In a remote corner of Zangaro, a small republic in Africa, lies Crystal Mountain. At certain times of the day the mountain emits a strange glow. Only Sir James Manson knows why. The mountain contains ten billion dollar's worth of the world's most valuable mineral, platinum. "Not only exciting but truly surprising"--Atlantic. Now the only question is, how to get hold of it. Sir James knows how. Invade the country with a band of savage, cold-blooded mercenaries. Topple the government and set up a puppet dictatorship. Unleash the dogs of war.
In researching The Dogs of War story, Frederick Forsyth pretended to be preparing a coup d'état against Equatorial Guinea on behalf of the Igbo people whom he passionately supports; he was told it would cost 240,000 U.S. dollars.
Five years after the 1973 attempted coup d'état, Forsyth's research was subject of a feature story in the London Times, in 1978, that posited he had commissioned the operation in earnest, many people believed he was planning a real coup d'état in Equatorial Guinea. Later, Forsyth said that arms dealers were the most frightening people he had ever met; the mercenaries Mike Hoare, Bob Denard, and "Black Jack" Schramme are all name-checked in the novel.
Forsyth's African activities of that time are an extremely controversial subject, and it is difficult to separate fact and fiction, however, as UK National Archives documents released in 2005 disclose, in early 1973 several people in Gibraltar were planning a coup d'état against Equatorial Guinea, in the manner described in The Dogs of War. Spain arrested several mercenaries in the Canary Islands on 23 January 1973, foiling the plot. Although it is difficult to separate what Forsyth pretended to do versus what he might have planned to do, it is now reasonably clear, in view of the released documents, that several people were planning a coup d'état as described by Forsyth, at the time he was researching for his novel.