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The Day of the Jackal [Hardcover]

Frederick Forsyth
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 2002 Best Mysteries of All Time
It is 1963 and the Secret Army Organisation want to kill General de Gaulle, the President of France. They hire a professional assassin, a tall, cold Englishman who calls himself aA A the Jackal'. But in spite of his brilliant disguises and clever preparations, aA A the best detective in France', Claude Lebel is close on his heels. A blockbusting novel from one of the world's greatest thriller writers. This will enthral you from start to finish! Also a gripping film starring Edward Fox.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Review

"This was a book that broke the mould. It was the first of the heightened-detail thrillers filled with the sort of in-depth procedural and technical information that have become a large part of the fascination for readers of such books. It's a chase story, about the hunt for somebody, but what makes it so special is that it has a remarkable narrative engine to it, given that we know before we start the book that the assassin is going to fail in his bid to kill a real head of state. The proposition of how you get somebody to read a book from start to finish when they know the ending is handled magnificently. This also took the thriller somewhere else, in that it incorporated real people and events into the story to dramatic effect. Moreover, the assassin showed real genius in coming up with a way to achieve his objective, rather than relying on lazy Bond-style fantasy methods and gadgets. This used 'real-world ingenuity' to show how you could travel unobserved, obtain a false passport, hide a gun and so on. The movie might be good, but the novel is even better." -- Lee Child Daily Mail "In a class by itself. Unputdownable." Sunday Times "Mr Forsyth is clever. Very clever and immensely entertaining." Daily Telegraph "I was spellbound ... riveted by this chilling story." Guardian "The secret of the novel's success was not its prose style... but it's intimations of expertise." Independent --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

The Jackal. A tall, blond Englishman with opaque, gray eyes. A killer at the top of his profession. A man unknown to any secret service in the world. An assassin with a contract to kill the world's most heavily guarded man.

One man with a rifle who can change the course of history. One man whose mission is so secretive not even his employers know his name. And as the minutes count down to the final act of execution, it seems that there is no power on earth that can stop the Jackal.

