hankrules2011

Book reviews, health, hockey, publishing, music

A Review of The Afghan

Posted by Scott Holstad on April 3, 2014

The AfghanThe Afghan by Frederick Forsyth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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 a few people in both governments know about it. Mike Martin is a retired British paratrooper colonel who has olive skin and grew up in Iraq before moving to Britain. He’s recruited to become “the Afghan.” The *real* Afghan is a Gitmo prisoner who was a Taliban commander and who’s never been broken, and has been in solitary for five years. Martin is going to become this man. A fake trial is put together where it’s announced the Taliban leader is being let go and is being handed over to the Afghan government. There, Martin, as the Afghan, “escapes” and makes his was to Pakistan, where he finds help in getting back with the Al-Qaeda forces to fight against the West. Now, the plot was tiresome at times in going over the back story leading up to this. We have to wade through pages of Martin learning Pushtan (he already speaks Arabic), of his learning the Koran, of his learning how to pray properly so he won’t trip up and expose himself. The book drags here. And frankly, it drags most of the way through, as it’s bogged down with detail. Now I like detail, so I actually appreciated it, for the most part, and I think this is what many reviewers had problems with. Still, it was cumbersome, so I’ve lowered my rating from five to four stars. Along the way, Martin is connected with Al-Qaeda, who interrogates him to ensure he’s really who he claims to be, complete with a scar of his thigh that he had to have made by a CIA doctor. Hints at what the big surprise will be come halfway through the book, as we discover Al-Qaeda operatives researching shipping companies to find a large boat big enough to transport a lot of “goods” from Asia to America. It’s pretty easy to guess it won’t be a load of silks. But what will it be? When the authorities discover it’s coming on a boat, but don’t know what or where, they start scanning the ocean and boarding boats, first large, and then smaller. They are operating under the assumption that it’s a tanker that’s going to be sunk in a canal to demolish things economically by blocking shipping traffic for months. When they realize that’s not going to be it, they move on to plan B. Now, I’m not going to give away the ending, but I will say it’s somewhat anticlimactic. I thought with everything leading up to it, it’d be bigger, bolder, brighter, more extreme. Instead it was largely docile. Oh well. Really, not a bad book. I read it in less than a day, so it’s a quick, easy read. If you can get over extreme detail, I certainly recommend it. I found it fairly compelling.

View all my reviews

2 Responses to “A Review of The Afghan”

  1. Sounds like a book that I might enjoy. The details are important to the story, so it seems like they had to be a little drawn out. Just my opinion.

    Like

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