This twisting and turning look into international espionage is Forsyth’s latest well researched and engrossing novel. Following the trend begun in his “The Day of the Jackal,” it is a story of the clashing of several resolute wills and delineating the thinking of all sides opposed to each other.
The principal characters involved are basically well fleshed out and their actions based on what such individuals would probably do in real life. The style utilized in “The Fox” is one of description of events rather than the movement back and forth between individuals. Their motivations are described in this style which in the author’s hands does lend itself quite well to understanding them.
Luke Jennings is a teen-aged British young man that has called attention to himself through hacking into the seemingly impenetrable computer firewalls of the U.S. agencies of the NSA, the CIA and the Pentagon. The United States demands to have Luke extradited from England to face trial in the USA.
The British Prime Minister calls on Adrian Weston, former chief of British secret intelligence service, to attempt to intervene and prevent the extradition. Upon meeting Luke, Adrian finds that the boy is what is normally termed an “idiot savant,” a person very versed in one area but silent on everything else. His area of expertise is mastering computer skills which allowed him to hack into the several U.S. agencies’ computers.
The story turns on the manner Adrian manages to prevent Luke’s arrest and than using him to turn the tables on attempts by China, North Korea, Russia and Iran to attack the west and their allies. Certain events that actually occurred are described as being prevented by Luke’s seemingly magical hacking of impenetrable computers giving rise to counter measures by the west.
An excellent read written by one of the literary world’s master craftsmen, and again causing everyone reading his books to eagerly await Forsyth’s next novel.
10/18 Paul Lane
THE FOX by Frederick Forsyth. G.P. Putnam’s Sons (October 23, 2018). ISBN 978-0525538424. 304p.