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'Forsyth deserves his place among the thriller greats.' The Times 'The master of the modern espionage novel returns . . . this is Forsyth at his spellbinding best.' Daily Mail Most weapons do what you tell them. Most weapons you can control. But what if the most dangerous weapon in the world isn’t a smart missile or a stealth submarine or even an AI computer programme?What if 'Forsyth deserves his place among the thriller greats.' The Times 'The master of the modern espionage novel returns . . . this is Forsyth at his spellbinding best.' Daily Mail Most weapons do what you tell them. Most weapons you can control. But what if the most dangerous weapon in the world isn’t a smart missile or a stealth submarine or even an AI computer programme?What if it’s a 17-year-old boy with a blisteringly brilliant mind, who can run rings around the most sophisticated security services across the globe, who can manipulate that weaponry and turn it against the superpowers themselves?How valuable would he be? And what wouldn’t you do to get hold of him? The Fox is a race-against-time thriller across continents to find and capture, or protect and save, an asset with the means to change the balance of world power. Whatever happens he must not fall into the wrong hands. Because what follows after that is unthinkable…


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'Forsyth deserves his place among the thriller greats.' The Times 'The master of the modern espionage novel returns . . . this is Forsyth at his spellbinding best.' Daily Mail Most weapons do what you tell them. Most weapons you can control. But what if the most dangerous weapon in the world isn’t a smart missile or a stealth submarine or even an AI computer programme?What if 'Forsyth deserves his place among the thriller greats.' The Times 'The master of the modern espionage novel returns . . . this is Forsyth at his spellbinding best.' Daily Mail Most weapons do what you tell them. Most weapons you can control. But what if the most dangerous weapon in the world isn’t a smart missile or a stealth submarine or even an AI computer programme?What if it’s a 17-year-old boy with a blisteringly brilliant mind, who can run rings around the most sophisticated security services across the globe, who can manipulate that weaponry and turn it against the superpowers themselves?How valuable would he be? And what wouldn’t you do to get hold of him? The Fox is a race-against-time thriller across continents to find and capture, or protect and save, an asset with the means to change the balance of world power. Whatever happens he must not fall into the wrong hands. Because what follows after that is unthinkable…

30 review for The Fox

  1. 5 out of 5

    Linda Wells

    Forsyth continues to master the international spy thriller in his latest book. "The Fox" has hacked into the NSA, and US and British agents join forces to find the hacker. The story is modern without relying on excessive technical detail. The scenario is both plausible and frightening.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Skip

    3.5 stars, rounded up (for all of his past accomplishments in this genre.) Someone has hacked into the impenetrable computer systems of the U.S. intelligence community. Turns out, it's a 18-year Brit, working in his attic with standard equipment, who awakens to find a team of black-clad anti-terrorist operators in his bedroom. Luke Jennings is a shy introverted kid, with Asperger's Syndrome, who was just looking around and did no damage. He is whisked off to a secure location, and becomes a cent 3.5 stars, rounded up (for all of his past accomplishments in this genre.) Someone has hacked into the impenetrable computer systems of the U.S. intelligence community. Turns out, it's a 18-year Brit, working in his attic with standard equipment, who awakens to find a team of black-clad anti-terrorist operators in his bedroom. Luke Jennings is a shy introverted kid, with Asperger's Syndrome, who was just looking around and did no damage. He is whisked off to a secure location, and becomes a central figure in engineering break-ins to various systems belonging to the bad guys: Russia, Iran, North Korea. Sir Adrian Weston, the former Deputy Chief of MI6 comes out of retirement at the Prime Minister's request to run, nurture, and protect Luke as an intelligence asset, and he needs all of his prodigious skills to avoid retribution by the Russians and their nasty friends. Not as good as his earlier stuff, but decent enough.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Adah Udechukwu

    The Fox is an average novel. The novel does not flow properly and it keeps referencing past events which was kinda annoying.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Mullan

    2.5 Stars at best! The epitome of average. I love Forsyth, some of my favourite works are his but this will not be one of them. It feels like a political rant in places, in others a review of world events. Through all this is an unrealistic, unbelievable, even ridiculous plot which has an even stranger ending. It’s so far from a Forsyth I’d hazard a guess at a ghost-writer.

