DAY OF THE JACKAL by Fredrick Forsyth
Originally Published in 1971
France has lost the war to hold Algeria and the nation is torn against itself. French Foreign Legion soldiers attempt a coup against Charles De Gaulle, the man everyone thought would fight forever to hold France together, but who has surrendered. The OAS, the secret army dedicated to the overthrow of De Gaulle, is on the run. The French army crushed the rebellion. Gradually, OAS leadership is being chased down and brutally murdered by the French Secret Service. For them, De Gaulle has turned into a monster. Only he could command sufficient loyalty within the army to prevent their goals. He must be assassinated.
After failing in their own attempts to kill De Gaulle, the OAS, in a desperate attempt to turn defeat into victory, decides to hire a professional assassin--a man known only as the Jackel. THE DAY OF THE JACKAL traces the efforts of this assassin to penetrate a fully warned France, defeat the efforts of French, British, and International police and secret service organizations, kill the French President and survive to escape.
Fredrick Forsyth (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Forsyth) writes a compelling novel. His research rings factually true and gives the reader the guilty pleasure of contemplating how an assassination might be carried out. Forsyth represents the Jackal as a totally amoral man. He kills without feeling, without any political convictions. His only interest is in the financial reward. Still, Forsyth's skillful writing draws the reader in. Indeed, the reader cannot help but identify with the Jackal and, at some level, actually cheer for his success. The fact that De Gaulle was not historically assassinated is simply not an issue with this fascinating novel.
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