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Iron Orchid, by Stuart Woods: An analysis

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1425 words Published: 11th Apr 2017

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Iron Orchid


Iron Orchid is fast-paced suspense novel with an ongoing theme of never judging a book by its cover. The novel was written by popular suspense author Stuart Woods. The novel is set up around the Federal Investigation Bureau’s and the Central Intelligence Agency’s methods and modern tactics. A lot of the novels scenes and scenarios are relevant to modern day Orchid Beach, Florida, where the story takes place. The author integrates a lot of real world information, specs, and facts on the FBI, CIA and other topics the novel touches. Iron Orchid is a well-developed novel that keeps the reader connected with the world around him.

Plot Mapping:

The story begins with the protagonist, Teddy Fay, an ex-CIA technology wizard jumping of an exploding plane. Former Chief of Police in Florida, Holly Barker is at the CIA Farm starting her training when she is pulled out of class and put on special assignment to deal with the situation. Teddy Fay is not dead as was thought at the end of Capital Crimes and has resurfaced for revenge. He has decided to go after targets in New York City that the local authorities can’t touch because of diplomatic immunity. His contact inside the CIA, Irene Foster, is still active, and is covering his tracks for him. Holly and her team are sent to New York to work with Lance Armstrong in an attempt to stop Teddy Fay. Now being a master of deception, the CIA fails to apprehend him when he sat next to Holly at the Met Opera. He also loses them at the Opera Music Store, and at Sax 5th Ave while posing as Santa after shooting someone who tried to hurt Holly while Skating in Central Park. This is where the author uses the suspense and action affects effectively weaving them excellently into the storyline. The CIA struggle with the fact that he is doing what they only wish they could, and have a difficult time catching him because of this. When Teddy succeeds in killing a Saudi Prince at the United Nations Plaza, he takes advantage of the opportunity to disappear for good. Teddy plants a fake body in a construction building and blowing it to bits; faking his death, while at the same time taking care of his final target. The sub plot of this novel is Irene Fosters and Teddy Fay’s developing relationship throughout the story. They meet up in the beginning of the book after not seeing each other for a long time. While they meet up in secrete dates where Teddy and her plan their escape to the Philippines, after Teddy has completed his task. Their relationship grows stronger as the book progresses, and when they dip to the Philippines they live happily ever after.

Character Analysis:

Teddy Fay is the protagonist of the Iron Orchid. Teddy is a very meticulous and vigilant character. He shoots for nothing less than perfection, and stops at nothing to complete his work. Throughout the story Teddy realizes that his time for retirement is growing near, he displays more caution and awareness to the world around him as the novel progresses. Teddy’s relationship with Irene grows stronger with the story as well; he even made the decision to take her with him to live together after the task is completed. Teddy’s state of mind is very constant, the reader sees little to no variation in Teddy’s ideas and thinking throughout the story, and shows very little sings of emotion or affection towards any characters of the story other than Irene. Teddy fay is a little something like El Chapo Guzman, both are men on a mission for commission, and nobody seems to be close to putting a stop to them. El Chapo Guzman is the one of the greatest drug lords alive, allusive and dangerous, who else to compare Teddy Fay with than the best? They differences are greater than their similarities, in the sense that Teddy assassinates targets the government would want to take down, and that El Chapo runs an extensive drug trade with the worlds superpowers. Both disappear right in the nick of time, and fake their capture or death when the time is right.

Motifs & Themes:

One of the main ongoing themes of Iron Orchid is appearances can be deceiving. It’s a very effective theme in this story due to the fact that throughout the whole story Teddy has Holly and the rest of the agency clueless as to he is. He uses disguises and different accents with speech to blend in with the diverse population of the city. During the whole wild goose chase Teddy Fay was within arm’s reach of his prosecutors yet never even touched. Another unique theme presented in the book is that good doesn’t always triumph over evil. Teddy Fay, the villain, is victorious in the end and leaves Holly and the rest of the agency in stupidity, while he is relaxing peacefully in the Philippines with his partner in crime Irene Foster. Many of the motifs and themes of the book pertain to social issues and society, and changes the way the readers views the people around them, since you never really know who someone really is on the inside. Many if not all the themes in Iron Orchid can relate to life as we know it in some way or another, they are modern and broad themes leaving the reader able to interpret and apply them to his or her life in their own unique way.

Critique of Author:

Stuart Wood’s only possible purpose for writing Iron Orchid was to keep the reader entertained throughout the entire story. Stuart did a good job of keeping the reader entertained, yet some parts of the book were so vague and boring the reader almost wanted to skip them. Stuart tried persuading the reader to hate diplomats with diplomatic immunity. He seemed to want the reader to adopt Teddy’s view of the topic; almost putting the reader in Teddy’s own shoes when he takes out the diplomats, the hatred for them throughout the story is clear and hard to hide. Stuart Woods portrays a society where the normal people aren’t aware of the world around them, a world were government officials let the rich get away with what they want, a society where the good doesn’t always triumph over good. Stuart woods overall as he is portrayed through his writing is a realist. He seems to view things as they are, he shows it in this book just by letting the villain take the victory in the end, which shows that he’s isn’t much of an optimistic person who wants to believe that good always triumphs. He also shows it in his style of writing, you never know what to expect, and the reader can’t trust that he will favor a certain character for too long; things aren’t the way they seem to be.

Analysis of the Book:

This book was both worth reading and enjoyable at the same time. I would definitely recommend this book to another reader; it’s a good time killer. Iron Orchid both supports the reader’s beliefs more than it goes against them, making it a well-balanced book. The book weaves the reader into the story, appealing to the reader in every way especially logically. Overall there aren’t many emotionally appealing scenes in Iron Orchid. The book motivates the reader to read the sequel to the story, and leaves the reader thinking for a while after the story has been completed. Iron Orchid will change the way the readers view on criminals, the FBI and CIA alike, the reader is challenged by the author to view them past what we see on the outside. The book almost tempts the reader to think like the law enforcers, and criminals in the story.


Iron Orchid is a lightweight yet complete and entertaining Thriller. It’s a well written story, with well-developed characters, and some entertaining action. The book can be boring at times but Stuart Woods makes up for the few worth-less pages in the book. The themes and motifs are motivating and thought provoking. The plot needs a little work, along with other part of the book, yet the reader can’t complain about a good, entertaining book. 


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