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The Feather Men

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  725 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
The Feather Men is the riveting story of the efforts by a private British vigilance committee to eliminate a band of coldblooded contract killers. From 1977 to 1990, three hired assassins known as the Clinic tracked down and murdered four former British soldiers, one at a time. Each of the assassinations was carried out in such an ingenious fashion that there would be no h ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 1st 1994 by Dell (first published January 1st 1991)
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Aug 15, 2016 Sue rated it really liked it
I became aware of the novel, THE FEATHER MEN by Ranulph Fiennes after watching the action movie version called Killer Elite. At the end of the movie, it was stated that this movie was based on the 1991 non-fiction true story historical novel by author Ranulph Fiennes. Having enjoyed the movie I decided to read the book.

The novel is well written and is about assassins and victims. It is about a group of contract assassins, The Clinic, who were hired by an Oman sheikh to carry out revenge killing
Oct 27, 2012 ^ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The military & those with strong stomachs
At first I struggled to get my bearings in this book. Once I’d grasped the plot, I surprised myself in realising that I had actually begun to rather enjoy it; that is if a reader, who in this situation is essentially a voyeur, can actually claim to be favorably interested in seedy sex, brutal violence and carefully calculated cold blooded killing. Not my usual fare, I must admit.

By three-quarters through there was no way that I could have laid this book down unfinished. But I continued to quest
I'm amazed this hasn't been made into a movie. What a suspenseful, complex, and compassionate real-life story this is, a gem of a book. For better or worse, I almost never read a book without finding out what it's about, but I do wish I hadn't read the foreword until I'd gotten into the story. Really, it seems misplaced at the beginning. It would have been enough to know "The Feather Men" chronicles the systematic murder by a team of technically savvy contract killers of several British SAS men ...more
Aug 27, 2007 Kate rated it it was ok
Shelves: military
This is allegedly a true-life account of a group of contract assassins (The Clinic) who were hired by an Omani shiekh to carry out revenge killings for the deaths of his four sons during Oman's civil war against Marxist rebels. The targets for assassination end up all being British SAS officers who were "seconded" to the Sultan's army during the war. Now supposedly there was a secret British vigilante organization (the "Feather Men") looking out for the health, welfare and families of former SAS ...more
Dec 18, 2016 Orlok rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found this book a slog to get through, and kept checking the percentage progress in the hopes of seeing it leap forward. I only persevered because it was part of a reading challenge so was determined to see it through. This was partly due to the writing style which I found flat and often uninteresting, and partly due to the fact that it didn't seem to know if it was a thriller or a non-fiction retelling of actual events.

It was written like a non-fiction work (every acronym or slightly unusual
Oct 08, 2012 Rank1n77 rated it really liked it
My dad recommended this book to me & said I would not be disappointed. It wasn't until I watched Killer Elite & found out the movie was based on this book that I decided to read it. My dad was right it was a excellent read & I wasn't disappointed. The only downside being I wish I read the book b4 I watched the movie. Strong 4 stars & hard to believe that it's based on True Events.
Andrew Shipway
Apr 19, 2012 Andrew Shipway rated it it was amazing
Whether its true or not its a cracking story. Now I'll have to see the film( Killer Elite) and see if its as good.
Mar 01, 2013 Fraser rated it really liked it
I don't often read a lot of 'fiction' and here Fiennes plays with the idea that this book contains only an element of fiction to fill in the 'gaps' in an otherwise true story.

I wouldn't want to argue with the man, so I went along with it all, and if you do, this is as good a 'thriller' as your likely to read in a long time.

I had to order a second hand copy as the book was out of print. I don't know why it wouldn't be more popular, as its as good as anything in this 'genre' that I have come acros
Suzanne Auckerman
Feb 06, 2010 Suzanne Auckerman rated it it was amazing
Best book I have read in a long time and it is a true story, with a lot of it set in Oman, a country I have never thought very much about. However, Jo is arranging a trip to Oman in October that I have told her I would go on. I found this book in a NY Times book review section on mysteries and did not know it was about Oman, when I started to read it. The review said it was a bestseller in England for years. Interesting how things start to intersect.

