Book Review - Icon by Frederick Forsyth
With all the reading I do, I haven't read any of Forsyth's stuff. While on vacation, I packed his novel Icon. An enjoyable read...
Set in 1999, Russia is falling apart. Elections are coming, and a dynamic personality (Igor Komarov) seems to have the hearts and minds of the people. But things are not as they seem. A document titled The Black Manifesto falls into the hands of an American embassy worker, and no one is quite sure what to do about it. Written by Komarov, it outlines a return to tolitarian rule, elimination of Jews and other minorities, and an active role in the government by the Russian mafia. A former CIA agent named Jason Monk is "asked" to once again go undercover to work behind the scenes to destabilize the election campaign of Komarov so that he isn't able to use the denunciations of external governments to his advantage. Monk also has to avoid being caught and killed as a spy due to his prior activities in the country.
There are a number of things that make this an intriguing novel. The breakdown of the Soviet machine is factual, and presents a realistic backdrop to the storyline. Forsyth also works in the CIA mole Aldrich Ames and the damage he did to destroy the entire American intelligence infrastructure in Russia. It doesn't take a lot of effort to see this as a recounting of actual events. The only problem I had was that nearly everything that Monk does works perfectly and seems to be a real stretch after awhile. Still, it's a very good novel and I'll probably end up reading his other works.