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The Network

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  202 ratings  ·  51 reviews
In this bold novel, Jason Elliot illuminates the dark recesses of the intelligence community during a crucial moment in history: the struggle to avoid a terrorist attack.

In the months before 9/11, former army officer Anthony Taverner is leading a quiet life in the English countryside. But his recruitment for a dangerous mission to Afghanistan by the British Secret
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by Bloomsbury USA (first published July 5th 2010)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
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Sep 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.

What is the Network? -- p. 130:

“The Network's original goal was to establish a structure, to be activated in times of need, to penetrate key groups relevant to British interests in the Middle East and gather information on their activities. It operated independently of the more conventional intelligence services, with which its relationship was collaborative when necessary, but for the sake of secrecy never shared operational details."

Sep 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I can highly recommend Jason Elliot’s new novel The Network. He has created a richly detailed novel based in reality that is truly compelling to read. It is a spy thriller that speaks with vivid description and distinctive authenticity of someone who has lived there. It really has it all, seemingly authentic tradecraft, espionage, deceit, betrayals, religion, international affairs, exploitation, romance and friendships, all tested to the very limit. The Network is well written with a complex ...more
Barbara Mitchell
Sep 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a novel I won from GoodReads and I'm so happy I did. Elliot is a travel writer which adds a great dimension to this thriller. It's his first novel but I certainly hope there will be more. There are gripping sections of nail-biting tension but those are balanced with wonderful descriptions of the settings and relationships. The hero, Anthony Taverner, has a best friend he would die for, a lovely romance with a beautiful woman, and a brotherhood with another man of action. I prefer that to ...more
Gordon Johnston
Billed as a spy novel set immediately pre 9/11, but it just doesn't live up to the hype. A rather elongated plot, based around a disjointed timeline and with large amounts of exposition, together with masses of background on the history of Afghanistan, make this a slow read.

The narrative develops over a long period as a former British army officer is recruited and trained to destroy a bunch of US missiles in the possession of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Lots of talk of Osama, CIA, MI6 and the
Sep 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed Jason Elliott’s The Network. It was like going along for the ride on covert mission from the safety of your armchair. The mission was to seek out a stash of American stinger missiles before the Al Queda gets them.

I confess that I have never really enjoyed James Bond movies with the exception of the introduction of new gadgets and liking the scenery of the different settings. This book is much richer! Anthony or “Ant” is much more developed as a person; from the sorrow he felt
Pamela (Lavish Bookshelf)
With Jason Elliot's first book "An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan" it is clear Elliot loves the people and culture of Afghanistan. Based on Jason Elliot's second book "The Network" it's also clear that Elliot enjoy writing military covert ops, James Bond-style thrillers. Unfortunately the merging of these two interests really did not result in a blockbuster read. Actually, at times, the book feels as if it was written by two different people.

The descriptions of Afghanistan are
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
The eyecatching cover of this book bears absolutely no resemblance to the story. The narrator, Anthony Taverner, is a former Army officer living in the English countryside, who is recruited to find and destroy a cache US Stinger missiles in remote Afghanistan in the months leading up to 9/11. He also has a secondary, private mission of tracking down his best friend who has been living undercover with Al-Qaeda. Before he can travel to Afghanistan, he is given extensive training. He also travels ...more
Aug 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-read
I don't like war. I admire and owe every freedom I have to those who have fought for my protection and yours. This book humanizes war by showing the personalities and homeland of those we seek to destroy. Yet it is not only our enemy that suffers. This novel not only humanizes the conflicts, it takes you to the worlds in which we fight. Eveyday people making a living. Beautiful scenery, some scarred by war. Past conflicts explained, and etched in momory. Death, betrayal, and heroism - more than ...more
John C.
Nov 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
The story basically involves Afghanistan, Terrorists and British Intelligence within the rising global tensions a few months prior to the 911 disaster.
Most reviews, and the novel jacket itself, seem to lead off with this titillating door crasher. After finishing the book however I failed to discover anything tangible pertaining to the 911 incident whatsoever! I felt a bit cheated in this respect.
What was a little interesting were the author’s rendition of the training and execution of what goes
Sep 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is Jason Elliot's first foray into the realm of writing novels, and he started with a real corker. Elliott first established himself as a travel writer with An Unexpected Light, which explored Afghanistan from a totally unique perspective. In The Network,, he uses that knowledge to great advantage. This is a pre-9/11 thriller, centered around an operation to take out a stockpile of Stinger missiles deep in the wilds of the Afghani countryside. It is loaded with detail about ordnance, ...more
Sep 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
I won this book in a first reads giveaway. The story describes the experiences of Anthony Taverner, a fictitious MI6 agent tasked with destroying a cache of American Stinger missiles in Afghanistan before they fall into the hands of terrorists who would use them against the U.S. and its allies. The setting is just prior to 9/11/2001.

