The Corner

Avenged

I used to have a theory about the novelist Frederick Forsyth: His first book, The Day of the Jackal, is the best thriller ever written–and every subsequent book of his has been not quite as good as the one before it. That’s okay, as long as you start at the summit at work your way down slowly. His first six or seven books are really good. Then, in the early 1990s, came The Fist of God, which was merely okay, followed by Icon, which was the first time he disappointed me. So I turned to other writers and didn’t snatch up either of Forsyth’s most recent books, The Veteran and Avenger, until recently. I enjoyed The Veteran (which is not a novel, but five unconnected stories) but wouldn’t call it a classic. Avenger, however, is exemplary–easily the best book he’s written since the 1980s, and perhaps since the late 1970s. It is vintage Forsyth–if you like his genre, I recommend it highly. Bonus: It’s just now out in paperback.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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