It is 1999 and Russia is on the edge of total implosion. Social and moral order has collapsed and what small semblance of control there is, is being imposed by mafia-like criminal gangs. While public opinion in the West is largely indifferent, the political analysts are less sanguine - Russian meltdown will make the disintegration of the Balkans look like the collapse of a cup-cake. Out of the chaos, however, a single charismatic voice is starting to be heard - that of Igor Komarov, a visionary patriot who claims he can restores Russia's greatness and bring prosperity to the masses. He even woos Western political leaders with a rather more realistic analysis of the way forward for Russia. Komarov is set to win the next election when a document is smuggled into the British Embassy in Moscow. It's called The Black Manifesto and it appears to show Komarov's secret agenda - his political blueprint is really Mein Kampf, the rebirth of Russia will be as a New Third Reich with Komarov as Fuhrer. But can the document be authenticated? And what can the Western Alliance's most secret Trilateral Commission do about it if it is? They need to find another voice the masses will listen to and obey rather than Komarov - an icon they can cleave to and trust. Once, not that long ago, he was called the Tsar.
And so develops a thrilling and increasingly frightening adventure - Jason Monk, ex-CIA, who used to run agents into the Soviet Union, is recruited and slips back into Russia, into the desperate Moscow world of poverty, luxury, gangsters and prostitutes and underneath it all, the titanic power struggle to ensure the outcome of the forthcoming elections.
©2011 Frederick Forsyth (P)2011 Random House Audio Go
I thoroughly enjoyed this book as usual several places and names and references to real world events are dropped throughout this book. The book takes place in several different time periods and requires some concentration to piece together the plot lines culminating in a sense of discovery near the end when all the jigsaw pieces finally fit into place as is common in F. Forsyth books. This was my first Forsyth purchase in audio format and I can honestly say it's a book I will most likely listen to again in the future now I know what the finished jigsaw looks like. The narration was good however sometimes the Russians sounded Russian and other times they sounded like London's east end thugs which spoiled the realism slightly still well narrated and an easy listen.
"Icon" is yet another superb book by the master, Frederick Forsyth.
As another reviewer has pointed out, the narrative weaves through several time periods, but it all gets linked together well at the end. As usual with Forsyth books, he adds in enough detail to give the story a sense of realism.
The narrator, Steven Crossley, does a fine job. The pace of the narration is excellent. However, I do not think he did as good a job giving the characters accents, and it is this which cost the book its fifth star.
Overall, well worth a listen.
Forsyth has the wonderful ability to blend actual events with a strong story line and realistic characters.
Icon is set against the back drop of the tail end of the Cold War / end of the Soviet Union and the political aftermath as various powers and interests vie for political control.
The reprise of Sir Nigel Irvine's character ( from The Fourth Protocol) see the old Spymaster engineer a political destabilisation plan executed by a former CIA Agent , Jason Monk.
The thing about FF's books is that its often hard to work out how much is actually based on real life events and what is fiction but that's the skill that he has in writing excellent and thought provoking books.
Certainly one of the best he has written the narration is first class.
Im now coming to the end of this book and finally enjoying it.
My main issue is that is runs two time lines back to back and jumps frequently between the two. (1970-1999). I found this quite confusing and difficult to follow which was'nt helped by the narrator who uses "cockney" accents for the russian KGB thugs!
Near to the end the two lines converge and gets more intersting.
"A brilliant forecast of modern day Russia"
Putin was elected so things could not be stopped unlike in this brilliant book icon by Frederick Forsyth stop fascism in Russia
"Watch out for the reader! Before you buy, listen!"
The reader ruined all my pleasure. Few “voices” and all story is “hacked” in small pieces hard to put together and follow. I don’t even know how to describe the feeling of “non connected phrases” not a story.I think I never felt like this. It totally ruined my book!The story might be OK (it usually is – I’ve listen to 4 other books by F. Forsyth) but I could not listen to it.
Could not listen to the end.
Someone else reading it maybe?
If you get it read by David Rintoul I'll give it one more chance.
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