  5. 4 out of 5

    BookGypsy

    I found this to be very realistic. It has a modern day international espionage. Very though provoking considering the state of our world affairs right now. When you thin an eight-teen -year old hacker could tap in a become a weapon and a target. A great read. I won a copy of this from the publisher for my honest review. Dawn Ruby-BookGypsy Novels N Latte Book Blog Novels & Latte Book Club Hudson Valley NY

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Jones

    Good, but thought the ending a bit lame.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    Not Such a Cunning Fox! For once, with this author, when a publisher puts extravagant claims in their blurb it's hard to argue. Frederick Forsyth has written some of the all-time thriller greats so deserves the ultimate respect. They suggest he defined the thriller genre so is he still at the leading edge all these years later? He certainly throws a lot at this book to make it up to date and relevant with everything from Novichok to computer hacking being cast into the mix! For me David Rintoul wa Not Such a Cunning Fox! For once, with this author, when a publisher puts extravagant claims in their blurb it's hard to argue. Frederick Forsyth has written some of the all-time thriller greats so deserves the ultimate respect. They suggest he defined the thriller genre so is he still at the leading edge all these years later? He certainly throws a lot at this book to make it up to date and relevant with everything from Novichok to computer hacking being cast into the mix! For me David Rintoul was more the star here with his superbly smooth narration which I always enjoy. The story itself relies on the now well-used super teenage hacker who can do things that no-one else can and in fact the first way they use his skills made me smile. However, I never felt that the characters came to life and the story was a fairly repetitive re-hash of the same thing happening in different ways. It still felt that it had some of Forsyth's classy writing and one or two of the various secret service types made for good characters so with that excellent narration it's certainly not bad but Forsyth is no cyber security expert and this won't go down as one of his greatest hits.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jerry B

    We’ve been enjoying Frederick Forsyth since his debut with “The Day of the Jackal” in 1971. Unlike other popular authors, he doesn’t pump out a full-length novel every year, but rather has published a new international thriller at roughly three-to-five year intervals – a span no doubt reflected in the diligent research and contemporaneous timeliness of his suspenseful plots. “Fox” is no exception as it traces the “art” of cyber warfare via the unbelievably brilliant hacking abilities of a British We’ve been enjoying Frederick Forsyth since his debut with “The Day of the Jackal” in 1971. Unlike other popular authors, he doesn’t pump out a full-length novel every year, but rather has published a new international thriller at roughly three-to-five year intervals – a span no doubt reflected in the diligent research and contemporaneous timeliness of his suspenseful plots. “Fox” is no exception as it traces the “art” of cyber warfare via the unbelievably brilliant hacking abilities of a British teenager, Luke Jennings, who ironically is afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome. After he comes to the attention of the US NSA, the Brits ask him to perform similar tasks that affect Russian ship navigation and other unusual assignments. While the plot elements are certainly fresh, and the hacking results great fun, we weren’t quite as impressed with the character development and other attributes for which the author is duly well known. Now an octogenarian, perhaps the author had “help” that affected the overall quality of his latest novel.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Doug

    As a longtime fan of Forsyth, I was very interested in how he approached this tale of contemporary technological espionage without falling off the edge into tech speak and so forth. I respect his story telling skill ...The Day of the Jackal, The Odessa File, The Forth Protocol etc ... and was pleased that it was again demonstrated in The Fox. The world is a much smaller place than it once was due to the cyber reliance of all of us in control of every day as well international political affairs. As a longtime fan of Forsyth, I was very interested in how he approached this tale of contemporary technological espionage without falling off the edge into tech speak and so forth. I respect his story telling skill ...The Day of the Jackal, The Odessa File, The Forth Protocol etc ... and was pleased that it was again demonstrated in The Fox. The world is a much smaller place than it once was due to the cyber reliance of all of us in control of every day as well international political affairs. Forsyth introduces Sir Adrian Weston , a sort of retired British cold war agent, who must bring his highly developed espionage instincts to bear on a cyber threat. Multiple invisible enemies, grave overall threats ... how can Weston utilize "The Fox" to manipulate the complex geopolitical attacks to prevent the resumption of the Cold War and minimize the impact of North Korea , the re-emerging Russia and Iranian nuclear aspirations. As real as the inside info on today's news as only Forsyth can relate . If you like modern, contemporary intrigue , well researched and clearly presented, you will enjoy The Fox.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brett

