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The Devil's Alternative (1982)

The Devil's Alternative (1982)

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3.96 of 5 Votes: 1
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0553264907 (ISBN13: 9780553264906)

About book The Devil's Alternative (1982)

This year I'm saving some of my really good books. Anyone who reads this space will remember that one of my resolutions ( to pay no more than $2.99 for a book this year (see here). Thank goodness I had an unread stockpile of brandnamers in my library. The Devil's Advocate by Frederick Forsyth was one such stockpiled book.If you are looking for a book worth the money, with depth of story and intrigue everywhere, this could be it. Unlike Avenger, also a good book, this was rich with plot. It was similar to a John LeCarre in terms of spy master thriller, and like Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising in that it focused so much on geopolitical positioning during the cold war.The final line? Unlike the first line ( it doesn't offer the reader too much. But the final twist that reveals who the real spy master is occurs just one line prior so I had to cut and paste carefully.The impassive major with the cold eyes drew at Munro’s elbow; he was outside the Throne Room, and the door closed behind him. Five minutes later he was shown out, on foot, through a small door in the Savior Gate onto Red Square. The parade marshals were rehearsing their roles for May Day. The clock above his head struck midnight. He turned left toward the National Hotel to find a taxi. A hundred yards later, as he passed Lenin’s Mausoleum, to the surprise and outrage of a militiaman, he began to laugh.Forsyth, Frederick - The Devil's AlternativeBest one I've read for awhile, and probably the best for some time based on my resolution.

This is an awesome page-turner crafted by Frederick Forsyth. Like in many of his novels, he combines fact with fiction (and blurs the line between the two), and this makes most parts of this novel exciting. Moreover, there are so many things happening in the novel that involve several nations with multiple possible outcomes, that the author keeps you guessing till the end -- the fun is not in predicting what's going to happen and getting it correct, but rather getting it wrong! (the Oh My God! moments)! Some people may find the ending silly or could have felt it could have been better, but I felt it was good.The story is set in the year 1982, during the Cold War, and this has helped Forsyth bring in a lot of political intrigue and give a glimpse of how the government elites function. Readers will also be able to appreciate the subtle humor in many places in the novel, which is intertwined with the serious and suspenseful plot.But sometimes the author provides too many architectural, dimensional details about buildings, etc. which might bore the reader, and make him/her want to turn the pages not because the story is going good, but to get to more interesting parts of the story quickly.All in all, this is an excellent read, and I'd highly recommend it to aficionados of (political) thrillers.

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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 of subject matter can make you feel exhausted at the end of the book; be prepared to be looking over your shoulders the rest of your life :-)
—Bob Conner

This was one of the most exciting books I've ever read! It's a Cold War story about the US versus the Soviet Union, mixed in with some Ukrainian nationalists bent on raising hell in Russia and upsetting world events as a result. We've got the CIA. We have the Politburo. We have the world's wheat production, which -- when I first started reading this -- I thought was going to be boring, but actually turns out to be essential to the plot. We have weapons reductions. We have war plans. We have super tankers and terrorists. We have romance. I could go on and on. And Forsyth doesn't go into his usual excruciating 100 page detail on the planning of an assassination or hostage taking like he normally does. In this book, the head of the KGB is killed -- in one page! Amazing. No details at all. I loved it. Talk about a real departure for the author. Of course, there is planning, yes, but none of the mind numbing lengthy stuff that bores the average reader to death with so many of his novels. This is a real page turner. I couldn't recommend it more.
—Scott Holstad

Wow, that was a literary workout! Although the author took the first half of the book to set up the events that would cascade down on the reader in the second half, one leaves the last page wondering how all that tension could have been resolved, was it really over? A welcome Epilogue tied together all the loose ends, leading to a satisfying conclusion.Yet looking at the perfect storm of events that precipitated the heart of the action, it often seemed as if there was no way out for the many nations in the center of the maelstrom. Passionate Ukrainian nationalists are the spark ready and able to start a conflagration of international disaster but factors such as a pending Soviet famine, a leadership crisis in the Politburo, the maiden voyage of a Scandinavian super tanker, an American president eager to secure his legacy with a landmark disarmament treaty, and a spy in the heart of the Soviet government being run by a British agent-- all are working to bring the crisis to a solution in line with the individual motives of the geographically scattered parties. The alternative, labeled the devil's alternative, is seemingly the only choice left, though the devil could have had a far bigger party had no disaster averting alternative been available. The interplay of all these actors and competing national interests creates much back and forth storytelling but a master like Forsythe guides the reader skillfully through the complex maze of his carefully constructed plot to the end of a remarkable literary experience.

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