Like the life of a secret agent, parts of this story are fast-paced and full of action and others are more relaxed and mundane. Elliot has done a wonderful job of
Marsha Nelson
Aug 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I truly enjoyed reading this book.
The story is the making of a covert operative and his assignments leading to a final explosive operation. It takes place before 9/11 and includes a great deal of history on the English secret and covert services as well as those of the U.S. The Network conveys the history of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Sudan as they lead to the rise of the Taliban and Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. The history and peoples of Afghanistan come alive when he returns with "H"
Joseph Gendron
Nov 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book offers, thru a novel, a detailed look at the absurdly complex espionage warfare that is ongoing in and around conflict zones. My interest was geographical and Elliot excelled at this topic in his previous books on Iran and Afghanistan. This time, he provides more glimpses into the Afghanistan scene of incredible natural beauty and small villages as well as the "war farts" of destruction scattered about in the settlements where larger numbers of people aggregate. He describes the Afghan ...more
Feb 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Thriller that's a little out of the norm, which was enjoyable. Perhaps because Elliot is a journalist, it features a good deal of explanation -- including the history and politics of Afghanistan pre-9/11 and a lot about military tactics and hardware. If I ever needed to practice diving from my car with a partner while under gunfire and then shooting back from behind my tire, I think I could use this book as a manual.

The plot has some ridiculous details, such as a love interest whose presence is
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Jason Goodwin was right on the money when he said Jason Elliot's debut novel is "as sharp as Frederick Forsyth, as exotic as Wilbur Smith". The Network is one level a tense and mysterious thriller tinged with paranoia and full of good plot twists and exciting action scenes. It is also something more. The introspection, moodiness, atmospheric details, authentic characters and the sharp contrast between the dull British weather and splendid Afghan skies give this thriller unusual intelligence, ...more
Sep 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Tom Clancy fans
Recommended to Angela by: I won it on Goodreads
Shelves: abandoned
I won this book on Goodreads. The author was very knowledgeable and descriptive of Afghanistan and England. I enjoyed reading the action sequences and the spy plots. However, the author would often become mired in a non-fiction format (perhaps because of his background in journalism)and would lose the story for awhile. Elliot would then return to the fiction format and the plot and I would again get lost in the story. While the author's descriptions of events take the reader on a thrilling ...more
Sep 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
I received this book from Goodreads and truly enjoyed it. The book was well written and had many twists and turns. The characters and story line were well developed and the descriptions of Afghans and Afghanistan were vivid . The only concern I had was that "the Network" was not as clearly delineated. I kept trying to determine how it fit in the bigger picture. We met only 3 members of the network and I was waiting for more development of who the network was (other than the Baroness, Manny and ...more
Jun 05, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: unfinished
I would like to read Jason Elliot's factual book about Afghanistan but I didn't think his action thriller was very convincing. If you invent a shadowy network that has massive but unseen influence over world events, you have to be pretty convincing if the reader is to suspend their disbelief. But mine only grew until I reached the point about halfway through when I simply put the book down. Yes it might make a good script for a Hollywood film (and maybe already has, for all I know) but it didn't ...more
David Hamilton
Oct 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a spy/intrigue/psychological thriller about a young man and his friend, Manny, who are involved with an unsanctioned intelligence group, the Network, which originated in England. They become involved in a long-term undercover surveillance operation in which Manny is undercover in Osama bin Laden’s terror organization. The book ends with Manny coming out of the cold in 2000, before 9/11; clearly anticipating a sequel. Good pacing and detail about military and intelligence training. Some ...more
Cathy Lenahan
I won a copy of this book and I loved it!Elliotts first novel obviously draws heavily on his real life experiences having spent time with the Mudjahadin in Afghanistan back when they were fighting the Russians.
The current story takes place before the bombing of the World trade Centre and involves a the induction of our "hero" into working for the SAS and returning to Afghanistan under Taliban rule but by way of a mission in the middle east in which friends appear to be enemies and the question
Oct 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
This Jason Elliot's first novel. A really great read. Thank you good reads. He has writen a wonderful detailed novel here. It has so much going for it. A great spy thriller that speaks of description and authenticity of someone who has been there and lived it. It has suspence, a complex plot and even some romance going for it. Here is a book to fill all a suspence novel could want. Really enjoyed it.
I recommend this book for not just people who enjoy thrillers.
Look forward to more great books by
Sep 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This book strikes me as being the most accurate representation of a military operation I've ever read. The best praise I can give is that the entire operation, including the months of preparation, was made interesting by Elliot's precise writing. The characters are likable and the situations and plot remarkably believable. It honestly felt like this story actually happened.

