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The Day of the Jackal (1971)

by Frederick Forsyth

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,779811,849 (4.04)167
France, infuriated by Charles de Gaulle's withdrawal from Algeria, had failed in six known attempts to assassinate the General. This book postulates that the seventh, mostly deadly attempt involved a professional killer-for-hire who would be unknown to the French Police. His code name: Jackal. His price: half a million dollars. His demand: total secrecy, even from his employers. Step by painstaking step, we follow the Jackal in his meticulous planning, from the fashioning of a specially made rifle to the devising of his approach to the time and the place where the General is to meet the Jackal's bullet. The only obstacle in his path is a small, diffident, rumpled policeman, who happens to be considered by his boss the best detective in France: Deputy Commissaire Claude Lebel.… (more)
  1. 20
    The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth (longway)
  2. 10
    The Dogs of War by Frederick Forsyth (John_Vaughan)
  3. 00
    Phoenix by Amos Aricha (JohnWCuluris)
    JohnWCuluris: Similar plot--perhaps originally inspired by Jackal--with more detail and texture.
  4. 00
    The Deceiver by Frederick Forsyth (worldenough)
  5. 00
    Wolves in the City: The Death of French Algeria by Paul Henissart (John_Vaughan)
  6. 00
    Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household (ivan.frade)
    ivan.frade: About a man plenty of resources to dodge a powerful organization that tries to track him down.
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» See also 167 mentions

English (71)  Spanish (3)  German (2)  Dutch (2)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (81)
Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
Still my favorite novel by Forsyth. Great book. It's long but interesting. Read it in my twenties and read it decades later. Good both times. The movie is also good. ( )
  ikeman100 | Mar 18, 2022 |
I read "The Day Jackal" as a preteen, a few years after it came out. I know I did not understand half of what was in it then. I do remember that it was pivotal in my choice to read adult-level books in the future.

What makes Jackal such a good book is its pacing, realism, and equality in the players.

There is a little bit of description and then action. Sometimes Frederick Forsyth uses dialog to convey details, keeping the book moving.

Frederick Forsyth was first a reporter, a teller of truth. When he couldn't make enough money with that fact, he tried fiction. Jackal was his first novel, but he researched it just like any factual story, scoping sites and interviewing people.

Here are some character notes:
OSA Guard whose daughter has leukemia--They only found him because he filled out a Will. He gave up his daughter for adoption to his friend.
Claude Lebel comparison with the Jackal--The French detective leading the search for the Jackal is "henpecked," while the Jackal preys on women.

The equity in the foes is what sets "The Day of the Jackal" apart. The Police Departments are competent but have their leaks. Jackal is a professional and very good at his job, but his pride gets him killed.

My favorite lines from the book are when the wiretaps happen. How did you know to wiretap such-and-such? "I didn't. I wiretapped all of you," and he leaves. Door Slams. Excellent.

Can you tell I loved this book? I am so happy I found it again. ( )
  nab6215 | Jan 18, 2022 |
This book was written almost 45 years ago, and even though I knew the plot & the outcome, it had me madly turning page after page. A classic thriller that does not get old. ( )
  etxgardener | Aug 29, 2021 |
I have never read any books about espionage. So I was really interested in this topic. And the book “The Day of the Jackal” has a lot of good reviews and high average rating.

The beginning was quite interesting: assassination attempt, OAS’ failure and finding new ways of assassination. Plan that was made up by leaders of OAS, looked quite courageous and intellligent for me. I really wanted to know how it would be realized. But when all the preparations of the mercenary - Jackal - started, reading became harder. I prefer a lot of action, that’s why it was boring to read about all the things Jackal prepared for assassination. I understand that this part is important too and it would be difficult to understand the subsequent events without it. But, in my opinion, the author could have omitted such details.

While reading I started sympathizing with the main hero so much that I wanted his success with all my heart. I was sincerely worried about him. But at the same time I felt that it was cruel with regard to his victims, Jackal is an assassin after all. So this book made me feel mixed emotions about it.

I gave this book 3 stars because the plot was really good. But it was interesting to read it only at some places, I would make it much shorter. And the ending made me sad, though it was quite realistic. ( )
  Diana_Hryniuk | Aug 28, 2021 |
This is a brilliantly written thriller based on a fictional assassination attempt against French President Charles de Gaulle in 1963. While we know from history that he won't succeed, the novel focuses on the Jackal's thought processes, how he devises his plans, develops a weapon and constructs several false identities. It follows the manhunt and how the efforts of the various French agencies to track him down are frustrated by a combination of the killer's resourcefulness, bad luck and a mole in the authorities' midst. Even when he is cornered in Paris he almost succeeds in carrying his audacious plan. This is deservedly a classic of the genre, focusing on detail in almost an instructional sense, but still managing to be a gripping narrative which never flags. ( )
2 vote john257hopper | Jun 25, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (52 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Forsyth, Frederickprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brown, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Escott, Johnsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hernández, RamónTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Niessen-Hossele, J.F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prebble, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rintoul, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tropea, MarcoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zacharow, ChristopherIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my Mother and Father
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It is cold at 6:40 in the morning of a March day in Paris, and it seems even colder when a man is about to be executed by firing squad.
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ISBN 0854565655 is the Reader's Digest condensed (abridged) version of the book.

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France, infuriated by Charles de Gaulle's withdrawal from Algeria, had failed in six known attempts to assassinate the General. This book postulates that the seventh, mostly deadly attempt involved a professional killer-for-hire who would be unknown to the French Police. His code name: Jackal. His price: half a million dollars. His demand: total secrecy, even from his employers. Step by painstaking step, we follow the Jackal in his meticulous planning, from the fashioning of a specially made rifle to the devising of his approach to the time and the place where the General is to meet the Jackal's bullet. The only obstacle in his path is a small, diffident, rumpled policeman, who happens to be considered by his boss the best detective in France: Deputy Commissaire Claude Lebel.

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