Icon (英語) マスマーケット – 1997/9/2
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From the master of the novel of international intrigue comes a riveting new book as timely and unsettling as tomorrow's headlines.
It is summer 1999 in Russia, a country on the threshold of anarchy. An interim president sits powerless in Moscow as his nation is wracked by famine and inflation, crime and corruption, and seething hordes of the unemployed roam the streets.
For the West, Russia is a basket case. But for Igor Komarov, one-time army sergeant who has risen to leadership of the right-wing UPF party, the chaos is made to order. As he waits in the wings for the presidential election of January 2000, his striking voice rings out over the airwaves offering the roiling masses hope at last--not only for law, order, and prosperity, but for restoring the lost greatness of their land.
Who is this man with the golden tongue who is so quickly becoming the promise of a Russia reborn? A document stolen from party headquarters and smuggled to Washington and London sends nightmare chills through those who remember the past, for this Black Manifesto is pure Mein Kampf in a country with frightening parallels to the Germany of the Weimar Republic.
Officially the West can do nothing, but in secret a group of elder statesmen sends the only person who can expose the truth about Komarov into the heart of the inferno. Jason Monk, ex-CIA and "the best damn agent-runner we ever had," had sworn he would never return to Moscow, but one name changes his mind. Colonel Anatoli Grishin, the KGB officer who tortured and murdered four of Monk's agents after they had been betrayed by Aldrich Ames, is now Komarov's head of security.
Monk has a dual mission: to stop Komarov, whatever it takes, and to prepare the way for an icon worthy of the Russian people. But he has a personal mission as well: to settle the final score with Grishin. To do this he must stay alive--and the forces allied against him are ruthless, the time frighteningly short....
The New York Times bestseller!
"Vintage Forsyth, intricate, exact and gripping."
--The New York Times Book Review
*"A mature mastery of storytelling melded with a deep knowledge of realpolitik...another strong performance by a writer who knows exactly what he's about, and who here catalyzes narrative with another memorable protagonist, the stealthy and daring Monk."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Frederick Forsyth's latest epic...has reverted to the masterly storytelling that has won him so many fans. But instead of going into the past, he has set Icon in the future, and allowed his imagination to rise above the constraints of the facts that he uses to frame every book. The result is one of his best works for a long time, which provides an all-too-real look at a chilling new millennium."
--The Sunday Times, London
"For years, Frederick Forsyth has been known as the man who wrote The Day of the Jackal, the yardstick by which all his subsequent books have been measured. Icon--dare I say it?--is as good or better. What makes this book so special? Because it could easily happen. All the ingredients for disaster are now in place, which makes for a terrifyingly real scenario."
--Detroit Free Press
"A tautly written thriller with a big cast of characters that Forsyth juggles with skill...Forsyth's storytelling ability makes Icon one of the best spy novels in recent years."
--Star Tribune, Minneapolis
There is a gathering of old foreign policy and intelligence hands from Britain and America, none of them currently in office. They are given copies of the Manifesto to read, and knowing their governments will do nothing, decide that action must be taken. At its head will be Sir Nigel Irvine, the former head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, known as M16. But what to do and whom to use?
In the 1980's, a counterintelligence agent for the CIA, Jason Monk, had been remarkably effective running spies who had come over to the American side. But it was also during that time period that the notorious traitor, Aldrich Ames, had exposed more than a dozen spies buried within the Soviet system. Ames himself was an incompetent alcoholic who rose beyond any sensible level through organizational sclerosis, and was protected by a drinking buddy high up in the CIA hierarchy. Knowing, as the CIA itself did, that something was terribly wrong when agents begin to disappear, but unaware of the mole, Monk does not follow procedures within the CIA in an attempt to protect his agents. It is to no avail. Angry, frustrated, he is pensioned off and ten years after leaving government service, runs a fishing charter service on a small island held by the British.
Irvine appears one day, but is obviously no fisherman. He convinces a reluctant Monk to use his considerable skills to infiltrate Russia to stop the possibility that Komarov will be elected. Through deception and guile, Monk solicits aid from a variety of people, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, an old, blunt talking military hero of the late USSR, an honest and dedicated leader of a police force, and the mastermind of the Chechen underworld who owes Monk a favor. Whether the tide will turn in time to save Russia from reverting to Fascist tyranny is dependent on numerous events occurring with precise timing. But Grishin, looking to achieve heights within a Komarov government, is a skilled purveyor of evil, vowing to eliminate the intruder and his helpmates.
Given his personal habits, the speaking skills, the personal cleanliness, the aversion to alcohol, Komarov is obviously modeled on Hitler, but in a different geographic setting. He even has his own propaganda minister. You anticipate that if Komarov wins, the Duma, like the Reichstag, will be reduced to ashes.
As if he was a superb architect creating a fabulous edifice, Forsyth weaves his story with minute detail, and also creates an exciting, relentless plot.Like most of his admirers I suppose, it is The Day of the Jackal that I point to as Forsyth's best book, and maybe the best thriller of all time. But it is fair to say that Jackal edges out Icon by only a hair on Vladimir Putin's balding head. It is simply superb.
Very clever sociopath takes over the reins of the fascist party. He is good orator and presents politics which applies with the Russian population and it looks that he will be elected the next president. By coincidence it is observed that his real intentions are similar or worse that of the old Nazi party in Germany.
A US agent gets the task to hinder that this sociopath gets elected and his method is very clever and remarkable to read about.
It is not new in history that mad men become heads of state wit dangerous consequences.
It is in two parts: the planning of an operation, and the operation itself.
The first part includes a backstory based on Aldrich Ames.
The main story, however, is set in a Russia which is in much worse shape than the current incarnation. Given when it was written, this would make it "future history". Just very near future, and the emphasis is on politics and espionage.