-> ''"Knocking off a bank or an armoured truck is merely crude. Knocking off an entire republic has, I feel, a certain style."''
-->--'''Sir James Manson'''

''The Dogs of War'' is a 1974 novel by Frederick Forsyth. It follows [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Sir James Manson]], who discovers a large amount of valuable platinum in Zangaro, a PeoplesRepublicOfTyranny, and endeavors to obtain it via a discreet coup d'état. For this end, he employs Cat Shannon, a mercenary, who is given a hundred days to gather his team and make the strike. The rest of the book follows Shannon as he gathers his old friends and prepares for it.

This book is a famous example of ShownTheirWork; Forsyth spent time covering the Nigerian Civil War, and drew heavily from his experiences there. Several people have even tried to carry out coups in real life based on the methods presented within. Forsyth actually pretended to be overthrowing the government of New Guinea based on the very methods he later put into the book, although it is not quite clear whether he would have actually succeeded.

Made into a 1980 movie starring ChristopherWalken.
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!!This book contains examples of:

* AffablyEvil: Sir James Manson.
* AnonymousRinger: Several: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigerian_Civil_War Biafra]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chukwuemeka_Odumegwu_Ojukwu 'General' Ojukwu]] and even [[AuthorAvatar Forsyth himself]] all play major roles in the plot without ever being explicitly named.
* ApatheticCitizens: In TheMovie the reporter gripes about how everyone watching his documentary on Zagaroo switched to the Miss Universe contest as soon as they saw there was nothing interesting on.
* ArmsDealer: Mostly of the legal variety, except for the one selling Schmeissers.
* AssassinOutclassin: Roux's Hitman proves ineffectual against Langarotti
* {{Badass}}: Cat Shannon and his entire crew of mercenaries.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: Shannon gives the republic as a safe haven for immigrant workers and ends up reforming the government, but both Marc Vlaminck and Jan Dupree are dead, Semmler is killed later on in an accident with explosives, and Shannon commits suicide, though in his case he was killing himself because he had terminal cancer.]]
* TheBigGuy: Marc Vlaminck.
* BorderCrossing: Smuggling the Schmeissers over the French border.
* {{Bulungi}}: Zangaro.
* TheCaligula: President Kimba.
* CrazyPrepared: The mercenaries, as one small error in smuggling arms would give them life in prison.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: Sir James Manson and his underlings.
* DeadlyDistantFinale
* DecapitationPresentation: A rival mercenary puts out a contract on Shannon. One day Roux opens his mailbox and finds the hitman's head in there.
* DumbMuscle: What Shannon's employers make the mistake of thinking he is.
* FriendlyFire: How [[spoiler: Dupree]] meets his end, not hearing an ally's warning he accidentally runs into a grenade's blast radius
* GrenadeLauncher / RevolversAreJustBetter: TheMovie had "XM-18's" (actually [[CoolGuns/RocketsMissilesAndGrenadeLaunchers Manville revolver launchers]]) used for the climatic attack.
* HoneyTrap: Shannon sleeps with Manson's not-so-innocent daughter to get information on her father regarding what he's after in Zangaro. Somewhat subverted from the way this trope is normally played in that she never realizes how she was being used, and Shannon breaks up with her gently and respectfully when the time comes.
* InfractionDistraction: Shannon plants a ''Playboy'' magazine and a bottle of whiskey in his luggage for the customs official to 'confiscate' so he doesn't look too closely at anything else he is bringing in
* IronicNickname: "Tiny" Marc Vlaminck.
* IronicEcho: From TheMovie -- Shannon is given a local guide who apparently can't speak English. After leading him on a WildGooseChase he says, "In my jungle you'd be just another asshole!" After being beaten up by the secret police, Shannon is limping out of the airport when he encounters the 'guide' again, who hands him his passport while saying with a grin, "Can't leave Zangaroo without your passport, asshole." Shannon gets his payback during the final attack however, when this asshole has the misfortune to be in Kimba's palace.
* KnifeNut: Langarotti, who is always sharpening his blade.
* [[spoiler: KillEmAll: The only member of the group left alive at the end is Langarotti ...[[NeverFoundtheBody maybe]]. ]]
* LondonGangster: Locke, Simon's Bodyguard in Africa is mentioned to have been an enforcer for the Krays [[spoiler: He makes the mistake of thinking an East London Hard Man would be a match for a trained merc]]
* ManlyTears: [[spoiler:Upon Jan Dupree's death, by his aide]].
* MutualKill: Kimba's KGB bodyguard and [[spoiler: Tiny Marc]]
* NoOneGetsLeftBehind: In TheMovie the mercenaries insist on taking one of their dead comrades with them on the last plane out of the country.
* OutGambitted: [[spoiler:Manson and his cronies]].
* PrivateMilitaryContractors: Shannon and company.
* PeoplesRepublicOfTyranny: Zangaro, though later changed.
* ProperlyParanoid: The mercenaries about smuggling arms, because one error will get them all life in prison.
* RivalTurnedEvil / DrivenByEnvy: [[FrenchJerk Roux]] and Shannon.
* ShownTheirWork: The entire book.
* StockQuotes / LiteraryAllusionTitle
* RedshirtArmy: Kimba's forces, mostly due to not having workable guns -- Kimba is more afraid of a coup than an invasion. His army is merely a thuggish show of force meant to keep order.
* SecretlyDying: [[spoiler:Mercenary leader "Cat" Shannon has been diagnosed with cancer, which motivates his betrayal of his employers as a final act of virtue]].
* SteelEardrums: Averted. The gun and mortar fire deafens [[spoiler: Dupree]] so he doesn't hear a warning about a grenade.
* ThereAreNoGoodExecutives
* ThoseWackyNazis: Semmler was in the Hitler Youth and the Belgian the group buys the MP-40s from was an SS cook.
* WarForFunAndProfit
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