I received this book through First Reads and will gladly loan it out if you live nearby.
Jan 04, 2011 rated it liked it
This book crackles with authenticity on every page, revealing the author's intensive research into weaponry, geography, and the Afghani psyche...that's the good news. The down side? Mr. Elliot delights in displaying his apparently vast knowledge of these subjects, sorta like the scholar who is always waving and crying "teacher, teacher, I know".

As a consequence, the reader has some difficulty finding the plot amidst all the details, which is why I didn't rate it higher.

Nov 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing

This was a hard one to rate. The story was good, I love a good spy novel and this was a spy story in a way but also a story of Afghanistan 5 months before 9/11 and written from a British point of view. It was also Not US bashing which I appreciated and made me like the book more. I understand a little more on why it is such a difficult war and how the Afghan people think. I give this 5 stars for being an enjoyable book and educating me. I won this from Library Thing.
Desiree Zamorano
Oct 27, 2010 rated it did not like it
So well reviewed I couldn't finish it. Didn't meet expectations.
A skilled writer does much research, and leaves most of it behind. Martin Cruz Smith, for example, with seamless atmosphere, plot, and characters. Jason Elliot, on the other hand, reminds the reader, over and over and over again, of his research, of the background information, of all the minor details. I'm sure he's being accurate, and true to life. I, however, prefer fiction in which I discover the truth.
Carolyn Crocker
Apr 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Jason Elliot, who walked Afghanistan in the 90s (his account: _Unexpected Light_), returns in this suspense novel set in early 2001. Again the contrast of the beautiful landscape and the devastation of war is powerful. Anthony Taverner's training, technology, and spycraft for his mission are undone double-dealing by his own masters and by Afghans who have defended their land against all comers for millennia.
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Adventure; political science; conspiracy theory; antiterorist story lovers.
Recommended to Richard by: I read a review.
This is an amazing first novel. Mr. Elliot obviously knows the area he is writing about...Afghanistan, especially since he has written two travel books about it and Iran.

His use of language, setting, descriptions of training to be a spy, everything is very believable. Even the dust jacket blurbs include one from a former military man familiar with the real thing.

I will be looking forward to seeing more from him.
Jan 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Novelized account of a precursor to the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, pre-9/11; pretty insightful, and clearly written by someone who has extensive knowledge of the region. Historical references abound and give a certain heft to the plot lines; albeit still a straight-ahead spy thriller.

Was nice like a well made action film for the lit set.

May 02, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books-read
This book started well but I have to admit after reading about a third of it, I couldn't wait to finish it. The plotline was very similar to an Andy McNab or Chris Ryan book and the former got a couple of mentions within the book. While the author is a better writer than McNab, McNab's books tell his stories much better. For me, the best of this genre is Chris Ryan.
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“I notice I am taking risks with my own security and losing my sensitivity to danger. I don't know it at the time, but the effects of war are reaching into me in unexpected ways, and I am being changed by them. I am surrounded by destruction and the randomness of death, which I cannot fathom. I have felt the closeness of death as tangibly as the whisper of a murderous seducer, and felt the richness, twinged by guilt, of having escaped its grasp. I have seen too often the numb lost look of men consumed by undiluted grief, and heard the howl of children as their mothers are pulled from the rubble of a rocket-blasted home, and I am coming to understand the long dark pain of those who silently endure what first seems unendurable.” 4 likes
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