tha day of the jackal

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THE DAY OF THE JACKAL

I’ve read the book ”The day of the jackal” by Frederick Forsyth. It is a thriller about an attempt to assassin the president of France in the 1960s, Charles de Gaulle. The terrorist-organisation that arranges this is the OAS, Organisation de l'Armée Secrète (the organisation for the secret army).

The book starts in 1963. It describes the last conventional attempt to assassin de Gaulle. Now the OAS understands that they can no longer kill the president with those methods. The security around the president is so well developed that an ordinary well-known member of the OAS could never get near and kill him. And while this is happening, government people are infiltrating the OAS, so that the government can have a record over all the OAS men that can kill the president. Therefore, the OAS has to figure out another way of getting rid of him. The chief of the organisation, Marc Rodin, takes personal initiative and decides he should hire an assassin to do the work. With help from two other chiefs within the OAS he chooses an Englishman for the job. Unfortunately for them, this man is very expensive, so they can’t afford him. To be able to pay the money he requires, they are being forces to rob banks. So, during a period of a few months, banks all over France are being robbed. The assassin, known as The Jackal, decides to do it. He plans everything very carefully, knowing that even the slightest mistake can lead to failing of the mission and a certain death. Unfortunately for him, the knowledge of this plot goes to the French government. This leads to a violent manhunt all over Europe.

I was a bit disappointed with this book. It is very slow to read and everything is described very carefully. After a while, this becomes quite annoying. At one point, a whole page is used describing the precise manner in which three dossiers are passed around and read the three OAS chiefs. "A gave the first dossier to B and the second to C. When B had finished with his, he handed it off to C and got the third from A. C closed his dossier a moment later and put it in front of B. He then started in on the one B had just given him” etc. This goes on throughout the book and Forsyth’s endless recitation of the names of streets, squares, and towns gets quite boring.

The book is divided in three different sections, “anatomy of a plot”, “anatomy of a manhunt” and “anatomy of a kill”. This describes the book very well, because it is built up exactly in this way. The first part in not so exiting. It seems as if Forsyth has spent a long time preparing for this book, searching for information the world over, and now he wants to show this to his readers. In the first 200 pages nothing really happens. You get to follow the Jackal and how he prepares for the assassin. He travels all over Europe searching for the components he needs. Here you can notice that Forsyth has dug up some information, it is all very well described and the language gets a bit technically. I don’t think that the formal language used here is the best way of writing a thriller.

In the second part things are also very detailed, but it gets more exciting here, as you don’t know how the Jackal is supposed to survive. Many times you think for yourself that now he can’t escape, but he does. And although all Europe is searching for him, he manages to get to the centre of France, Paris. This part is less formal written and is therefore easier to read.

The last part is the most exciting. In the end of the book, Forsyth is no longer describing everything so carefully and detailed, but here he lets the excitement lead the book. Therefore, the last hundred pages of the book are actually really great.

If you are interested in how to kill a president, I think this is a very good book. Forsyth leads you through the underworld of Europe so carefully that this might be a manual for killing presidents. And a manual is not fun to read. In a thriller you want m...

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Inactive member [2000-07-05]   tha day of the jackal
Mimers Brunn [Online]. http://mimersbrunn.se/article?id=42 [2018-10-18]

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