African experience, who, in turn, hires his own team, selected from men with whom he has worked before.

There is very little action i
While many of the reviews point to an abundance of information as a downfall I find this to be the major strength of the novel. You are taken on a realistic journey by Forsythe through the shadowy thoroughly researched underworld ending in an unexpected but enjoyable climax.

If you enjoyed the details of fake passwords and the black market arms trade in "Day of the Jackal" then this book will likely be even more enjoyable.
“I will hurt you for this. I don't know how yet, but give me time. A day will come when you think yourself safe and happy, and suddenly your joy will turn to ashes in your mouth, and you'll know the debt is paid.”
- George R.R. Martin as Tyrion Lannister.

Revenge is such. Not the spontaneous display of anger and bravado as movies would have you believe. Smart ones know better. You turn that sourness and pain into a slow burning fuel. You plan, put things together, caress the details into place a
This book is a lengthy dissertation on the world of mercenary soldiers. It details, really details, the preparations for a mercenary-led coup in a tiny African nation. It's apparent that Mr. Forsyth's knowledge of the international black market for weaponry, the methods and tricks of moving it around, and probably even some of the actual persons involved in that game are all very impressive. The coup engagement itself and its results occupy only a small portion of the book. This was a surprise ...more
Abhishek Anand
This is a brilliant work of fiction by the master of details. It is fast paced and keeps the reader interested throughout the length of the narrative. It is the story of a group of mercenaries who take up a job of dethroning the government of a small African country. The group has its leader the inimitable C.A.T. Shannon, the main character in the plot, and who has led this group successfully in the past.

As a reader I sometimes have felt that some of the Forsyth's books get lost in the details,
Nov 06, 2014 Robert rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like to read about many killings to no good purpose
Shelves: fiction
Well-written and boring.

Pat Shannon, a mercenary between jobs, contracts to employ of bunch of his mercenary friends to displace the insane dictator of a small African country with valuable mineral deposits. His employer is bankrolling him in order to install a puppet government that will give him a sweetheart deal on the mining. To do so, he must not only recruit the men and acquire the weapons, ammunition, and transportation, but he must also smuggle them all in and out of countries of origin
It was a thoroughly exhilarating read. This book portrays an almost perfect picture of mercenary warfare in Africa. Various nations in the continent have been ravaged by Civil Wars, not to forget that some of these do not have stable governments yet. By coming up with a fictitious nation, Zangaro, Frederick Forsyth is able to convey the situations dealing with the usurping of a dictatorship,rather a coup d'etat, interests of big business houses and conglomerates in African resources (the movie ' ...more
Vignesh Karthik
This book is stands apart in style and expression.The minute details of the plot, the development of the story line-explaining the meticulous planning to pull out the plot are somethings rarely seen.The authors experience as journalist covering biafra civil war is lucidly depicted throughout the book.The plot is sophisticated, complex and high in tension.The complex metaphorical analysis and connections present in the book allow the reader to better discern the sundry of indelible characters tha ...more
Christopher Hedges
Jul 18, 2015 Christopher Hedges rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christopher by: Another author
I bought The Dogs of War on the recommendation of another author, for research purposes. Forsyth is reputed to have amazing attention to detail, and this story of soldiers of fortune did not fail in that regard. The author that recommended this book said that he believed, that for The Dogs of War, Forsyth actually spent the better part of two years living with a group of mercenaries to do his research.

Reading the story I found myself searching the internet for possible events taking place in th
May 20, 2015 Jason rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of military stories, Tom Clancy fans, anyone interested in mercenaries
Recommended to Jason by: Internet Movie Firearms Database
I remember my older brother watching “The Dogs of War” when I was a kid, but I didn’t really remember much about the movie except that it involved mercenaries in Africa and starred Christopher Walken. Lately I have been studying the various wars in Africa that followed World War II and the role of mercs in them, and decided to read this book after seeing multiple recommendations from other sources (including one from the Internet Movie Firearms Database).

