Frederick Forsyth wrote The Day of the Jackal in 1971 – an excellent decade for Thrillers,especially Political Thrillers. An English Assassin is contracted by the OAS, a paramilitary organisation bent on keeping up the Old standards of Colonial France. The Jackal is given the job of assassinating the French President, Charles De Gaulle.
The Novel won several prizes for best fiction and even in 2003 it made the BBC list “The Big Read”. Still a favourite for readers who love the Wickedly intricate and smooth Thrillers of the 1970s.
The Plot begins with a detailed description of the real failed assassination attempt byJean-Marie Bastien-Thiry on the life of the President of France, De Gaulle.
After Jean-Marie Bastien-Thiry’s execution by firing squad the story moves into fiction as we discover that the three man team of OAS are holed up in a hotel room in Italy and planning a new attempt on the life of Charles de Gualle. After selecting their man a thrilling story of preparation for the perfect Hit begins to unfold as The Jackal moves between Italy,France and London to acquire the tools of his trade. He meets the Master forgers for his identities and then a fine gunsmith who will prepare his weapon. All along the cool character known as The Jackal is in control of the events and we begin to see what a cold and callous man he is. The writing is excellent and very seventies thriller novel, but also very Frederick Forsyth as he can’t seem to drop the journalistic approach to writing and we are presented with the facts of the politics of the day mixed with the fictive elements. regardless of this, the story unfolds at a pace and somehow Frederick Forsyth’s style of writing is perfect for the tale. If you want an action book full of shoot outs and punch ups, dumb-down to a “Jack Reacher” story and avoid taxing your brain with the motivations and characters of “The Day of The Jackal”
The Day Of The Jackal
I’ve read the book once and am now on a second reading (years later) which I’m enjoying immensely. If you are fed up with action books being pawned off as a Thriller then go for it and get a copy of “Day of The Jackal”, you’ll love it.