    Terrible book. Much like Wilbur Smith and Tom Clancy, Forsyth has entered the realm of successful thriller writers that allow publishers to ghost write books for them. This book has none of the style, or pace of of a Forsyth novel. There’s no depth to any of the characters and the plot lurches from one confrontation to the next. The computer hacking is described only through cliched metaphors and the only exposition is about the covert military and intelligence services of various countries whic Terrible book. Much like Wilbur Smith and Tom Clancy, Forsyth has entered the realm of successful thriller writers that allow publishers to ghost write books for them. This book has none of the style, or pace of of a Forsyth novel. There’s no depth to any of the characters and the plot lurches from one confrontation to the next. The computer hacking is described only through cliched metaphors and the only exposition is about the covert military and intelligence services of various countries which is repeated ad nauseam throughout the book. In short, don’t buy it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    "This is what I've been missing, I've read two Tom Clancy books recently and have been really disappointed in how the writers who have continued his franchise have handled the series. Thank goodness for Frederick Forsyth, a writer that truly understands how espionage should be written. The fox is an intense thriller that would make a great movie. Russian snipers, double agents, the SAS, The Fox truly delivers readers into the dark and dangerous world, that only a few ever really get to experience "This is what I've been missing, I've read two Tom Clancy books recently and have been really disappointed in how the writers who have continued his franchise have handled the series. Thank goodness for Frederick Forsyth, a writer that truly understands how espionage should be written. The fox is an intense thriller that would make a great movie. Russian snipers, double agents, the SAS, The Fox truly delivers readers into the dark and dangerous world, that only a few ever really get to experience. Two spy masters play a dangerous game of cat and mouse that will leave only one of them alive. Great read 4 stars - perfect book for dad this Christmas.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jawahar Surti

    Actually 2.5/5 Picked this up with great expectations, having been a fan of Forsyth's novels. But was disappointed. The writing style is good enough, the flow, the language. But where is the story? (view spoiler)[You suddenly come across a hacker of all hackers and get impossible things done through him. He makes all other people appear dumb! (hide spoiler)] The events jump. Not very coherent. And then like some movie things change to bring other things to an end! Thoughts: Did he actually write Actually 2.5/5 Picked this up with great expectations, having been a fan of Forsyth's novels. But was disappointed. The writing style is good enough, the flow, the language. But where is the story? (view spoiler)[You suddenly come across a hacker of all hackers and get impossible things done through him. He makes all other people appear dumb! (hide spoiler)] The events jump. Not very coherent. And then like some movie things change to bring other things to an end! Thoughts: Did he actually write it?

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ross Sidor

    Interesting premise, solid research, and informative detail, but lacking a cohesive story to weave it together. Basically an analysis of current global politics and how the UK might cyber-attacks against geopolitical foes, but it just jumps from one incident to another without an actual storyline. Fortunately, the book is very short and Forsyth's style is terse, so it reads very quickly.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stuart Ashenbrenner