An Anglo-Irish mercenary named “Ca
E.D. Martin
I just spent the half of the last 20 hours or so devouring this book. I'm not an espionage/action-y book reader, but this one really pulled me in, despite the constant POV shifts. I was impressed by the detail of the politics of 1970's West Africa and the horrific averice of Western capitalists. And I'm now in love with the main character, Cat Shannon - a mercenary fighting for the good guy underdogs against the capitalist bastards, who lose in the end. The way it should be.
Christian Orr
Jul 29, 2015 Christian Orr rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Thriller fans, Frederick Forsyth fans
Frederick Forsyth had originally vowed that he would only write three novels, and this was the third one. Thankfully for us thriller readers, he broke that vow, but even if he hadn't, Mr. Forsyth would've gone out with a bang, as "The Dogs of War" is a humdinger of a novel. Arguably the best mercenary novel ever written (although admittedly I still have to read "The Wild Geese"), and, in true Fred Forsyth fashion, is suspenseful, engrossing, richly detailed, with well-developed and fascinating c ...more
Another one that I first read in high school but decided to return to recently, this time with the knowledge that post-Spanish Equatorial Guinea serves as a basis for the novel. In fact, the author himself probably played a key role in financing and organizing the coup attempt that he presents here as fiction (see Adam Roberts, The Wonga Coup).
Parts of the book read like a manual about how to overthrow the government of a small African country; in fact, the dialogues often seem far more expla
The last 40 stunning pages with the brilliant climax, is definitely worth the remaining 400, often gruellingly detailed ones! Glad to finish the year with a good book. Happy New Year!!
Evan Tucker
While the beginning of this book interested me and drew me in, I found the story to be prolonged, and many aspects of it unnecessary. There are subplots that turn out to be completely irrelevant, most of the book follows the main character setting up the logistics of an operation, without much plot development to make such a thing interesting. The entire book builds up to a climax that is about ten pages long, and the ending makes about as much sense as a football bat.

While Forsyth is able to wr
Noel Kelly
Time for a re-read...
I knew what to expect (stellar research and execution) but what struck me the most was the the passage of time. The quintessential mercenary novel, The Dogs of War remains not just an in depth portrayal of what it used to take to take a country but of how difficult it would be to do so today. At least with so few resources.
The total absence of electronic communication places this novel in the category of historical fiction. In itself, not a bad thing but only leads to the fu
It's weird... some thrillers you read date badly. Others, not so much. Examples of books that date badly include pretty much anything by Robert Ludlum. I've yet to read any of his books that don't feel... of their time. This book, however, is different.

It's about a British mining conglomerate in the 1970s that are thinking about destabilizing a country in Africa (and profiting from the subsequent coop), to get their hands on a potentially profitable mining operation.

It then watches the man who i
Read this book over 30 years ago and it still is one of the few books that had such a great surprise ending I didn't see coming.
Foysol Ahmed
জাঙগারো দেশটির সাথে বাংলাদেশের অনেক মিল পাওয়া যায়! বইয়ের শেষের পাঁচ পৃষটা যেন পুরো বইয়ের কাহিনী বদলে দিয়েছে! ...more
Jeff Crosby
While this isn't Forsyth's best, it was a fun re-read.
Bob Conner
If you're reading these "reviews," you'll no doubt notice that I say the same thing about all of Forsyth's works.

I devour every book he writes; there's simply nothing better in the world of intrigue, in my opinion.

Once you read one of Forsyth's books, you'll read them all. I began reading his work in the 1980's and haven't stopped. This guy gets you into his stories and doesn't let you go.

Forsyth's writings are an accurate representation of "eat or be eaten" and that coupled with his knowledge o
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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 and The Kill List.

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

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“… Shannon’s fingers itched to smash the man in the face. Inside his head he kept telling himself,
Keep cool, baby, absolutely cool.”
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