Wednesday, the 1st of February, and time for Shelf Control once again! Shelf Control is a weekly feature created by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. Since early January 2023, Shelf Control has moved base here to Literary Potpourri. To participate, all you do is pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what it’s about, when/where you got it, why you want to read it and such. If you participate, don’t forget to share your links in the comments. I’ll check out your picks of course, and also add you to the list of participants in this post!

Today’s pick is one that’s been on my TBR for about a year, The Devil’s Alternative (1979) by Frederick Forsyth. Combining fact and fiction, British author Frederick Forsyth has written a series of thrillers, many of which have been adapted for the screen. With experience in the military and as a journalist (the latter influencing his research for his books), he began his writing career with The Day of the Jackal in 1971 which became a bestseller. He’s written books set around the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Soviet among others.

The Devil’s Alternative, his fourth novel, takes us to a Russia facing famine and having to rely on the US for survival. But things change when a Ukrainian nationalist, rescued from the Black Sea strikes against the USSR, plunging leaders from Washington to Moscow into a web of intrigue, terror and suspense. British agent, Adam Munro witnesses the situation getting increasingly tense, and it falls to him to stop this before the entire world is plunged into nuclear war!

While this is a Soviet era thriller and thrillers aren’t my usual fare, this book came on to my radar after my mom (re)read it last year and found to her surprise how much light this threw on the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine, leaving her wondering ‘whether it was fiction or reality that [her] mind was taking in’. Having read Grey Bees recently, I got some insight into the fact that the present conflict isn’t entirely new but one that has persisted for some time now, and I think this book would be able to add further to what I got from that, so I am interested in reading it.

Have you read any books by Frederick Forsyth? Which ones and how did you find them?

Book description from Goodreads and Wikipedia, and cover image from Goodreads; author info from Wikipedia

If you’re participating this week, do share your links in the comments below!


9 thoughts on “Shelf Control #213: The Devil’s Alternative by Frederick Forsyth

  1. I read this book almost a decade ago. My neighbor is a fan of Forsythe’s books – so we were discussing all the books we read and we had a hard time remembering the name of this book which followed a famine in Russia and how the double agent saved the day.
    Reading this post reminded me of the title finally. Haha. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read the Jackal title way back when the film first came out but nothing since by Forsyth. Yet, if you both say this throws light on why Putin’s involved in Ukraine, I might see if the library has a copy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh wow, yes, fascinating!
    I haven’t read anything by him, not even The Day of the Jackal! – which I actually just added to my TBR! I see how high the rating of all his books are on Goodreads!


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