I enjoyed this book. It is kind of scary to think that these people are out there. I really like how we got so much more back story than in the movie. I came to my own conclusion that I don't feel you can have a retribution killing for something that happens in a war or military encounter, especially when the person being hunted down and killed later wasn't even the aggressor. I also liked how the past and 'current' were blended easily to tell the story.
Hilmi Isa
Oct 22, 2013 Hilmi Isa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Empat orang bekas anggota tentera British didapati meninggal dunia di dalam keadaan yang dianggap normal. Tetapi,sebenarnya,mereka dibunuh! Cuma,modus operandi pembunuhan dilakukan supaya kematian mereka tidak menunjukkan kesan-kesan pembunuhan dilakukan secara sengaja dan terancang. Mereka dibunuh kerana mereka didapati terlibat di dalam kematian anak-anak seorang sheikh Arab yang berasal dari Oman. Dengan mengupah The Clinic,sebuah kumpulan trio pembunuh upahan,misi memburu dan membunuh keempa ...more
Mar 14, 2008 Frank rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Thriller / Special Forces Readers / anyone
I just re-read this real-life thriller (March 2008) to my girlfriend (and goodreads 'friend' lol) Yulia. We share several books this way and this one was truly like picking up an old friend. This book was widely read in Great Britain (Sir Ranulph Feinnes) homeland. As you may or may not know he's a nut-job "this'll be the death of me surely" adventurer who's been to both poles, attempted to scale Everest, competed in 7 straight marathons around the globe for charity and served Her Majesty as an ...more
Alleged true story of a secret unit within the British military operating above the law, and their clashes with a squad of hitmen hired by an Omani aristocrat to avenge his sons' deaths at the hand of the SAS in the Omani civil war. It's quite controversial in its home country, not in the least because not just the author but his main sources have changed their stories several times. There are also no hard evidence for such an unit's existence, and if there was there'd be quite a few political s ...more
Erik Willén
Mar 05, 2013 Erik Willén rated it it was amazing
The Feather men by Ranulph Fiennes - also titled Killer Elite in a new publication - is a very well written book that are based on historic accounts, according to the author. The historic accounts throughout the book are most likely true - and I doubt any government will ever admit to any of them.

