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The Devil's Alternative

Narrated by: David Rintoul
Length: 16 hrs and 14 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Whichever option I choose, men are going to die.

When the entire Soviet Union wheat crop is destroyed by a devastating string of failures, the population faces starvation. The USA is quick to offer assistance. They devise a plan to trade vital food resources with the Russians in exchange for sensitive political information. But the Politburo has other ideas: the invasion of Western Europe to commandeer the food for them...

As the paths of communication breakdown the president of the United States and leaders from around the world face an appalling choice: Should they allow the loss of thousands to save the lives of many more? This is the Devil's Alternative and in this incomparable and gripping thriller the Cold War giants must fight a battle to the death.

©1979 Frederick Forsyth (P)2012 Random House AudioGo

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  • Mike
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • 10-25-16

Unsurpassable performance of a brilliant novel

I just couldn't imagine a better narration. Such a pleasure just listening to Rintoul's genius. Forsyth's real world understanding of spycraft and politics makes for a wonderfully believable adventure.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tracey
  • craigmore, Australia
  • 06-14-15

ALTERNATIVE

What did you like best about The Devil's Alternative? What did you like least?

the closer to the end the story got better it is a litttle longwinded at the start slow going nearly stopped listening

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

yes a lot more action at start

What three words best describe David Rintoul’s performance?

slow to go

Could you see The Devil's Alternative being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

matt damon and donald sutherland and anthony laparlia

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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very good

very good clarity , narrator is 1st class would not mind another book by him

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  • Kirstine
  • 12-01-14

Gripping thriller with renewed topicality

Published in 1979 this book is redolent with the suspicion and hostility between the Soviet Union and the West that prevailed at the time. I listened in the early 1990s (when audiobooks came on numerous tape cassettes) and recall thinking that although the book was exciting it was less convincing owing to the new rapprochement between the old adversaries. As many years had passed and I’d forgotten most of the story I thought I’d download the book and see how it played in the current climate of renewed tensions. It couldn’t be more topical as the story involves Ukrainian freedom fighters, the importance in saving face for Soviet leaders and tussles between hawks and doves on either side of the Atlantic.

Apart from its renewed relevance to today’s world it remains a first class thriller. As with other books by the author, there is quite a bit of technical detail about, for example, guns, tankers, aircraft, the SAS that I would normally find boring but somehow in these books adds authenticity. Though largely a book about men wielding power and manipulating events the book, unlike, say, those by Wilbur Smith, avoids misogny and the few women characters are not clichés.

David Rintoul narrates with perfect manly authority making the characters seem believable as they save the world from disaster.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-29-14

A bit dated but still classic Forsyth

Would you consider the audio edition of The Devil's Alternative to be better than the print version?

It's probably on a par. It was easy to follow as an audio book - the characters were distinct from one another and there weren't so many that it confused.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Devil's Alternative?

To be honest it was a bit formulaic and while I can remember key points, they would seem trivial, for instance the captain of the tanker receiving a visit from his wife was quite poignant but hardly a pivotal moment.

What does David Rintoul bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

David Rintoul brought the characters to life by 'doing' their accents. I also thought he pronounced the various place names correctly and I liked that he had taken the effort to do that. The performance was the best part.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Not at all. It was a good listen but not outstanding. Steady, innocuous stuff.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • M Booth
  • 08-07-19

Terrific storytelling

It's incredible that someone can weave such an intricate web yet allow the reader to follow every twist and turn. a solid story but beware, there is quite literally a sting in the tail and that is on the very last page. you will not regret reading this if you love thrillers.

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  • Elsa Griggs
  • 07-04-19

A question of grain

Initially it’s Russian American relations with all that entails next Ukraine involvement intensifies.
The spy thriller element continues to build to terrorist proportions.

The ending is credible and lengthy.

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  • I. A. Wright
  • 06-14-19

Excellent

Brilliantly sculpted spy drama, with several threads that eventually come together, crissing and crossing. Well, I thoroughly enjoyed every moment, and I hooe you shall, too.

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  • phphoto
  • 04-29-19

Frustrating

Would have been a better listening experience had it not been for occasional jumps in recording

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • DPickett
  • 03-17-19

Brilliant... Once it gets going.

The first chapters of this story impart a lot of information, most of it seemingly unrelated. Likewise, there are lots of characters. But stick with it, the streams and characters all come together, in a story crammed with adventure, double dealing and intrigue. Thoroughly enjoyable.

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  • profplums
  • 11-26-18

Great story, usual twists and turns

Classic Forsyth, there is certainly an element of dating now, but to me that’s not an issue the story is great, the characters well developed and overall a great listen. If you’re a fan - there is plenty here to please.

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  • Neels
  • 10-02-18

Ingenious. Very Forsyth. Superbly delivered.

A proper beginning, middle and end. Ingenious and will kept you guessing until the last page. Brilliant story. Expertly read, as always, by David Rintoul.

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  • Nick
  • 09-22-18

Outstanding plot

Quite a long book with many parallel stories that are all interlinked that the author moves between to keep the pace just right. Interesting ending that I couldn't work out. I think the book could have been shorter but all together a great book by a great author of cold war intrigue and plotting

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  • David
  • 05-19-18

Cannot recommend this one !

Unfortunately I found this book just plain terrible. The narration was good, but the very long drawn out tale at very most was far from satisfying. The layer upon layer of detail of the Russian political workings is very tedious. Just trying to come to grips with Russian names, terminology, and supposed deliberations is mind numbing. The portrayal of the Americans leaves me sick just to contemplate that anyone would act in such juvenile fashion. I cannot here hide my love of the British as told with their circumspect speech and relaxed manner. Others in this tale exhibit a lot of very ill temper and lack of control which fits in with the winding tale that is on again, then off again. A couple of the characters are excellent with a warmth and reality, such as the Captain of the tanker, along with his wife and his boss..
Frederick Forsyth is a master story teller, an absolute genius, but something seriously went wrong here.