Title: The Afghan
Author: Frederick Forsyth
Forsyth, Frederick (2006). The Afghan. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
- “When British and American intelligence catch wind of a major Al Qaeda operation in the works, they instantly galvanize–but to do what? They know nothing about it: the what, where, or when. They have no sources in Al Qaeda, and it’s impossible to plant someone. Impossible, unless– The Afghan is Izmat Khan, a five-year prisoner of Guantánamo Bay and a former senior commander of the Taliban. The Afghan is also Colonel Mike Martin, a twenty-five-year veteran of war zones around the world–a dark, lean man born and raised in Iraq. In an attempt to stave off disaster, the intelligence agencies will try to do what no one has ever done before–pass off a Westerner as an Arab among Arabs.–From publisher description.”–From source other than the Library of Congress
Date Updated: December 10, 2015
The Forsyth Formula, al-Qaeda version: A sort of post-9/11 apocalyptic western, this thriller pits White Guys against Black Turbans, the daring forces of freedom versus the jihadi doers of evil.
Should Hasbro ever decide it needs a new G.I. Joe, Mike Martin’s their man. The latest action figure from the Forsyth franchise, he’s a craggy Scot summoned from a wee bit of rest and relaxation at his Hampshire retreat back into the endless global fray. The listening department of Pakistan’s Counter-Terrorism Center has, through cell-phone surveillance, unearthed a plot. One of Osama bin Laden’s financiers has already, clutching his laptop, hurled himself from a balustrade to protect the plans. Hi-tech British cunning retrieves the info, which reveals schemes for “Al Isra,” the biggest potential attack yet. To penetrate al-Qaeda, U.K./U.S. intelligence makes a mole of Martin, passing him off as Izmat Khan, ex-Taliban bigwig serving time in Gitmo. Mirror images of each other, the men are archetypal warriors, Khan a stoic Afghan outraged by the Russian invasion of his country and conned by desperation into bin Laden’s service, Martin a 25-year veteran of killing missions—the Falklands, the Balkans, the Middle East. Plus, passing for Khan is easy for multilingual Martin, son of an oil-company executive stationed in Iraq. He even looks the part: “olive-skinned, black-haired and eyed, lean and very hard of physique.” Martin’s mission earns him martyrdom, but only after all kinds of derring-do involving a ship called The Countess of Richmond, characters screaming “Eject, eject!” and a cameo appearance by John Negroponte.
Gun-club porn—packed with stodgily accurate descriptions of weapons and acronymic slang. Hardly subtle, just bang-bang galore.