The Fist of God: A Novel [Frederick Forsyth] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. From the bestselling author of The Day of the Jackal. Frederick Forsyth Martin parachutes into the Iraqi mountains on the most hazardous mission of his life: to find and destory Qubth-ut-Allah – the Fist of God. From the bestselling author of The Day of the Jackal, international master of intrigue Frederick Forsyth, comes a thriller that brilliantly blends.
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In the quiet of the Oval Office George Bush sat behind the great desk, backed by the tall narrow windows, 5 inches of pale green bullet-proof glass, and beneath the seal of the United States. Forsyth writes documentary thrillers. They are very closely meshed into historical fact, routinely feature real and very eminent people and organisations, are often set against real events, and are described in the kind of brisk, factual prose you would expect of an in-depth current affairs feature in the Sunday Times or Economist.
It then moves seamlessly into the month-long air war against Iraq 17 January — 23 February before the pulverising Operation Desert Storm which killed large numbers of Iraqi troops, destroyed their hardware and drove them out of Kuwait 24 to 28 February. Forsyth is enamoured of the men, machines, the hardware, planes and tanks, the radar and missile launchers, the regiments and divisions, the pilots, planners, generals and strategists involved in this colossal effort. The SAMs were controlled by two large radar dishes… With twenty-four Strike Eagles in forsytn squadron, 20 January was going to be a multi-mission day.
The squadron commander, Lt. The gorilla was led by one of the two senior flight commanders. Four of the twelve planes were packing HARMS, the radar-busting missiles that home in on infra-red signals from a radar dish. The other eight carried two long, gleaming, stainless-steel-cased laser-guided bombs known as GBUI. When the radars were dead and the missiles blind, they frederiick follow the HARMS and blow away the rocket batteries.
Hundreds of pages are like this. Among the factual briefings and threaded into the historical timelines, there are a number of fictional storylines though not as many as you might fofsyth for such a very long book. It was he, in an early meeting with a member of the Intelligence Services, who recommended his Arabic-speaking brother for the mission.
In this fictional version, the Iraqis built it to lie along the incline of a hill in an isolated and mountainous part of Iraq, where an entire military support base supporting it is completely camouflaged. In a whopping great coincidence it turns out that the engineer who master-minded the erection of the gun and the complete concealment of the military base, attended the same Baghdad prep school as Mike and Terry, Osman Badri, who we see supervising its construction and who then plays a crucial role in its destruction, pages later.
When US and British intelligence find out about this, they send in their own man to re-establish contact with the mysterious Jericho via an elaborate system of safe houses and secret signs. This man is Mike Martin, posing as an old, dirty, Iraqi gardener living in a cottage in the grounds of the Soviet Embassy and equipped with very well-forged ID and a covering letter from the Soviets. The Winkler Bank Another Jericho-related strand is set in Vienna, where Mossad know the payments Jericho demands for his work are sent to an old and venerable bank, the Winkler Bank.
At which point she laughingly crederick him that forsyty big antique desk in his office contains secret compartments where the account details of the VIP customers are kept… So. Mossad have their information, and within days fredreick into the office, find the compartment, and photocopy all the papers kept there, including the all-important Jericho papers. Karim has dinner with Edith and tells her he has to go back to Jordan because his mother is ill.
Once the air war begins the pace of events speeds up and many of these plotlines reach brutal conclusions. General Kadiri catches Leila in the act of writing a secret message, has her tortured to reveal her contact, and killed. Jericho discovers that his own counter-intelligence people have realised that coded radio messages are being sent from somewhere in the diplomatic quarter and so are closing in on Martin.
If they catch and torture him he will give enough evidence to incriminate him, Fordyth, so he leaves a message telling Martin to get out. But not before his final set of messages convey the blockbuster fact at the centre of the novel.
Jericho emerges, like the rest of the Iraqi high command, stunned at the news. Straightaway he leaves message for Jericho, who immediately relays it by coded radio message to his handlers in Riyadh. He buys a few goats as cover and then treks south to the motorbike he and his SAS colleagues buried in the sand weeks earlier for precisely this reason. Meanwhile, as you can imagine, the news that Iraq has the bomb, or at least one bomb, comes as a thunderbolt to the Allied commanders.
