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The Feather Men is the riveting story of the efforts by a private British vigilance committee to eliminate a band of coldblooded contract killers. From 1977 to 1990, three hired assassins known as the Clinic tracked down and murdered four former British soldiers, one at a time. Each of the assassinations was carried out in such an ingenious fashion that there would be no h The Feather Men is the riveting story of the efforts by a private British vigilance committee to eliminate a band of coldblooded contract killers. From 1977 to 1990, three hired assassins known as the Clinic tracked down and murdered four former British soldiers, one at a time. Each of the assassinations was carried out in such an ingenious fashion that there would be no hint of foul play, but one clue these killings had in common was that all four victims had fought in the Arabian desert. Throughout those fourteen years the Feather Men—so known because "our touch is light"—were never far behind the hit team. Finally, in the autumn of 1990, on a quiet English country lane, the Feather Men achieved a form of justice. Then—for reasons disclosed in these pages—they asked Ranulph Fiennes to reveal their spellbinding story. For many months, The Feather Men has been a number-one best-seller in England. It is a fascinating account of a tenacious double manhunt: the assassins stalking their victims and the Feather Men pursuing the assassins. It is perhaps the ultimate vigilante story, a tale that combines the white-knuckled tension of The Day of the Jackal and the revelatory drama of Spycatcher. And, at its heart, this shocking and intriguing real-life adventure raises the moral question of whether private citizens should take the law into their own hands. "However, I for one," says the author, "am truly glad that the Feather Men exist, or existed. As to my reasons ... the reader will learn in what follows."


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The Feather Men is the riveting story of the efforts by a private British vigilance committee to eliminate a band of coldblooded contract killers. From 1977 to 1990, three hired assassins known as the Clinic tracked down and murdered four former British soldiers, one at a time. Each of the assassinations was carried out in such an ingenious fashion that there would be no h The Feather Men is the riveting story of the efforts by a private British vigilance committee to eliminate a band of coldblooded contract killers. From 1977 to 1990, three hired assassins known as the Clinic tracked down and murdered four former British soldiers, one at a time. Each of the assassinations was carried out in such an ingenious fashion that there would be no hint of foul play, but one clue these killings had in common was that all four victims had fought in the Arabian desert. Throughout those fourteen years the Feather Men—so known because "our touch is light"—were never far behind the hit team. Finally, in the autumn of 1990, on a quiet English country lane, the Feather Men achieved a form of justice. Then—for reasons disclosed in these pages—they asked Ranulph Fiennes to reveal their spellbinding story. For many months, The Feather Men has been a number-one best-seller in England. It is a fascinating account of a tenacious double manhunt: the assassins stalking their victims and the Feather Men pursuing the assassins. It is perhaps the ultimate vigilante story, a tale that combines the white-knuckled tension of The Day of the Jackal and the revelatory drama of Spycatcher. And, at its heart, this shocking and intriguing real-life adventure raises the moral question of whether private citizens should take the law into their own hands. "However, I for one," says the author, "am truly glad that the Feather Men exist, or existed. As to my reasons ... the reader will learn in what follows."

30 review for The Feather Men

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    I became aware of the novel, THE FEATHER MEN by Ranulph Fiennes after watching the action movie version called Killer Elite. At the end of the movie, it was stated that this movie was based on the 1991 non-fiction true story historical novel by author Ranulph Fiennes. Having enjoyed the movie I decided to read the book. The novel is well written and is about assassins and victims. It is about a group of contract assassins, The Clinic, who were hired by an Oman sheikh to carry out revenge killing I became aware of the novel, THE FEATHER MEN by Ranulph Fiennes after watching the action movie version called Killer Elite. At the end of the movie, it was stated that this movie was based on the 1991 non-fiction true story historical novel by author Ranulph Fiennes. Having enjoyed the movie I decided to read the book. The novel is well written and is about assassins and victims. It is about a group of contract assassins, The Clinic, who were hired by an Oman sheikh to carry out revenge killings for the deaths of his four sons during the civil war. The objects for assassination were all British SAS officers. The Feather Men was a secret British vigilante organization protecting the families of former SAS members. The Feather Men determined that the deaths of the four SAS was not so accidental… and spent years hunting down the killers. Sir Ranulph was to be the next victim, and decides to write a novel and preserve the truth. I strongly recommend this book for anyone to read, a good history and action book. I also found that by watching the movie first, I had a better understanding of the depth of this novel.