    Forsyth is 80-years-old, and he writes a book that is one of the most relevant and current pieces of mystery and thrill that there is available. I will skip over the synopsis of the book, but long story short, there is a young hacker, Luke Jennings, who assists in finding "The Fox". Not only is writing a thriller in which the antagonist a computer hacker difficult, is hard to make it into a "thriller." Typically thrillers have a bad guy with fantastical skills that rival the protagonist, which i Forsyth is 80-years-old, and he writes a book that is one of the most relevant and current pieces of mystery and thrill that there is available. I will skip over the synopsis of the book, but long story short, there is a young hacker, Luke Jennings, who assists in finding "The Fox". Not only is writing a thriller in which the antagonist a computer hacker difficult, is hard to make it into a "thriller." Typically thrillers have a bad guy with fantastical skills that rival the protagonist, which is why I was a little apprehensive when starting this book. Part of it, and this may make me a little ageist, was the fact that an 80-year-old was writing it. BUT...Forsyth delivered magnificently! This was a great book, with a plot that continued to move along, and it truly kept me captivated until the end. Also, as someone who works in the computer/software industry, Forsyth nailed every term and piece that revolves around the tech industry. You also have to admit that Forsyth is one of the best writers out there, meaning his prose is stellar, his characters are dynamic, his plots are realistic and believable, and his books keep you engaged and hooked.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Paula Lyle

    Once upon a time there was an autistic English boy that could hack Anything. He causes havoc in all the Bad places in the world and survives several attempts at assassination. He does all this within 7 months so he never gets any older. Then, because this is a fairy tale, he becomes a Real Boy. This allows him to live happily ever after. The End.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Thank you FREDERICK FORSYTH for writing THE FOX. Thank you G.P. Putnam's for publishing it. The 21st century has seen the birth of a new type warfare - cyberwarfare. Mr. Forsyth has produced a book whose plot seems to be ripped from major news headlines (not "fake news!"). Among the major characters is Sir Adrian Weston retired number2 at MI6. Then there is Luke Jennings an 18 year computer hacker of unmatched skills who is affected by Asperger's Syndrome. Sir Adrian recruits Luke to MI6. Also a Thank you FREDERICK FORSYTH for writing THE FOX. Thank you G.P. Putnam's for publishing it. The 21st century has seen the birth of a new type warfare - cyberwarfare. Mr. Forsyth has produced a book whose plot seems to be ripped from major news headlines (not "fake news!"). Among the major characters is Sir Adrian Weston retired number2 at MI6. Then there is Luke Jennings an 18 year computer hacker of unmatched skills who is affected by Asperger's Syndrome. Sir Adrian recruits Luke to MI6. Also appearing is Yevgeni Krilov head of Russia's SVR, the Russian spy agency (see N.S.A and C.I.A.). Making cameo appearances are Kim Jong-un, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. None of the last three are painted in favorable colors. The story centers around schemes that Adrian Weston presents to Luke Jennings involving hacking into sensitive Russian, North Korean and Iranian top secret projects. Yevgeni Krilov is posed with the dilemma of stopping these hacks. The story moves seamlessly from Moscow to London to North Korea to Iran to the United States and other locations. I highly recommend this book to fans of Mr. Forsyth and readers of spy thrillers. Although a work of fiction, there are morsels of truth throughout. GO! BUY! READ!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tony Le

    One would expect better from the author of "The Day of the Jackal."