On one level a top priority call goes out to all the Intelligence services to double check how this can be true. Earlier in the book a stray shell from a US fighter-bomber blew the roof off a non-descript factory. He gives Terry a long, Forsythian encyclopedia explanation of how they work, how they were used to create the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, how the plans to make them are freely available in the Library of Congress, and how it looks like the Iraqis have made some and so will have a more advanced bomb than the Allies calculated.
Mike has barely had a shower, shave, devoured some steak and chips and fallen asleep on a decent bed for the first time in weeks, when he is woken and ordered to yet another intelligence meeting. Obviously, the next question asked of Jericho after the bombshell that Saddam had a nuclear weapon was — where? His last message back to Martin, and the last one Martin radioed back to his minders, was vrederick precise map reference far in the north-east of Iraq.
While Martin was exiting Iraq, an observation plane had overflown fredercik co-ordinates and established there was nothing there except hills and valleys and a few villages. The risk is that the Allies start to bomb in one part of the quadrant and that tips off the Iraqis who have time to fire their nuclear missile.
Which would be bad. After the multiple plot strands and blizzards of technical spec which characterised most of the book, the last forty pages boil down to a nailbiting account of the preparation and parachuting of Ftederick and three SAS colleagues into this remote region where they do, in fact, locate the well-concealed supergun — the Babylon Gun — and call in a fighter-bomber which successfully destroys it.
High fives all round! In fact, godd is news that the Babylon Gun has been taken out which allows General Schwartzkopf later the same day to give the go-ahead for Operation Desert Storm to commence. Thus, right to the end, Forsyth skillfully intertwines his fictional adventure with the real events of the war; in fact makes reality hinge on his fictional protagonist and his daring exploit.
She scrubs her flat clean of his presence, drives out to the woods, and hangs herself. While the war is raging to the south and the country is in chaos, an Israeli agent undertakes a daring mission into Baghdad and leaves a last message for Jericho. Days later, and after the hour war is over, Jericho, following the detailed instructions in that message, approaches the Ferderick border in a Cadillac, where he is met, as arranged, by British and American generals.
He is spirited through the lines and onto a plane which sets off flying — so he is told — to freedom. Instead, however, he is in the hands of Mossad agents, who give him a muscle-paralysing drug then throw him out of the aircraft to smash to pieces on the sea below. It was this unique position which he used to extract information about, first the progress of the Iraqi A-bomb, and then of the hidden Babylon Gun, before passing it on to the Allies.
There is a cast list at the start of the book which goes on for three pages and lists 73 characters, many of them real historical personages. Forsyth is not shy about describing the most powerful people in the world in exactly the same factual, deadpan he way he does a taxi driver or a street cleaner.
The ladder of fiction extends from the bottom to the very top of not just one but quite a few nations, in juxtapositions which are almost Shakespearian.
He is quite nerveless. This triggered a secret ballot of MPs which Mrs Thatcher won, but not by a big enough majority to quell her doubters who eventually persuaded her, in tears, to resign. The narrative stops dead while Forsyth describes her fall and, very characteristically, gives us four reasons for it p.
The Fist of God
Only slowly do we get flashbacks, memories and references which paint in the backstory in fragments which we, the reader, have to assemble. And all this is done in a style which I personally find very overblown, full of ironic exaggeration, facetious myth-making, public schoolboy slang and the repetition of key moments in the lives of a small number of key protagonists which are designed to build up a kind of accumulated psychological portrait of them.
By contrast Forsyth manages a cast, if not of thousands, of at least 73 named and described characters, and tells the story in a strong, clear chronological order, introducing characters and giving their full CVs and careers in a brisk, no-nonsense, journalistic prose style.
And there is some backstory attached to the Martin brothers, their early days in Baghdad, and to the US fighter pilot Tom Walker, the one who ends up destroying the Babylon Gun at the climax of the novel and who had popped up from time to time in the previous pages.