  2. 5 out of 5

    ^

    At first I struggled to get my bearings in this book. Once I’d grasped the plot, I surprised myself in realising that I had actually begun to rather enjoy it; that is if a reader, who in this situation is essentially a voyeur, can actually claim to be favorably interested in seedy sex, brutal violence and carefully calculated cold blooded killing. Not my usual fare, I must admit. By three-quarters through there was no way that I could have laid this book down unfinished. But I continued to quest At first I struggled to get my bearings in this book. Once I’d grasped the plot, I surprised myself in realising that I had actually begun to rather enjoy it; that is if a reader, who in this situation is essentially a voyeur, can actually claim to be favorably interested in seedy sex, brutal violence and carefully calculated cold blooded killing. Not my usual fare, I must admit. By three-quarters through there was no way that I could have laid this book down unfinished. But I continued to question myself, “How much is fact, how much is fiction?” and “Why”? At the end of the book, Fiennes holds up his hands and justifies his use of his background knowledge and experience to ‘paint’ the scenes for which there was no primary (first-hand) source. By then, I agreed with his use of the creative tool. It is interesting to reflect on how such visualisation does improve the flow of the ‘story’. It certainly makes it clear what a good film this book could make A film was made. I have not seen it. Content such as http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic... makes me wonder if I’d rather not see this book transferred to screen. I do regret that I read this book either side of November 11th , Armistice Day) , which actually fell on Remembrance Sunday this year. Psychologically that was a mistake. Reality hurts. But, somehow, the uncertainty bred of where the boundary between reality and unreality lies, can, especially at a certain time of year, feel quite sickeningly worse.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Orlok

    I found this book a slog to get through, and kept checking the percentage progress in the hopes of seeing it leap forward. I only persevered because it was part of a reading challenge so was determined to see it through. This was partly due to the writing style which I found flat and often uninteresting, and partly due to the fact that it didn't seem to know if it was a thriller or a non-fiction retelling of actual events. It was written like a non-fiction work (every acronym or slightly unusual I found this book a slog to get through, and kept checking the percentage progress in the hopes of seeing it leap forward. I only persevered because it was part of a reading challenge so was determined to see it through. This was partly due to the writing style which I found flat and often uninteresting, and partly due to the fact that it didn't seem to know if it was a thriller or a non-fiction retelling of actual events. It was written like a non-fiction work (every acronym or slightly unusual word was then explained in brackets, frequently quite unnecessarily), and the "exciting" scenes were told in a completely matter-of-fact way, losing any sense of tension. The time-line also jumped all over the place, and between sets of characters, without warning and sometimes almost in the middle of a paragraph, so it took time to realise that the scene had changed. All that aside, it was well researched, and the background information was interesting at times. If the story is a true one, and clearly elements of it are based on fact, then it should have been told that way. I know I would have enjoyed it far more had I not been second-guessing all the way through whether it was supposed to be a thriller or a retelling of a true story.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Yulia

    I'm amazed this hasn't been made into a movie. What a suspenseful, complex, and compassionate real-life story this is, a gem of a book. For better or worse, I almost never read a book without finding out what it's about, but I do wish I hadn't read the foreword until I'd gotten into the story. Really, it seems misplaced at the beginning. It would have been enough to know "The Feather Men" chronicles the systematic murder by a team of technically savvy contract killers of several British SAS men I'm amazed this hasn't been made into a movie. What a suspenseful, complex, and compassionate real-life story this is, a gem of a book. For better or worse, I almost never read a book without finding out what it's about, but I do wish I hadn't read the foreword until I'd gotten into the story. Really, it seems misplaced at the beginning. It would have been enough to know "The Feather Men" chronicles the systematic murder by a team of technically savvy contract killers of several British SAS men who'd all been stationed in Oman, while a British vigilante group associated with the SAS tracks the killers and tries to stop them before they catch their targets. A thoughtful look at honor, revenge, duty, and motive. There were several times I wondered what Truman Capote would have done had he been presented this story to tell, but the basic fact is, Capote would never have found himself in the position this author did. And Fiennes did succeed in making me empathize with individuals I never thought I could have.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    This is allegedly a true-life account of a group of contract assassins (The Clinic) who were hired by an Omani shiekh to carry out revenge killings for the deaths of his four sons during Oman's civil war against Marxist rebels. The targets for assassination end up all being British SAS officers who were "seconded" to the Sultan's army during the war. Now supposedly there was a secret British vigilante organization (the "Feather Men") looking out for the health, welfare and families of former SAS This is allegedly a true-life account of a group of contract assassins (The Clinic) who were hired by an Omani shiekh to carry out revenge killings for the deaths of his four sons during Oman's civil war against Marxist rebels. The targets for assassination end up all being British SAS officers who were "seconded" to the Sultan's army during the war. Now supposedly there was a secret British vigilante organization (the "Feather Men") looking out for the health, welfare and families of former SAS members. The Feather Men somehow grok that the accidental deaths of four SAS are not so accidental and spend ten years hunting down the killers, killing two and nabbing the ringleader during his attempt on the author's life. Do I sound skeptical? Only about the true-life part. The final part comes up with a very convenient explanation as to why there's no real documentation for any of these events and how Fiennes theoretically knew such intimate life details about the head of The Clinic. There are copious, indeed sometimes overly technical, details about how the assassinations were carried out (at least one helicopter and one auto was sabotaged) - clearly some research was done. Fiennes is a respected writer and adventurerI'd shelve this in docu-fiction - truth mixed with extravagant imagination and embellishment. Enjoy it as a thriller, but take it with a grain of salt.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rank1n77

