The Fox

The Fox

Frederick Forsyth
ARRSE Rating
3.5 Mushroom Heads
The Fox is Frederick Forsyth’s first novel in five years and is centred around a teenage computer hacker with unparalleled ability who is used by the British government as a weapon against opposing regimes. This hacker, codenamed ‘The Fox’ by the agent assigned to handle him, is realised to be a critical asset to the British and our allies, being used to embarrass and attack other regimes, but with such skills as to rapidly become a target for other governments and the main thread of the book is centred on the moves and counter-moves as the British try to protect him and the Russians (and others) try to kill him.

Forsyth has put the novel just ahead of the present day and the context is bang-up-to-date with well-placed references to actual events that are woven well into the narrative. This is perhaps the novel’s greatest strength as Forsyth has tied the fiction into the fact exceptionally well which makes his story all the more readable; this is not a distant narrative that can be easily displaced but one that is very much centred on the UK and what is happening in the real world today. Certain political characters are easily recognisable (and brought the odd wry smile) and their mindsets and approaches are easily believable.

Having read a few Forsyth’s other novels (The Day of the Jackal and The Odessa File being the two that come most to mind), his style remains the same and some of the sequences are genuinely gripping. That said, others are less good: there is an air of predictability to some of them and others rely on happenstance or coincidence too much which takes away from the main story. Parts of the conclusion are a bit too pat and can be foreseen well in advance.This is a shame as it does take away from the story quite noticeably.

If you enjoy Frederick Forsyth’s novels or other thriller writers, then this is worth getting (perhaps on Kindle or wait for the paperback); it is enjoyable in the main but it is not as good as some of his past works. For those new to Forsyth, pick up one of his classics first and come back to this one in the future.

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