  18. 5 out of 5

    J. F.

    Book Review: The Fox by Frederick Forsyth Quite a disappointment to say the least, considering readers' excitement due mainly to the writer's name. This book is a globalist's pipe dream disguised as a thriller, a bit too clever by far. Very little of the story is centered on the "Fox", if this protagonist may even be considered a player at all, except for some snippets as a tool for unilateral overt action, a top-secret wallflower removed from any direct action in key events, and as the tragic fig Book Review: The Fox by Frederick Forsyth Quite a disappointment to say the least, considering readers' excitement due mainly to the writer's name. This book is a globalist's pipe dream disguised as a thriller, a bit too clever by far. Very little of the story is centered on the "Fox", if this protagonist may even be considered a player at all, except for some snippets as a tool for unilateral overt action, a top-secret wallflower removed from any direct action in key events, and as the tragic figure in a footnote-length chapter when the writer realizes that there is no future for his unrealistic figment of imagination and has to somehow end the story. In the effort to update an 80-year-old master's storytelling prowess to morph into a relevant modern thriller, the endeavor to convey the present danger and societal menace of a hacker, comes across as shallow, superficial, horribly tortured and contrived. He clearly has no idea exactly what hackers do or how they actually live, expect for the sole matrix of gauging success or failure by how much time it takes to crack a code, without a single inkling of how it's actually done. It is not without its merits. Tidbits on Romania's Ceaușescu's greatest fear, among many, provide evidence the old master's reputation for detailed investigative reporting is still impressive somewhere in there, rendering both technical and strategic insights into the unfolding and enactment of real events, which may not necessarily be 100% inaccurate. The American president in this book, based on real-life events, isn't even given the pretense of a fictional name, and, though unnamed, is vividly portrayed as a malleable, bumbling idiot given a snowball's chance in hell to succeed on various world issues. Glorified on the pedestal, on the other hand, the woman prime minister of the U.K. is at least respectfully given a pseudonym, charming, astute, with none of the crippled politician's failure to deal with Brexit and massive real-life U.K. problems, with British Intelligence floating high above as unrecognizable mandarins, creme de la creme sine qua non the world is doomed. Putin is presented as an overly influential overload in world affairs, just as espoused daily with the same tripe spewed by swamp creatures out of D.C. or fake news pundits at CNN, MSNBC, the NYT, ad nauseam, given to the public free of charge, without picking out of readers' pockets the price of a book. Stripped of the legendary name, this piece may be at best a candidate for the monthly "Amazon First Reads" list, free to Prime members.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Floyd Truskot

    Frederick Forsyth has done it again! Next to The Day of The Jackal, The Fox is the next best he has written! It is written in Frederick Forsyth style with exact detail to historical events which reminds me of things he pulled from The Dog of War, The Fist of God, The Afghan and The Day of The Jackal. This is the first novel I have read about a person with a disability in the positive light, his name is Luke Jennings, the main character of the novel and The Fox. In most novels people with disabiliti Frederick Forsyth has done it again! Next to The Day of The Jackal, The Fox is the next best he has written! It is written in Frederick Forsyth style with exact detail to historical events which reminds me of things he pulled from The Dog of War, The Fist of God, The Afghan and The Day of The Jackal. This is the first novel I have read about a person with a disability in the positive light, his name is Luke Jennings, the main character of the novel and The Fox. In most novels people with disabilities are portrayed as the evil villain, the knife wielding murder, etc. Luke is different. Never underestimate the power a person with a disability has with his mind, for you unbelievers. I found one statement in the book that was not true. Luke Jennings has different color eyes, "... the left eye light hazel brown and the right one pale blue. He recalling have been told the same about the late singer David Bowie." Not true, both of David Bowie's eyes or irises are blue. At the age 15 David Bowie and his best friend got into a fist fight over a girl and David Bowie was punched in his left eye damaging the sympathetic nerve that controls miosis or the control of the pupil. David Bowie's left pupil is fully dilated given him the appearance of this right eye is blue and left eye is black. Find a unphotoshopped picture of David Bowie and you will see outside the left pupil his iris is blue. I know this because I had trauma at C6 vertabrae causing damage to the sympathetic verve causing anhidrosis, miosis and ptosis. The Fox is an excellent read. There is a new Jackal in the novel and he kills a sniper in the woods with the bullet going through his scope and entering his head. What a shot! Damn this Jackal is good! Where was he in 1963? Reading through the Fox Frederick Forsyth touches a lot on historical facts that come from other books he wrote and The Fox is good! Another fantastic read I thoroughly enjoyed.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alex Balkin