    My dad recommended this book to me & said I would not be disappointed. It wasn't until I watched Killer Elite & found out the movie was based on this book that I decided to read it. My dad was right it was a excellent read & I wasn't disappointed. The only downside being I wish I read the book b4 I watched the movie. Strong 4 stars & hard to believe that it's based on True Events. My dad recommended this book to me & said I would not be disappointed. It wasn't until I watched Killer Elite & found out the movie was based on this book that I decided to read it. My dad was right it was a excellent read & I wasn't disappointed. The only downside being I wish I read the book b4 I watched the movie. Strong 4 stars & hard to believe that it's based on True Events.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Shipway

    Whether its true or not its a cracking story. Now I'll have to see the film( Killer Elite) and see if its as good.

  8. 5 out of 5

    David

    If it is as non-fiction as it claims to be, this book renders 007’s evil at the Grade school level, and even limits Le Carre to early post-secondary stuff. What Fiennes somehow manages to do is humanize everyone, even when there is no doubt which side he is on. And one of the “good guys” is D Hallett ... have to like that ...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne Auckerman

    Best book I have read in a long time and it is a true story, with a lot of it set in Oman, a country I have never thought very much about. However, Jo is arranging a trip to Oman in October that I have told her I would go on. I found this book in a NY Times book review section on mysteries and did not know it was about Oman, when I started to read it. The review said it was a bestseller in England for years. Interesting how things start to intersect.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    I enjoyed this book. It is kind of scary to think that these people are out there. I really like how we got so much more back story than in the movie. I came to my own conclusion that I don't feel you can have a retribution killing for something that happens in a war or military encounter, especially when the person being hunted down and killed later wasn't even the aggressor. I also liked how the past and 'current' were blended easily to tell the story.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Karl Wiggins

    Killer Elite is definitely the best book I’ve read in the last 12 months One of the overriding philosophies of the book Shantaram is that it is possible to do the ‘wrong’ thing for the ‘right’ reasons. And not only is it ‘possible’ but it is sometimes ‘necessary’ to do the wrong thing for the right reasons. The important thing is to be sure that the reasons are right, and that we admit the wrong, and that we don’t lie to ourselves. Well in Killer Elite even Chairman Mao is quoted, “In given condit Killer Elite is definitely the best book I’ve read in the last 12 months One of the overriding philosophies of the book Shantaram is that it is possible to do the ‘wrong’ thing for the ‘right’ reasons. And not only is it ‘possible’ but it is sometimes ‘necessary’ to do the wrong thing for the right reasons. The important thing is to be sure that the reasons are right, and that we admit the wrong, and that we don’t lie to ourselves. Well in Killer Elite even Chairman Mao is quoted, “In given conditions a bad thing can lead to good results.” There’s no doubt that, “The very decency of democracy hinders the prevention of numerous crimes,” and that as the law forbids the forces of the law to take them out, so the killers (I.e. drug dealers, muggers and other predators), will strike again. 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’d therefore like to think that there are a group of people who believe that, “When the police cannot provide adequate protection (because criminals are more sophisticated at finding loopholes in the law) then more appropriate methods have to be found.” You might call them vigilantes, yet they harm no one except characters who would continue to harm others, and if you denounce their existence you’re not stopping to think of the lives they’ve saved or the fears they’ve eased. Call them vigilantes if you like, but I’d like to think their conscience is clear. This book discusses mostly a group of ex-Special Forces and SAS soldiers who are being targeted and killed by professional assassins. I don’t want to throw any spoilers into this review, just that I’d like to believe the whole book is true. 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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey

