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4.01 / 5

"Avenger" Summary

By Frederick Forsyth

fiction | 352 pages | Published in 2003

Attorney Calvin Dexter hangs his shingle in a quiet New Jersey town, has a reasonably successful practice, and takes the hills strong while triathalon training. But Dexter is no ordinary man.The summer before he goes to college, Ricky Colenso travels to Bosnia to volunteer as an aid worker. A few weeks later, he disappears and is never heard from again. A family grieves and is offered little hope--in the fog of that horrible time and place, the killer, too, has vanished.Or so it would seem. For in a world that has forgotten right and wrong, there are few like Cal Dexter who can settle the score. And so, years later, a worldwide chase is on and Dexter begins to draw a net around the killer. But this time CIA agent Paul Devereux must find a way to stop Dexter before his quest for vengeance throws the world into chaos.A heart-stopping novel of murder and mystery, double-cross and triple-cross, old loyalties and new hatreds, Avenger has all of Frederick Forsyth's page-turning trademarks.


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A retired British secret agent seeks justice for the murder of his girlfriend by infiltrating a terrorist organization.


In "Avenger" by Frederick Forsyth, readers are taken on a thrilling journey of revenge and justice. This gripping novel follows the story of Calvin Dexter, a former Vietnam War veteran turned lawyer and avenger. With Forsyth's masterful storytelling and attention to detail, "Avenger" is a compelling tale that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.

Brief Synopsis

"Avenger" is primarily set in the United States, with some scenes taking place in Vietnam. The novel opens with the brutal murder of Cal Dexter's sister and her husband by a notorious hitman named Ivan. Fueled by grief and a thirst for vengeance, Dexter embarks on a mission to track down Ivan and bring him to justice.

As a lawyer, Dexter has a unique skill set that allows him to navigate the legal system while also taking matters into his own hands. Throughout the novel, he encounters various obstacles and adversaries, including corrupt politicians, drug lords, and even the CIA. Dexter's relentless pursuit of justice takes him from the streets of New York City to the jungles of Vietnam, as he follows the trail of clues that will lead him to Ivan.

Main Characters

Calvin DexterFormer Vietnam War veteran turned lawyer and avenger. Dexter is determined to avenge the murder of his sister and her husband and bring the hitman responsible to justice.
IvanNotorious hitman and the main target of Dexter's quest for vengeance. Ivan is a cold-blooded killer who will stop at nothing to complete his assignments.
JulieDexter's sister, who is tragically murdered at the beginning of the novel. Her death sets the events of the story in motion.
JakeDexter's loyal friend and former Marine who assists him in his quest for justice. Jake provides valuable support and expertise throughout the novel.

Summary of Story Points

Chapter 1-5: The Tragic Event

The novel begins with the brutal murder of Dexter's sister and her husband by Ivan, a ruthless hitman. Dexter is devastated by the loss and vows to avenge their deaths.

Chapter 6-10: Uncovering Clues

Dexter starts his investigation by gathering information about Ivan. He reaches out to his contacts in the military and law enforcement to uncover leads that will help him track down the hitman.

Chapter 11-15: The Pursuit Begins

Armed with new information, Dexter sets off on his quest to find Ivan. He travels to various locations and encounters dangerous individuals who may have connections to Ivan.

Chapter 16-20: Facing Obstacles

Dexter faces numerous obstacles along the way, including corrupt officials and powerful criminals who are determined to protect Ivan. He must outsmart his adversaries and stay one step ahead to continue his pursuit.

Chapter 21-25: Showdown in Vietnam

The trail leads Dexter to Vietnam, where he must confront the ghosts of his past and navigate the treacherous jungle. In the heart of the jungle, Dexter finally comes face to face with Ivan.

Chapter 26-30: The Final Battle

In a gripping climax, Dexter engages in a deadly battle with Ivan. The two skilled adversaries fight for their lives, and the outcome will determine Dexter's ultimate quest for justice.

Main Events

  1. The murder of Dexter's sister and her husband sets the events of the novel in motion.
  2. Dexter begins his investigation, gathering clues and reaching out to contacts for information.
  3. Dexter encounters various obstacles and adversaries along the way, including corrupt officials and criminals.
  4. Dexter's pursuit leads him to Vietnam, where he confronts the ghosts of his past.
  5. Dexter engages in a final battle with Ivan, the hitman responsible for his sister's murder.

Themes and Insights

"Avenger" explores themes of justice, revenge, and the consequences of violence. The novel delves into the moral complexities of seeking vengeance and the lengths one is willing to go to obtain justice. Forsyth also sheds light on the dark underbelly of society, exposing corruption and the power dynamics that protect criminals.

Through Dexter's journey, readers gain insights into the psychological toll of war and the lasting impacts it can have on individuals. The novel also highlights the resilience and determination of those seeking justice, even in the face of overwhelming obstacles.

Reader's Takeaway

"Avenger" is a pulse-pounding thriller that captivates readers from start to finish. Forsyth's meticulous attention to detail and intricate plot twists keep readers guessing and engaged throughout the novel. The story raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of justice and revenge, leaving readers to ponder the moral complexities long after turning the final page.


"Avenger" by Frederick Forsyth is a gripping novel that combines thrilling action with compelling characters. Dexter's relentless pursuit of justice and his quest for revenge will keep readers hooked until the very end. With its exploration of themes such as justice, revenge, and the consequences of violence, "Avenger" is a thought-provoking and captivating read. Forsyth's masterful storytelling and ability to create tension make "Avenger" a must-read for fans of the thriller genre.

Avenger FAQ

  1. What is the genre of the book 'Avenger'?

    The book 'Avenger' is a thriller novel.

  2. Who is the author of 'Avenger'?

    The author of 'Avenger' is Frederick Forsyth.

  3. What is the main storyline of 'Avenger'?

    The main storyline of 'Avenger' revolves around a former Vietnam War pilot who seeks revenge against those responsible for the death of his family.

  4. Is 'Avenger' based on true events?

    No, 'Avenger' is a work of fiction and not based on true events.

  5. Are there any sequels or prequels to 'Avenger'?

    No, 'Avenger' is a standalone novel and does not have any sequels or prequels.

  6. Is 'Avenger' suitable for young readers?

    The book 'Avenger' contains mature themes and violence, so it may not be suitable for young readers.

  7. What is the writing style of Frederick Forsyth in 'Avenger'?

    Frederick Forsyth is known for his detailed and research-based writing style, which is also reflected in 'Avenger'.

  8. Is the protagonist in 'Avenger' a relatable character?

    Many readers find the protagonist in 'Avenger' relatable due to his quest for justice and revenge.

  9. Are there any film adaptations of 'Avenger'?

    As of now, there are no film adaptations of 'Avenger'.

  10. Where can I purchase a copy of 'Avenger'?

    You can purchase a copy of 'Avenger' from various online retailers or local bookstores.