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The Veteran AND Other Stories by Frederick Forsyth | Book Review

“The Veteran and Other stories”, is a collection of five fictional tales by the famous thriller writer Frederick Forsyth. Written with the typical Forsyth attention to immaculate details of real life professionals, each story makes an interesting read, with a game-changer twist at the end.

A man is kicked to death, by two rogues, on a pavement of a London suburb. The police build up a case, piece-by-piece, with an aim to put the two thugs behind the bars. However, suddenly, a rich and famous lawyer descends from his chamber, and snatches these guys from the hands of justice, in the court of law. Why does he do it? Is the real justice done in the court or outside the court?

Trumpy, a financially distressed actor submits a painting, a valued gift from a beloved aunt, for valuation and sale with the prestigious auctioneer, “The House of Darcy”. A junior valuer, Beny Evans, identifies it to be a work of a 14th century Master painter Sassetta. However, his head of department cuts a private deal and makes him a scapegoat. Benny loses his job, reputation and career, and Trumpy loses a fortune. Together, they cleverly give back the villain what’s his due.

An American couple is visiting the Tuscan city of Siena, to witness the famous Palio. Instead, they end up listening to a wonderful story of compassion, from the days of Second World War. A surgeon tells them about his two days of struggle with more than 200 wounded soldiers, in a courtyard with no medical facilities. He managed to save each one of them, with the help of a ghostly nun, “The Catherine of Mercy”, who had died in the same courtyard, centuries ago. The generous Americans give a huge donation and leave. But, what happens to the story-teller?

A Bangkok- London flight is supposedly carrying a drug-courier. But, who is it? The fine gentleman in the business class, or the Canadian hippy? Things become dodgy when an economy class passenger witnesses a meeting between them, in the aircraft, when everyone else is sleeping. Being a dutiful citizen, he informs the captain of the aircraft. The customs officers intercept and search both the men, and find nothing. Who is the courier then, and will they get him/them?

We meet Ben Craig, with a party of American Soldiers, hunting native Indians, in 18th century America. He survives the massacre, is accepted by Indians, and falls in love with a girl called “Whispering Wind”. But, their union is not acceptable to the clan. On the other hand, he is hunted as a traitor by the army.

The lovers flee, with a hope to lose themselves in the wilderness and live happily ever after. Being pursued by both Indians and army soldiers, they end up in a cave at the top of the mountains. Here, they meet a holy man, who prophesies that they are destined to meet each other, but this is not the right time. “Whispering wind” must go back to her family, and if she did, they will surely unite in future. She goes, with a promise from Ben Craig, that he will wait.

That night, the storm that brings the “Long Sleep” comes in, wiping out everything on the mountain. Did Ben Craig survive? Was the prophecy true? Did he come back to claim his lost love?

All the tales are different and yet, linked by one thread: they are stories of revenge, swindling the swindlers, getting back from the world what’s your due. And “The Art of the Matter” and the “Whispering Wind”, are must-reads……………………….. Enjoy…………..:)

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