"The Day Of The Jackal makes such comparable books that The Manchurian Candidate and The Spy Who Came In From The Cold seems like Hardy Boy mysteries." -- The New York Times --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An analyze of an assassination Feb. 10 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is brilliant. I chose to read it after we got it for homework in school. I read a few thrillers and mystery. But this book is on my list of top five books.
It's about an assassin whose codename is the Jackal. He is hired to kill the French president de Gaulle. You follow him when he brilliantly plans the murder. You see how he thinks, how he choose the perfect weapon, gets false passports etc. You end up liking him and whish him good luck, while you sometimes might want him to fail. How does Forsyth do that?
We meet many other characters through the reading, about fifty. Even if they are too many in a book of over 300 pages, it is not quite hard to follow the plot. Who are then the main characters? Well, the Jackal is one of course. The villain is the Jackal, but who is the hero? Is it Lebel, Rolland or Thomas? In a strange way, you find that the plot is the real main character. All things that happen in the book is just analyze of the attempt of murder on de Gaulle. Everything that happens is important and manipulates the ending of the story. This makes the story very complex and brilliant. You won't waste your time reading 150 pages with nothing happening. Every page is important.
Read it, or you'll regret it.
I will very soon see the both versions of the movie.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Awfully English Assassin Oct. 30 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This remains Forsyth's best book, doubtless because it is the most subversive. Readers (at least Anglophone readers) end up actually willing the "Chacal" to succeed in his efforts to shoot de Gaulle, and as we follow the Englishman through Italy and France, there even seems to be a raison d'etre to the succession of ad hoc, cold-blooded murders he commits. While the work is pure fiction, the historic context (OAS right-wingers seething at de Gaulle's 1962 withdrawal from Algeria) is fact. For many years this book had the honor of being one of the few novels faithfully translated into film (the 1973 Edward Fox flick rivalled Maltese Falcon in its fidelity to the text) but all that changed with the botched 1998 Willis remake. Actually, the assassin character is so quintessentially English, and the subtext so wonderfully Europhobic, any attempt to translate the plot to a North American context was doomed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Freddy outfoxes us all with the Jackal. Sept. 3 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read the novel several times and have seen the film version several times.Both are excellent. It is a real tour de force that Forsythe makes irrelevant the fact that we know that De Gaulle was not assassinated. The pace is so fast and the storyline so gripping that we are carried along by the thrill of what happens to the exclusion of the fact that De Gaulle will survive. The detail of the preparation for the kill is credible and superbly researched. In particular the novel details for the first time, as far as I'm aware, the best method of applying for a passport in a false name, something with which the Jackal is all too familiar. You enter easily into his world and yet you never really know who he is, even his nationality. His anonymity is attractive. A personal point of interest is that I spotted an error in the text that has persisted since the book's original publication in 1971 but should be corrected since I have pointed it out to the current publishers. It's a really freudian slip in chapter 18 when instead of asking about the "make and number" of the car Lebel actually asks about the "make and murder" of the car. Strangely enough the italian translation of the novel corrects the mistake. I was curious to know if Forsythe had made the mistake in the original text, particularly if he had handwritten the original. The publisher did not forward my question to the author or give me an e-mail address to correspond with him. If anyone knows it I'd be grateful.
This novel must rank as one of the greatest thrillers of modern times. I highly recommend it to those who enjoy thrillers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ground Breaker April 3 2001
By snowy
Format:Mass Market Paperback
One of the things a reviewer must bear in mind is not when he read the book but when the book was written. Day of the Jackal is a ground breaker that has since been copied countless times.
The book is about an assassin hired by the OAS (nowadays, they would be called French terrorists, patriots, far-right extremists etc) to kill Charles DeGaulle, president of France. The OAS was composed of French war veterans who felt betrayed by the country they had served with enormous sacrifice to their lives. When Charles DG gave up Algeria, he became the symbol OAS decided had to be struck down. Events turn out such that a foreign professional assassin had to be hired to do the job, and of course, to ensure the balance, the French police had to be tipped off. Thus the game of cat and mouse began. As the author detailed the workings of both sides, readers are captivated and would actually root for both sides, nevermind the author did explicitly state CDG survived.
Of course, critical readers may find certain about of suspension of belief required. First, it was the repeated failed attempts of the OAS members to do the killing themselves that cost OAS its support. The cause of the failure was supposed to be sheer bad luck and silly oversight of the OAS, who were supposed to be experienced soldiers. They may not know much about politics, but to fail in such operations seem rather unforgivable.
Second, the serendipidity of the authorities getting on the right track to hunt the Jackal was also incredible. Whereas the Jackal, codename for the assassin had relied on careful planning and relied not on luck, luck was the only thing the authorities had. The message might be that detective work is long labourious and luck only favours the prepared.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Frederick Forsyth is an amazing author and this is truly an amazing story!
Published 1 month ago by Shawn O'Brien
3.0 out of 5 stars Children's Book
I wanted a good copy of the book of the old film which I enjoyed so much. Unfortunately I didn't read the fine print on the ad. Read more
Published on Aug. 31 2005 by Ashley Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Better Then Average
This is one of the author's better books. The story and the plot are great, so much so they have been used in any number of other books and movies. Read more
Published on April 7 2002 by John G. Hilliard
4.0 out of 5 stars Not to shabby
through out this book from the very beginning your sucked into the aftermath of world war II in France. Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2002 by Bozo the clown
4.0 out of 5 stars Not to shabby
through out this book from the very beginning your sucked into the aftermath of world war II in France. Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2002 by Bozo the clown
5.0 out of 5 stars An everlasting classic!
This book was brilliant to me. I could get into the killers head as he tried to avoid the authorities. Read more
Published on Jan. 30 2002 by "ggazlay"
5.0 out of 5 stars THe BeST
a really good read. I have started loving spy novels just because of this one book. Forsyth is really good in shaping the personality of the character. I just loved it.
Published on Oct. 15 2001 by Lonely_Soul
4.0 out of 5 stars A thirty-year old classic that�s still a nail-biter today.
"The Day of the Jackal" is the novel that first gained Forsyth fame as a thriller writer. The Jackal is the code name for an elite and elusive Englishman employed as a political... Read more
Published on Oct. 5 2001 by Godly Gadfly
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best!
This is by far the best book I have ever read. If you have not read this book, read it! See the movie after you read the book.
Published on Aug. 26 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars The Day of the Jackel
The Day of the Jackel is a fascinating look into the mind of an assassin. "The Jackel" kills not to fulfill a vendetta, but rather his bank account (in Switzerland, where... Read more
Published on June 14 2001
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