    The author, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, has written an explosive account of a very experienced and efficient contract killer company, called The Clinic, headed by Daniel de Villiers. Eventually, it was hired by an Arab sheikh to avenge the deaths of his four sons. Such an action is known as a thraa'r, though seldom acted upon in the Arab world. The sons of the sheikh had been military combatants in various efforts in Oman and as such were killed in military combat by British SAS (Special Air Services) m The author, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, has written an explosive account of a very experienced and efficient contract killer company, called The Clinic, headed by Daniel de Villiers. Eventually, it was hired by an Arab sheikh to avenge the deaths of his four sons. Such an action is known as a thraa'r, though seldom acted upon in the Arab world. The sons of the sheikh had been military combatants in various efforts in Oman and as such were killed in military combat by British SAS (Special Air Services) men. The Clinic operated at an elite professional level due to their leader's abilities. De Villiers had been a former U.S. Marine. The group would be paid one million dollars for each confirmed revenge killing, which included video recording of the target being accused of the death of the appropriate son. Furthermore, the death had to look like an accident or from natural causes, which The Clinic excelled in doing. Unfolding over 20 years, the killers are very successful despite the efforts of a private overwatch group known as The Feather Men, a secret group that tried to protect current and former SAS men. At times, they succeeded, but in the endeavor related here they had little. This is a terrific read, and it's real. Years ago, I was lucky enough to meet and talk with the author. Also, this book was the basis for the movie Killer Elite.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    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 had thought it would be a military history type of book and was surprised that it was a "fact or fiction" thriller/ actual event novel. I found it hard going at times because the pace even of the action scenes were a little flat. I realise that the author may have chosen to write it that way so that it comes across as more factual as with the details of driving r 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 had thought it would be a military history type of book and was surprised that it was a "fact or fiction" thriller/ actual event novel. I found it hard going at times because the pace even of the action scenes were a little flat. I realise that the author may have chosen to write it that way so that it comes across as more factual as with the details of driving routes and planning and preparations for each "killing". My main problem though were the sudden jumps in the timeline, sometimes without notice which made me have to stop and consider weather I was now reading about the killers to the Feathermen trying to stop them. At times I wished the progress percentage on the Kindle would jump forward in time too!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mark Bullock

    It's a true story, but the way the author told the story made for a slowly paced narrative and even a bit confusing from time to time. Lots of detail was left in that didn't really need to be there. The story is intriguing - hired killers getting revenge for an Arab sheik by performing hits on the British SAS men who killed one or another of the sheik's 4 sons. It was even made into a movie - The Killer Elite - but that movie veered far away from this narrative. All in all a disappointment.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I enjoyed the movie adaptation and as the book had a controversial history I was interested in reading it. The book is quiet a good read. It is almost like two stories in one as equal time is invested in getting to know the main characters on both sides. Whether or not the story is fact, fiction, or somewhere in-between, it is an engaging story of two groups chasing each other over the years on the fringes of the law.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Colin Slider

    been a bit slack the last month and have fallen behind in my reading. finally finished this and have to admit I enjoyed it. How much is real and how much is fictional I don't know

  17. 4 out of 5

    Craig Barraclough

    A good read been meaning to read this for. a while. Flows well with interesting middle eastern commentary

  18. 5 out of 5

    robert

    Bought in a charity shop for 50p, so good I read it twice. Amazing insight into a different world of surveillance, stealth and daring. Robert did not expect the ending. Brilliant

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tom Hahn

    Absolutely amazing! Really scary, but I couldn't put it down

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Mike read: Hard to like the Feather Men themselves, but interesting historically.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Frank

