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John Sutherland, 8 November 1979

The Devil’s Alternative 
by Frederick Forsyth.
Hutchinson, 479 pp., £5.95
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The Four Hundred 
by Stephen Sheppard.
Secker, 374 pp., £5.25
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... in the public mind. Most people will by now know that this autumn the British blockbusters are Forsyth’s The Devil’s Alternative (its distinctive symbol is a neon-red star), Stephen Sheppard’s The Four Hundred (its distinctive symbol is a gold sovereign) and Harry Patterson’s To Catch a King (this title and its distinctive symbol are still to burst ...

Short Cuts

James Meek: Anglospheroids, 21 March 2013

... leave the European Union, along with the Better Off Out group, supported by such luminaries as Frederick Forsyth, Norman Tebbit and Austin Mitchell. What is it, though? Lovers of the Anglosphere can’t agree on its constituent parts. The cultural Anglosphere, those countries and regions where English is a literary language, is seldom coterminous with ...

Red Stars

John Sutherland, 6 December 1984

Wild Berries 
by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, translated by Antonia Bovis.
Macmillan, 296 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 333 37559 9
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The Burn 
by Vassily Aksyonov, translated by Michael Glenny.
Hutchinson, 528 pp., £10.95, October 1984, 0 09 155580 9
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Fellow Travellers 
by T.C. Worsley.
Gay Men’s Press, 249 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 907040 51 9
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The Power of the Dog 
by Thomas Savage.
Chatto, 276 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 7011 3939 0
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The Fourth Protocol 
by Frederick Forsyth.
Hutchinson, 448 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 09 158630 5
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The Set-Up 
by Vladimir Volkoff, translated by Alan Sheridan.
Bodley Head, 397 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 370 30583 3
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... ends with the neatest of Oedipal killings. Although it has only recently been published in the UK, Frederick Forsyth’s The Fourth Protocol has already been three months in the New York Times best-seller list. Forsyth at the moment is in America, promoting his latest thriller. His line, on the talk-shows I have ...

‘No, no,’ replied the fat man

Michael Davie, 3 December 1992

The Power of News: The History of Reuters 
by Donald Read.
Oxford, 330 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 19 821776 5
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... Post, was a Reuters correspondent in the Boer War (photographed here with Kipling) and in Turkey. Frederick Forsyth, with Reuters from 1961 to 1965, was not highly regarded by his superiors: ‘he views the world around him in rather unreal terms like a spectator at the cinema identifying himself with the larger-than-life characters and incidents ...

Dark Places

John Sutherland, 18 November 1982

Wise Virgin 
by A.N. Wilson.
Secker, 186 pp., £7.50, October 1982, 0 436 57608 2
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The London Embassy 
by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 211 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 241 10872 1
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The frog who dared to croak 
by Richard Sennett.
Faber, 182 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 571 11989 1
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Vintage Stuff 
by Tom Sharpe.
Secker, 220 pp., £7.50, November 1982, 0 436 45810 1
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Rogue Justice 
by Geoffrey Household.
Joseph, 174 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 7181 2178 3
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... stole in Las Vegas. In the woods opposite, a homicidal public schoolboy, intoxicated by too much Frederick Forsyth, is taking pot shots at anything that moves. Since he’s a demon marksman, the casualty rate is high. Like Restoration Comedy, Sharpe’s plots defy summary. But the comic machinery by which this bloody and beshitted climax is reached will ...

Flying the flag

Patrick Parrinder, 18 November 1993

The Modern British Novel 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Secker, 512 pp., £20, October 1993, 0 436 20132 1
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After the War: The Novel and English Society since 1945 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 310 pp., £17.99, September 1993, 9780701137694
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... today are government ministers and the right-wing press. A GCSE board’s decision to prescribe a Frederick Forsyth novel a few years ago was subjected to a bruising examination by the tabloids. The press and the politicians take comfort from a scenario in which the threat to the national literary heritage can be represented as coming from a bunch of ...

Every Young Boy’s Dream

James Meek: Michel Houellebecq, 14 November 2002

Platform 
by Michel Houellebecq, translated by Frank Wynne.
Heinemann, 362 pp., £12.99, September 2002, 9780434009893
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... a savage attack on everything that is fine and decent about the US. The British are represented by Frederick Forsyth, a ‘halfwit’. The narrative is bookended by Muslim aggression, with the terrorist attack at the end and the murder of Michel’s father by a Muslim at the beginning, and a detailed denunciation of Islam in between. The Japanese are ...

Her Boy

R.W. Johnson: Mark Thatcher, 16 November 2006

Thatcher’s Fortunes: The Life and Times of Mark Thatcher 
by Mark Hollingsworth and Paul Halloran.
Mainstream, 415 pp., £7.99, July 2006, 1 84596 118 8
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The Wonga Coup: The British Mercenary Plot to Seize Oil Billions in Africa 
by Adam Roberts.
Profile, 304 pp., £9.99, June 2006, 1 86197 934 7
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... In 1973, a group of mercenaries attempted a coup that Roberts claims was planned by the novelist Frederick Forsyth – The Dogs of War, which chronicled the plot in detail, was published the following year. Although it was generally regarded as a work of fiction it became a do-it-yourself manual for mercenaries mounting coups in Africa for years ...

Do you like him?

Ian Jack: Ken Livingstone, 10 May 2012

You Can’t Say That: Memoirs 
by Ken Livingstone.
Faber, 710 pp., £9.99, April 2012, 978 0 571 28041 4
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... British press. A ‘nondescript, instantly forgettable little fellow with a nasal voice’ was how Frederick Forsyth described him in his 1984 novel The Fourth Protocol, in which Livingstone’s move against McIntosh at County Hall became a coup ‘of which Lenin himself would have been proud’. Private Eye claimed, falsely, that Colonel Gaddafi had put ...

The Ground Hostess

Francis Wyndham, 1 April 1983

... digital watch. There was something faintly sinister about him, like a character in a book by Frederick Forsyth, and at the same time something so sharply poignant that I ached with pity at the memory of his shallow vulnerability and thrilled at my intimate knowledge of his deserved discomforts. Anyway, it was quite clear that he hadn’t taken me ...

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