    Does the job, disappointingly so... Highly up to date with the latest geopolitical events woven skillfully into the plot. Those who believe the official (US/UK) versions of things will enjoy themselves thoroughly. Those sceptical of postcolonialist and hegemonic politics, will frown at the glorification of Her Majesty’s services at the expense of people from other lands. Simplistic and lacking in cultural nuance, this book will make you turn the pages with boyish anticipation, whilst the feeling Does the job, disappointingly so... Highly up to date with the latest geopolitical events woven skillfully into the plot. Those who believe the official (US/UK) versions of things will enjoy themselves thoroughly. Those sceptical of postcolonialist and hegemonic politics, will frown at the glorification of Her Majesty’s services at the expense of people from other lands. Simplistic and lacking in cultural nuance, this book will make you turn the pages with boyish anticipation, whilst the feeling of being manipulated is gnawing. Trump and May are portrayed with tedious complacency. Usually, age is accompanied by wisdom and the appreciation of hues ans shades. Regretfully, Forsyth’s worldview does not venture beyond the the main colours, and stays within his comfort zone of the self-righteous conservative, erroneously confident of being part of a superior caste, which belittles those thinking differently. A black-and-white world has morphed into a kaleidoscope of complexity. Mr Forsyth sticks to a still-winning conformist formula of well-researched, action-packed Union Jack-applauding fiction. It does the job, and predictably so.

  21. 4 out of 5

    monk

    A select few authors are able to write a novel filled with cliches without making me cringe. Forsyth tend to be one of those. The book is certainly a cheap thriller where convenient coincidences turn the plot in every chapter. Still, it manages to create its own charm. The characters are all similar to other thrillers of the type, but the style of writing is easy and humorous. Almost as if the novel itself doesn't take itself all that seriously, which is necessary when your plot is a teenage computer A select few authors are able to write a novel filled with cliches without making me cringe. Forsyth tend to be one of those. The book is certainly a cheap thriller where convenient coincidences turn the plot in every chapter. Still, it manages to create its own charm. The characters are all similar to other thrillers of the type, but the style of writing is easy and humorous. Almost as if the novel itself doesn't take itself all that seriously, which is necessary when your plot is a teenage computer genius saving the world. If you know what this type of novel should be like, you'll enjoy it. If you want something that makes you contemplate man's reason for being you've come to the wrong place.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura Spira

    The best thing about this book is that it didn't take long to read. I remember being hugely impressed by "The Day of the Jackal" but that was long, long ago and I wonder if Forsyth himself actually wrote this at all. Wooden characters, a pathetic plot - I only kept reading to see how the very obvious denouement would be brought about and it was so far from credible as to be laughable. Some readers may be impressed that it incorporates recent events but to me that just suggests that it has been r The best thing about this book is that it didn't take long to read. I remember being hugely impressed by "The Day of the Jackal" but that was long, long ago and I wonder if Forsyth himself actually wrote this at all. Wooden characters, a pathetic plot - I only kept reading to see how the very obvious denouement would be brought about and it was so far from credible as to be laughable. Some readers may be impressed that it incorporates recent events but to me that just suggests that it has been rushed out. Not sure if I can post this without a rating but it doesn't deserve even a single star.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sambasivan

    The master storyteller never disappoints. He writes with such an incredible authority backed by deep research, that one finds it extremely difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. The story rings so true and eminently credible. Vintage Forsyth.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Aruna Kumar Gadepalli

    Long waiting for the book made me hook to the book book. Strategies in the power politics, the technology that vulnerable to the human mind's upper hand. Wonderful reading. Easy and quick.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller

    Do you like your espionage novels in black and white, or shades of gray? The answer will probably determine your response to THE FOX, the latest from veteran thriller writer Frederick Forsyth. Of his multiple bestsellers, many made into films, THE DAY OF THE JACKAL (1971), his first, is probably still the best known. In that book, as in this one, the heroes and the villains are quite clear. In contrast, in the spy novels of John le Carré, who was writing around the same time (and, like Forsyth, st Do you like your espionage novels in black and white, or shades of gray? The answer will probably determine your response to THE FOX, the latest from veteran thriller writer Frederick Forsyth. Of his multiple bestsellers, many made into films, THE DAY OF THE JACKAL (1971), his first, is probably still the best known. In that book, as in this one, the heroes and the villains are quite clear. In contrast, in the spy novels of John le Carré, who was writing around the same time (and, like Forsyth, still is), the moral balance of the spectral world of secret agents is a lot shakier, a lot murkier --- and, to me, a lot more interesting. It doesn’t hurt that le Carré is one of the best prose stylists around. Fine writing and subtle plotting are not Forsyth’s forte. Unrelenting action and incredibly authentic detail are the hallmarks of his novels. He was 29 when THE DAY OF THE JACKAL came out, fresh from a journalistic assignment about the attempt to assassinate President De Gaulle of France --- which he used as the plot of the book, mustering insider knowledge to make the scenario come alive. I remember being absolutely riveted by JACKAL as well as by his subsequent hits: THE ODESSA FILE, THE DOGS OF WAR and others. That was then. This is now. So it makes sense that the plot of THE FOX has to do more with computer hacking than photographing top-secret documents with tiny cameras à la James Bond. The concept is fascinating: Luke, an English teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, is also the greatest cyber-genius who ever lived (Forsyth drew inspiration from the real-life cases of Lauri Love and Gary McKinnon, who, though older than Luke, were both diagnosed with Asperger’s and accused of hacking into US government computers). Luke’s talent for infiltrating supposedly impenetrable security systems, combined with a semi-retired spymaster’s strategic expertise, topples a trio of bad guys with actual or potential nuclear weapons: Russia, Iran and North Korea (twice!). His nickname: The Fox. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a Forsyth novel, but he is still a pro at intriguingly minute details (e.g., how the coded color and design of a man’s tie can tell you about his school years, military service, club membership) and cinematic, slow-boil descriptions (the incredibly thorough preparations made by a sniper in this book reminded me of the modus operandi of De Gaulle’s would-be assassin in THE DAY OF THE JACKAL). There are some clever strategic fake-outs engineered by the spymaster, Sir Adrian Weston (although officially retired, he acts as an informal security adviser to the Prime Minister), and touches of dry wit (“Sir Adrian replied in full. He said: ‘Ah.’”). But there are issues, too. The writing is, at best, utilitarian. Clichés and national stereotypes abound (“horny-handed kibbutznik” comes to mind), and the pace is weighed down by way too much background material. I couldn’t help but say Uh-oh when I saw that the book begins with a five-page list of “Characters and Organizations,” with acronyms galore. Plus, once the collaboration of Luke and Sir Adrian has notched a couple of victories, there is no doubt about the boy’s brilliance --- unfortunately, there is also zero suspense for the remainder of the book, since success is a foregone conclusion. A thriller should, you know, thrill, as in overcoming obstacles. Forsyth’s cut-and-dried political perspective (he’s known as an avid supporter of Brexit) struck me as smug. The good-guy triumvirate of the UK, US and Israel (PM and POTUS are thinly veiled and mostly uncritical versions of Theresa May and Donald Trump) battles the evil empires of the East, including the “cold-eyed little man” leading Russia, known as the Vozhd (The Boss: Putin, anyone?). If Forsyth’s politics are your politics, maybe his attitudes won’t strike you as simplistic, but they did me. But the most grievous fault, I think, is Forsyth’s failure to delve into Luke’s remarkable psyche. We get no insight at all into Asperger’s in general or Luke’s mind or character in particular; we know only that he is fragile, change-resistant and completely absorbed in the work. His tutor/companion, another cyber-geek, is said to be a “father figure” to him, but we never see this relationship in action. Although there is a twist at the end that humanizes him a bit, by and large Luke remains a symbolic figure, almost literally more a weapon than a person. THE FOX, in short, is not Forsyth’s best, but fans will probably enjoy it anyway. For an oldster like me, the best part was the character of Sir Adrian, a stellar agent of retirement age (Forsyth himself is 80). He doesn’t defend The Free World by leaping around the roofs of buildings or breaking prisoners out of dungeons. He doesn’t pack a silenced firearm or poisoned pellet in case of capture. His brain is his chief asset: he thinks, he devises, he investigates, he delegates, he informs. And that’s refreshing. Reviewed by Katherine B. Weissman