    I just re-read this real-life thriller (March 2008) to my girlfriend (and goodreads 'friend' lol) Yulia. We share several books this way and this one was truly like picking up an old friend. This book was widely read in Great Britain (Sir Ranulph Feinnes) homeland. As you may or may not know he's a nut-job "this'll be the death of me surely" adventurer who's been to both poles, attempted to scale Everest, competed in 7 straight marathons around the globe for charity and served Her Majesty as an I just re-read this real-life thriller (March 2008) to my girlfriend (and goodreads 'friend' lol) Yulia. We share several books this way and this one was truly like picking up an old friend. This book was widely read in Great Britain (Sir Ranulph Feinnes) homeland. As you may or may not know he's a nut-job "this'll be the death of me surely" adventurer who's been to both poles, attempted to scale Everest, competed in 7 straight marathons around the globe for charity and served Her Majesty as an SAS (special forces) hero. Oh yeah, on one of his trips to the Antarctic he had to pull his sled out of the ice water and refused to have his badly frostbitten fingers amputated, choosing to hit them with a band saw at home later, after he came to terms with the fact that the necrotic flesh wasn't coming back. Anyway... I guess there's some question as to the authenticity of the book after my online research, but to me it matters not a bit. What a great read... perhaps a bit choppy in parts but a strong non-fiction narrative blending tremendous guile and bravado with some fairly strong literary chops and beaucoup de velocite... I have no frickin' idea if that's pig latin let alone properly spelled French. I'm amazed this book hasn't been turned into a movie since its publication in 91 GB and 92 US. I remember grabbing it off the "take me home" shelves of some crap publisher I was temping for - reading Beverly Cleary's mail and recommending the particularly heart-felt ones to send on to her. Which is odd really because she's more than a bit prickly regarding people in general... especially kids, for a children's book legend. She liked me because I didn't kiss her royalty ass me thinks. Speaking of royalty, she could pass for the Queen's doppelganger. Back to the bloody book. Read it, enjoy it. Vigilantes chasing assassins who kill through nearly undetectable means - what more could you want?

  22. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    Alleged true story of a secret unit within the British military operating above the law, and their clashes with a squad of hitmen hired by an Omani aristocrat to avenge his sons' deaths at the hand of the SAS in the Omani civil war. It's quite controversial in its home country, not in the least because not just the author but his main sources have changed their stories several times. There are also no hard evidence for such an unit's existence, and if there was there'd be quite a few political s Alleged true story of a secret unit within the British military operating above the law, and their clashes with a squad of hitmen hired by an Omani aristocrat to avenge his sons' deaths at the hand of the SAS in the Omani civil war. It's quite controversial in its home country, not in the least because not just the author but his main sources have changed their stories several times. There are also no hard evidence for such an unit's existence, and if there was there'd be quite a few political scandals in the making! The author has clearly done his homework on every relevant field of study, and while his prose style is not very good it is a rather exciting read from which I learned quite a bit on everything from aerospace technology over the nuts-and-bolts of British military operations to Middle Eastern history. It's easy to understand why the book was made into a movie a couple years ago. That said, I'm far from convinced that the bulk of the events described are actually true. Not only are there even to this day no hard evidence the Feather Men ever existed, but many of the secret operations are described down to a detail that the author could not possibly have known for certain. Likewise, the cover-ups described are just a bit too convenient to be true. The hows-and-why of both the contract killers' and the Feather Men's missions are also often decidedly far-fetched, requiring a level of detailed planning I have a hard time could be pulled off this well without leaving a trail of indicting paperwork. It wouldn't surprise me if a unit like the Feathermen had actually existed or even still does (the Mossad has similar units that officially don't exist but every politically literate Israeli knows do), it's just that this book is at least a third fiction and I find passing off a work like this off as real somewhat ethically questionable.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Erik Willén

    The Feather men by Ranulph Fiennes - also titled Killer Elite in a new publication - is a very well written book that are based on historic accounts, according to the author. The historic accounts throughout the book are most likely true - and I doubt any government will ever admit to any of them. The story is about assassins, victims, and vigilantism. All three parts are very well presented. Personally I would have liked a more in depth on the characterization, however, given the nature of the The Feather men by Ranulph Fiennes - also titled Killer Elite in a new publication - is a very well written book that are based on historic accounts, according to the author. The historic accounts throughout the book are most likely true - and I doubt any government will ever admit to any of them. The story is about assassins, victims, and vigilantism. All three parts are very well presented. Personally I would have liked a more in depth on the characterization, however, given the nature of the military background on the mere part of the characters I understand why much information is held back. Many times when I read this story I felt that the author wanted to write more, but was "held" back. I strongly recommend this book for anyone to read, young as well as old because it has everything a good history and action book should have, villains, heroes etc. It might also become an eye opener for some more liberal, left wing, fanatic, totalitarian thinkers - whom gladly like to resolve their losing argument with violence or other illegal actions - that our modern society under the current globalization will not tolerate anarchistic behavior through any type of violence, from terror attacks to computer hacking etc.. Eventually some citizen will not only say enough is enough, but they will actually do something...while our beloved politicians have forgotten what and when to do anything, or more simply, are a bit occupied while hustling for votes like a simple street hooker - no punt intended towards the hookers... (The film Killer Elite is a very good movie but the story is different on several accounts compared to the book.)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brian Wade

