The Feather Men
About this deal
In that respect, it reminded me of The Quiet American, by Graham Greene - set in Vietnam, during the first Indochina war in the early fifties. I was a little disappointed (although I knew it was a used book) that the pages were quite heavily yellowed. It is a sad fact of life that “in democratic societies that there are no-go areas where crime thrives and innocent citizens are preyed upon yet where the police are powerless to act. I had this book many many moons ago and somehow it has disappeared when i had thought about reading it. I had heard of this book before I saw the film based on it but it was only after seeing the movie reently that I decided to read it.
I enjoyed the movie adaptation and as the book had a controversial history I was interested in reading it. Then—for reasons disclosed in these pages—they asked Ranulph Fiennes to reveal their spellbinding story.
A well structured book that is clearly more fiction than fact albeit some of the characters did/do exist. Not, of course, those ex-SAS soldiers are being targeted and killed, but more that there are a group of people whose main object – staying ‘loosely’ within the remit of the law, and only flirting slightly with criminality - is to protect them, which surprisingly proves to be no easy task.
Fiennes himself remained vague on the story's veracity, asserting that it was up to the reader to decide whether it was fact or fiction, and suggested journalists subject events and people described in the book to "forensic examination", and to draw their own conclusions. Frankly, it's just another example of the Special Forces' reputation being exploited for commercial gain. The Feather Men determined that the deaths of the four SAS was not so accidental… and spent years hunting down the killers.One of the overriding philosophies of the book Shantaram is that it is possible to do the ‘wrong’ thing for the ‘right’ reasons. It is a fascinating account of a tenacious double manhunt: the assassins stalking their victims and the Feather Men pursuing the assassins.
Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 3rd Baronet, OBE, better known as Ranulph (Ran) Fiennes, is a British adventurer and holder of several endurance records.I don't know if the director of that film, Joseph Mankiewitz, was still alive at the time of the final communist victory in Vietnam in 1975, but if he was, I hope he had the grace to feel at least slightly ashamed of himself for having so perverted the original film. I found this book a slog to get through, and kept checking the percentage progress in the hopes of seeing it leap forward. I will certainly read it again one day, before too long, if only to appreciate better the importance of the leading chapters, as well as recapture the thrill of the story itself. The background was this: Amr bin Issa, sheikh of a tribe in Oman, had lost four sons in his country's civil wars.