But by and large the narrative proceeds in a steady forward direction, unfolding much as it did to the world during those tense, anxious months, and reading a timeline of the key events as seen through a military hardware magazine which had special access to some previously unknown aspects of the story the supergun, the bomb.
Every character and every incident fits into the overall machinery of the plot like cogs takes their place in the apparatus of a beautifully constructed Swiss watch. Forysth never uses that kind of incantatory rhetoric in his prose, and rarely if ever repeats memories or talismanic moments, because he has little or no interest in psychology — his aim is to keep the narrative as clear and open and transparent as a factory blueprint.
What is the reader to do with this bombardment of information? Within 1, tons of uranium ore there is enough actual uranium, Uraniumto make a block the size of a cigar case; but an atom bomb requires Uranium and you could only extract enough of this to slip under the nail of one finger. The Scud missile was a Soviet weapon, weighing just under 1, pounds with a range of kilometers, and the Iraqis began to fire a heavily-altered version of the missile into Israel on the second day of the air war.
For stretches it is much more like reading an Encyclopedia for Boys than a novel but, if you enter into the Boys Own spirit of the thing, very absorbing. Just some of the phrases, acronyms or tradecraft which stood out:. From time to time in this vast sea of dry, factual prose Forsyth lets slip a point of view.
He has no time at all for liberal hand-wringers, ban the bombers, the London chattering classes and the idiocy as he sees it of political correctness. If he is dryly sarcastic about specific failings of this, that or the other military or intelligence organisation, it is always well understood that he is nonetheless entirely behind their ethos and existence.
All quotes from the paperback Corgi edition. An international assassin is hired by right-wing paramilitary organisation, the OAS, to assassinate French President, Charles de Gaulle.
Surely one of the most thoroughly researched and gripping thrillers ever written. German journalist Peter Miller goes on a quest to track down an evil former SS commandant and gets caught up in a high-level Nazi plot to help Egypt manufacture long-range missiles to attack and destroy Israel.
This very long novel almost entirely amounts to a mind-bogglingly detailed manual on how to organise and fund a military coup. A plot to overthrow the reforming leader of the Soviet Union evolves into a nailbiting crisis when the unexpected hijacking of an oil supertanker by fanatical Ukrainian terrorists looks like it might lead to the victory of the hawks in the Politburo, who are seeking a Russian invasion of Western Europe.
More gripping than the previous two novels, with the fourth and final story being genuinely rist, in the style of an Ealing comedy starring Alec Guinness. Simultaneously gripping in detail and preposterous in outline.
The Fist of God by Frederick Forsyth
Nonetheless, the vigilante twist of The Veteran is imaginatively powerful, and the long final story about a cowboy who wakes from a century-long magic sleep to be reunited with a reincarnation of his lost love has the eerie, primal power of a gox by Rider Haggard.
The least far-fetched and most gripping Forsyth thriller for years. Quite a gripping thriller with an amazing amount of detailed background information about Afghanistan, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Islamic terrorism and so on.
The Preacher, who has been posting jihadi sermons online and inspiring a wave of terrorist assassinations, is tracked down and terminated by US marine Christopher Carson, aka The Tracker, with a fascinating side plot about Somali piracy thrown in.
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Congrats for a very thorough review of The Fist of God. I read the book years back but felt like I was reading it for the first time. This is really professional. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You freerick commenting using your Facebook account.
Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Storylines Among the factual briefings and threaded into the historical timelines, there are a number of fictional storylines though not as frwderick as you might expect for such a very long book.
The air offensive Once frederjck air war begins the pace of events speeds up and many of these plotlines reach brutal conclusions. The Fist of God But not before his final set of messages convey the blockbuster fact at the centre of the novel.
Nuclear verification Meanwhile, as you can imagine, the news that Iraq has the bomb, or at least one bomb, comes as a thunderbolt to the Allied commanders. VIP characters There is a cast list at the start of the book which goes on for three pages and lists 73 characters, many of them real historical personages. Mike Martin has one or two moments remembering the prep school he attended in Baghdad when he was a kid, but only because they shed light on the geography of modern Baghdad or because one or two of his Iraqi schoolmates have gone on to hold positions in the regime.