  26. 4 out of 5

    John McDonald

    Forsyth has spent his life not only as a writer of note but as an "insider" into the methods of state secret services and paramilitary operations. His early work, Day of the Jackal, is to this day, in my opinion, the best book I have ever read about secret operations conducted by governments. What gives Forsyth credibility is the truthfulness of how these secret operations are performed and the sparse number of trained operatives who accomplish these missions. Forsyth simply repeats this writing Forsyth has spent his life not only as a writer of note but as an "insider" into the methods of state secret services and paramilitary operations. His early work, Day of the Jackal, is to this day, in my opinion, the best book I have ever read about secret operations conducted by governments. What gives Forsyth credibility is the truthfulness of how these secret operations are performed and the sparse number of trained operatives who accomplish these missions. Forsyth simply repeats this writing formula in the Fox. He has been around so long and has developed so many contacts in various secret and intelligence services--much as John LeCarre has done--that the tale is believable, worthy of belief, and to the Forsyth reader, may be true. Only and maybe a few others know that. For years, students of government operations debated whether the story told is Day of the Jackal was true, and in general, most concluded its accuracy could be vouched for on most points. This a modern tale of what governments likely should do when they are able to identify, kidnap, detain and impress into service those geniuses who can hack massive government data storages and software systems by penetrating supposedly incorruptible and impenetrable computer firewalls. It is fast, clearly written and unadorned by imprecision.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Roberts

    A welcome to return to form from Forsyth after some weaker recent work. The 5 stars are definitely a nostalgic 5, as this book is more a reminder of past classics than a new one, but the up-to-date politics added a fresh touch. Forsyth’s trademark detail was light, particularly with the computer-related information, but the geopolitical analysis was thorough (if Western-centric).

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

    3.5 Stars. A solid audio book. I found the concept of the world's best hacker being a teenage boy with autism interesting and realistic. The book is very current with many references to current day politicians and international political issues. I really enjoyed the relationships that developed between Adrian and the prime minister, Luke and the doctor, etc. I found the ending rushed and parts a bit slow, but overall it was very well read and an interesting idea for a book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    S.V. Divvaakar

    The master is back! After a somewhat lacklustre 'Kill List', I really waited to see what would come next from the desk of Frederick Forsyth, all of whose novels I have read. The wait (a tad more than three years) has been completely worth it. The Fox kept me glued to my chair all of yesterday and kept me awake until I finished it in the wee hours this morning. Drawing from contemporary real life events, the story stays in the fuzzy space between fact and fiction, and given the author's backgroun The master is back! After a somewhat lacklustre 'Kill List', I really waited to see what would come next from the desk of Frederick Forsyth, all of whose novels I have read. The wait (a tad more than three years) has been completely worth it. The Fox kept me glued to my chair all of yesterday and kept me awake until I finished it in the wee hours this morning. Drawing from contemporary real life events, the story stays in the fuzzy space between fact and fiction, and given the author's background, one might be tempted to think the story is inspired by facts to which few are privy, facts that would not be admitted to in public. The book makes us more aware of the new weapons of war in a digitally connected world that runs on interdependence among countries for commerce and solidarity. Reading 'The Fox', one feels the chill of Cold War 2.0, as the world re-polarises around two old foes, both vying for supremacy in the race for minerals and information control. That every character is grey makes the book very plausible, and it all comes down to the ends justifying the means. The book could not have been set anywhere else; Britain's role in the present global power balance comes out rather well. A breezy read, short chapters, flipping between continents, and some pithy British English words that kept the narrative very easy and engrossing at the same time. I felt Frederick was sitting beside me at a park bench and telling me the tale. I closed the book with some consuming questions: Are our assets and data safe at all in a digital world? Who will protect us from invisible digital marauders? I also had a moral question: if good folks were to possess super powers and skills, will they remain good? Or will their conscience be suborned one day? Also, an unresolved character arc that made me wonder: What will Luke Jennings do after Troy? Welcome back, Frederick Forsyth, and Thank you!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michael C. Baker

    Very disappointing I have really enjoyed some of his earlier books. This one was a huge let down. No character development to the point that you couldn’t care less if the main characters were all murdered half way through the novel.

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