The story is about assassins, victims, and vigilantism. All three parts are very well presented. Personally I would have liked a more in depth on the characterization, however, given the nature of the
Brian Wade
Jun 12, 2013 Brian Wade rated it liked it
First learned of this book from my brother & his fiance. Apparently this book was published and then quickly discontinued due to classified information it contained. (That's what I've been told.) As a result some earlier editions have increased in value and the book has become a rarity. Not sure how this works since the book has since been re-published under a different title, "Killer Elite". In any case, I came across this book at one of my favorite used book stores and picked it up at barg ...more
Jan 16, 2013 Marilyn rated it it was amazing
This is the first of Sir Ranulph Fiennes books I have ever read. He has about 10 out. He is an excellent writer...and wrote this one more or less under pressure...with an 18 month timeline. This is a true story. My attention was brought to this book after we watched the movie "Killer Elite." The movie was based on this book. The book is about the murder for hire by Amr bin Issa, sheikh of the Bait Jarboat tribe in Dhofar. Three men work together (the mercenaries), called the Clinic. They are int ...more
Sep 20, 2011 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2011
This book is certainly well thought out and very well written indeed. The plot is rich and contains enough twists and turns to hold the readers attention. My only gripe is the controversy which has surrounded this book since its original publication 20 years ago. Mr. Fiennes "clever" manipulation of the reader regarding whether it is fiction or not adds absolutely diddly squat to their experience of the book and I can only put my cynical hat on and imagine that he is trying to coin it at the exp ...more
Apr 14, 2015 Silverblue rated it it was ok
Didn't like this book at is written by ex-SAS contract killer, who actually killed people for money, and was about to be eliminated for his crime but was all along being protected by shadowy vigilante group. In the process of making inquiry about the authenticity of the id of the killer (the author), the vigilante group was alerted of who was after him. Basically, the shadowy vigilante group proposed to write the story themselves so the story is manipulated to their liking as they disco ...more
Feb 08, 2014 Evan rated it liked it
Shelves: history
I read this book after watching the movie "Killer Elite." The book I read is no longer called "Feather Men." I must say, I enjoyed the movie more than the book. The writing style was very difficult to follow. He switched between characters mid-paragraph. I reread many sentences and paragraphs trying to figure out what was happening. Despite the writing style, the book was quite good. And for the most part, the movie was very close to what happened in the book. I do like how the ending was writte ...more
Maysaloon Abu-Zaglan
some how I got confused , but at the end I figured out why , when and how everything happends . the ultimate question thst always popped up to my head when I read this kind of books , why do you need to pictured the arabs as uneducated sexual peoples with wealth and huge amount of hate to American and British as well and they willing to dump everything they know and learn in their growing to live their hoping to have what they missing in their countries ?
these kind of books starts to annoying me
Mar 27, 2015 Sergio rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anche se il titolo dell'edizione italiana di questo thriller è decisamente fuorviante dalle cose narrate, questo libro, che narra le vicende di un trio di killer prezzolati fronteggiati da una associazione fantasma che cerca di comprenderne le intenzioni e di salvare le loro possibili prede, ha un incedere incalzante che non ti fa mollare la lettura fino all'ultima pagina. Ambientato tra Africa e Inghilterra nella cerchia dei SAS, truppe d'elite dell'esercito britannico, il romanzo verità di Fie ...more
Nov 27, 2011 Gordon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has the correct title of "The Feather Men" and is a stormer of a goodread, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, no less, is a living legend in Britain, Ex SAS-Artic Explorer, Heart of a lion, Stamina of a migrating widerbeast, and a top notch story teller to boot. "FICTIONAL" account of how to Assassinate your enemies while making it look like an accident, with a different twist in the tale ending.....Forgot that I had read this and would STRONGLY recommend it to our Langley suckers.
Jul 15, 2014 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting but at times confusing book. There were several times when I had difficulty keeping track of events in the book, but in the end I found it an enjoyable read. If you are looking for an intricate, fast-paced action novel, then this is it. It purports to be factual, which to me seems most unlikely, but in the end it was a good story. If it was in fact based on actual events then it was one heck of a story!
Ystyn Francis
A satisfying and interesting read, despite being a little clunky intitially. It feels a lot like George Jonas' far superior "Vengeance", but "The Feather Men" has its own moments of quality, and the twist in perspective at the end is quite neat. I wonder if it will ever get a worthy film adaptation, not the hodge-podge reinventing that was "Killer Elite".
Mar 25, 2009 Burt rated it really liked it
Shelves: action-adventure
Another book recommended to me by John Thompson. He recommended that I set aside twenty-four hours for a dedicated read, that I could not put the book down. Yeah, heard that before. John was, as usual, correct. Assassins, plotters, men who specialize in wet-work. The book is a marvelous, globe-spanning, adventure in the world of the kind of justice the governments of the world cannot mete out.
Jul 18, 2013 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While a very dry read, this book is the story of an amazing series of events that took place many years ago. Imagine, if you will, a group of hitmen taking revenge on soldiers for a war action many years ago. Now add to the mix a group of people who intend to help and defend their nation's heroes. This is the premise of this amazing true story.
Mike Wigal
Jan 02, 2015 Mike Wigal rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a read! WAAAY better than the movie "Killer Elite." Apparently all true. I checked some of the books referenced and all exist. I've been to Oman several times and, even though Sultan Qaboos still reigns I had no idea of the history of that country.
Anoop Subramanian
Aug 29, 2012 Anoop Subramanian rated it liked it
Decent read. Interesting theme, good description of characters. The author has described every single detail in the story, which is good, but at most times irrelevant. Even with such an exciting theme the book fails to be a page turner.
Hertzan Chimera
Aug 28, 2012 Hertzan Chimera rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
an absolutely amazing read,

the amount of detail that went into both the story and the characterisations.

I especially appreciate the could-have-been cheesy but were-totally-brilliant last couple of chapters.

5 stars, thanks for writing a corker, Sir Ranolph.
Mar 30, 2013 Mike rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ranulph-fiennes
It can take a while to get into this book but it is well worth the effort. A true and rather disturbing story with an unexpected twist near the end.
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Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 3rd Baronet, OBE, better known as Ranulph (Ran) Fiennes, is a British adventurer and holder of several endurance records.

Fiennes has written books about his army service and his expeditions as well as a book defending Robert Falcon Scott from modern revisionists. In May 2009, aged 65, he climbed to the summit of Mount Everest. According to the Guinness Book o
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