    First learned of this book from my brother & his fiance. Apparently this book was published and then quickly discontinued due to classified information it contained. (That's what I've been told.) As a result some earlier editions have increased in value and the book has become a rarity. Not sure how this works since the book has since been re-published under a different title, "Killer Elite". In any case, I came across this book at one of my favorite used book stores and picked it up at bargain First learned of this book from my brother & his fiance. Apparently this book was published and then quickly discontinued due to classified information it contained. (That's what I've been told.) As a result some earlier editions have increased in value and the book has become a rarity. Not sure how this works since the book has since been re-published under a different title, "Killer Elite". In any case, I came across this book at one of my favorite used book stores and picked it up at bargain price of $2.50. (I believe my brother's fiance purchased it on ebay for $50) The Feather Men is non-fiction. The Feather Men is non-fiction. The Feather Men is non-fiction. I found myself repeating this throughout the course of the book. Partly because the book reads like fiction & I had to keep reminding myself these stories/histories really happened! This is not a fiction-thriller. If you're comparing TFM to a David Baldacci/Tom Clancy (sp?) thriller then you're in for disappointment. TFM is non-fiction - don't start this book expecting a blockbuster, mission impossible, clean ending type of finish. However, this story is amazing BECAUSE it's non-fiction. It's a pretty incredible story. Would make a great movie. This was a 3-4 star through the first 1/2 of the book. Slowly became a 2star disappointment until Fiennes comes full circle at the end of the book - ended as a 3star rating in my opinion.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn

    This is the first of Sir Ranulph Fiennes books I have ever read. He has about 10 out. He is an excellent writer...and wrote this one more or less under pressure...with an 18 month timeline. This is a true story. My attention was brought to this book after we watched the movie "Killer Elite." The movie was based on this book. The book is about the murder for hire by Amr bin Issa, sheikh of the Bait Jarboat tribe in Dhofar. Three men work together (the mercenaries), called the Clinic. They are int This is the first of Sir Ranulph Fiennes books I have ever read. He has about 10 out. He is an excellent writer...and wrote this one more or less under pressure...with an 18 month timeline. This is a true story. My attention was brought to this book after we watched the movie "Killer Elite." The movie was based on this book. The book is about the murder for hire by Amr bin Issa, sheikh of the Bait Jarboat tribe in Dhofar. Three men work together (the mercenaries), called the Clinic. They are international. The Feathermen are ex-military UK fellows working in clandestine ways to do away with violence and horror in the UK that the police can't quite handle. When The Clinic starts working to eliminate the 4 men the shiek has asked them to eliminate, The Feathermen become suspicious. In the end...Sir Ranulph was to be victim number 5...and The Feathermen had finally pulled the pieces together enough to come to his rescue at the last moment. He agreed to write this book as one of The Feathermen had gotten sick and it was affecting his mind...and he was going to write a book that was totally contrary to what this book is about. The Feathermen wanted Sir Ranulph to write this to preserve the truth. Pretty intense, but very interesting and enlightening. One can hardly believe what really goes on in the world today when we are so sheltered.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    This book is certainly well thought out and very well written indeed. The plot is rich and contains enough twists and turns to hold the readers attention. My only gripe is the controversy which has surrounded this book since its original publication 20 years ago. Mr. Fiennes "clever" manipulation of the reader regarding whether it is fiction or not adds absolutely diddly squat to their experience of the book and I can only put my cynical hat on and imagine that he is trying to coin it at the exp This book is certainly well thought out and very well written indeed. The plot is rich and contains enough twists and turns to hold the readers attention. My only gripe is the controversy which has surrounded this book since its original publication 20 years ago. Mr. Fiennes "clever" manipulation of the reader regarding whether it is fiction or not adds absolutely diddly squat to their experience of the book and I can only put my cynical hat on and imagine that he is trying to coin it at the expense of others deaths. If indeed this is the case, then Mr. Fiennes is amoral in the extreme and this would easily negate any achievements the former member of the SAS and national hero has made in terms of exploration and endurance. I'm afraid I suspect that this is indeed the case, and that consequently Fiennes needs to ask his conscience a few questions. Moving aside the moral discussion on the nature of the book, it is a cracking read and it is a deep shame that Fiennes has not buried the hatchet on this debate in order that his book can be enjoyed for what it is; either fact or fiction.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sam B

