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The Day of the Jackal Hardcover – Jan 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Jan 2002
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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Readers Digest; Reprint edition (January 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762188669
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762188666
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 12.8 x 4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 540 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,927,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"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 "It is no exaggeration to say The Day of the Jackal has influenced a generation of thriller writers... Before, thrillers were self-evidently works of the imagination. Forsyth changed all that; never before had a popular novelist created a world that seemed indistinguishable from real life... Few writers can claim to have changed the literary landscape. Forty years ago, a penniless British journalist, unwittingly or not, did just that" Guardian --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

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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