Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Day of the Jackal - Frederick Forsyth

Frederick Forsyth's first work of fiction, 'The day of the Jackal' is a suspense thriller belonging to the spy fiction genre. Forsyth keeps the reader glued to the plot by building up the suspense piece-by-piece, brilliantly aided by his gift of amalgamation of fact with fiction. His immaculate research and knowledge of the background of his plot is evident as he touches upon concepts ranging from the functioning of police, detective and spy agencies around the world to the general niceties of protocol and life of civilians and diplomats.

The story is set in the 1960's, and deals with one among the numerous plots to assasinate the then President of France, General Charles De Gaulle. As with 'The Odessa File', the plot begins with a background of OAS, the French underground militant organization and thier reasons and justifications to assasinate the President of France. The plan is to hire a professional hit man to do the job, and one of the best in the business, codenamed 'The Jackal' is hired.

The story is divided into three parts. 'Anatomy of a Plot' deals with the Jackal preparing a sketch of his scheme. During 'Anatomy of a Manhunt', the French secret service agency gets wind of the plot and launches a worldwide manhunt coordinating with spy agencies of several countries.

Since an operation of such magnitude would require immaculate planning apart from being skilled in intrigue, the 'Anatomy of a Plot' is more interesting from a reader's point of view as it explains the conception and design of the plot by the assasin. This is where the Jackal proves to be a true professional in planning out the entire operation to perfection.

The book was also made into a movie 'The Day of the Jackal' in 1973, directed by Fred Zinnemann, starring Edward Fox as 'The Jackal'. Following are some interesting notes on the cultural impact the book had made, as found on Wikipedia:

"The method for acquiring a false identity and UK passport detailed in the book is often referred to as the "Day of the Jackal fraud" and remains a well known security loophole in the UK. The technique was most recently used by John Darwin to obtain a new passport after he faked his own death in a canoeing accident."

"Would-be assassin Vladimir Arutinian, who attempted to kill US President George W. Bush during his 2005 visit to the country of Georgia, was an obsessive reader of the novel and kept an annotated version of it during his planning for the assassination."


Smita said...

aha!! good review :-)

I remember reading this book but don't remember anything of the plot (even after reading the review) so may be haven't read it :D

Confusing no?? :)

Fill try reading it again...

rahul said...

awesome book dude read it in 1st yr. of colg.
Btw ur name is rahul verma or rahul anand coz if it's Anand then we are namesakes :).

nice blog..keep it up!!!

Rahul Anand said...

Smita, Its a nice book , you will enjoy it if you enjoy political thrillers.

Rahul, yes I am Rahul Anand but for some weird reason people used to call me Verma in college and the tag stuck.

Smita said...

Yep I like political thrillers :)

Webster Fortyone said...

DoTJ is one of my top ten books. this is a nice and more importantly neat blog. good stuff.