    I would have rated this book 4 stars, but had to deduct one for an issue that is actually sadly rather indicative of culture as a whole, but blatantly manifested itself here. The book was moving along, everything fine, when the author felt compelled for whatever terrible reason to include a completely unnecessary, gratuitous sex scene (with several disturbing implications at that). Did this add anything to the story? Not in the slightest - it was a waste of pages and my time as a reader. And fur I would have rated this book 4 stars, but had to deduct one for an issue that is actually sadly rather indicative of culture as a whole, but blatantly manifested itself here. The book was moving along, everything fine, when the author felt compelled for whatever terrible reason to include a completely unnecessary, gratuitous sex scene (with several disturbing implications at that). Did this add anything to the story? Not in the slightest - it was a waste of pages and my time as a reader. And furthermore, since the character who took part died before the end of the story, there is absolutely no way to verify any of the explicit details shared in that chapter. So essentially the author, just because, worked his own little erotic fiction into the book. Really? Other than that, meticulously well written and told. The story got bogged down a little at places when the author went into extreme detail on topics that could have easily sufficed with a paragraph or two instead of two or more pages, but it really was incredibly entertaining. And the ending places a fantastic new light on the entire book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Silverblue

    Didn't like this book at all...it is written by ex-SAS contract killer, who actually killed people for money, and was about to be eliminated for his crime but was all along being protected by shadowy vigilante group. In the process of making inquiry about the authenticity of the id of the killer (the author), the vigilante group was alerted of who was after him. Basically, the shadowy vigilante group proposed to write the story themselves so the story is manipulated to their liking as they disco Didn't like this book at all...it is written by ex-SAS contract killer, who actually killed people for money, and was about to be eliminated for his crime but was all along being protected by shadowy vigilante group. In the process of making inquiry about the authenticity of the id of the killer (the author), the vigilante group was alerted of who was after him. Basically, the shadowy vigilante group proposed to write the story themselves so the story is manipulated to their liking as they discover another person was preparing to expose the group. The decision seems mainly to minimize the damage and total exposure by the other writer, as well as have a total control of the story told/exposed. The result is this book. Seems like the story told seems all manipulated to protect the group or they wouldn't be afraid of what another person would write. So, in my opinion, most of what the author says should be taken with grain of salt. With such a dirty background, how in hell did the writer get to be made "sir"??

  29. 4 out of 5

    Evan

    I read this book after watching the movie "Killer Elite." The book I read is no longer called "Feather Men." I must say, I enjoyed the movie more than the book. The writing style was very difficult to follow. He switched between characters mid-paragraph. I reread many sentences and paragraphs trying to figure out what was happening. Despite the writing style, the book was quite good. And for the most part, the movie was very close to what happened in the book. I do like how the ending was writte I read this book after watching the movie "Killer Elite." The book I read is no longer called "Feather Men." I must say, I enjoyed the movie more than the book. The writing style was very difficult to follow. He switched between characters mid-paragraph. I reread many sentences and paragraphs trying to figure out what was happening. Despite the writing style, the book was quite good. And for the most part, the movie was very close to what happened in the book. I do like how the ending was written in the novel. An interesting plot development that I did not anticipate. I think I would still recommend the movie over the novel though. I had to work to finish this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Fraser

    I don't often read a lot of 'fiction' and here Fiennes plays with the idea that this book contains only an element of fiction to fill in the 'gaps' in an otherwise true story. I wouldn't want to argue with the man, so I went along with it all, and if you do, this is as good a 'thriller' as your likely to read in a long time. I had to order a second hand copy as the book was out of print. I don't know why it wouldn't be more popular, as its as good as anything in this 'genre' that I have come acros I don't often read a lot of 'fiction' and here Fiennes plays with the idea that this book contains only an element of fiction to fill in the 'gaps' in an otherwise true story. I wouldn't want to argue with the man, so I went along with it all, and if you do, this is as good a 'thriller' as your likely to read in a long time. I had to order a second hand copy as the book was out of print. I don't know why it wouldn't be more popular, as its as good as anything in this 'genre' that I have come across.

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