Book Report And Review Of Frederick Forsyth's Day Of The Jackal

1352 words - 6 pages

Frederick Forsyth's The Day of the Jackal chronicles the events of the summer of 1963, in which there was an attempt to assassinate the then-president of France, Charles de Gaulle. Anyone reasonably familiar with the 20th century will know automatically that the attack failed, but this novel describes just how close to the mark the attack came. The novel is historical fiction, so it tells a story that actually happened, but in places where little is known, the author takes liberties to fill in details. The story is relevant because it shows the strong aptitude of the French Secret Service and police force, something America lacked at the time. The attempt on the French president's life came ...view middle of the document...

$3,000,000 2004 US dollars). The Jackal is a complete enigma, in fact, the reader learns nothing about his life throughout the novel, except that he is an accomplished assassin with numerous famous kills to his name. In addition, he has managed to stay completely off the watch lists of every major country, so he is completely safe from INTERPOL checks. The reader does learn, however, that the Jackal is completely heartless, a cold-blooded killer who will kill anyone who stands in the way of his objective, no matter how intimate he has been with them, or how innocent they are. He is methodical, careful in his calculations and preparations, and precise in his execution. He has planned for every single variable, and even obtained 3 separate false identities, so he safely could move about even if one or two of them were discovered.Viktor Kowalsky is a professional bodyguard; he was a Polish refugee before coming into the service of the OAS. He is significant to the story because it is he that first causes the French police to learn about the Jackal's plan. He is secretly the father of a girl living with adopted parents in Marseilles, France, and has only seen her once. The French secret service learn of this, and trick Kowalsky to come back to Marseilles, where they capture and torture him into telling them about the Jackal. Kowalsky shows his compassion for his family by going AWOL from the group he is so devoted to, and traveling to see his daughter.At this point, Claude Lebel comes into the story. He is a police detective and commissioner in Paris, who is suddenly given top-secret security clearances, free reign over all France's police, and charged with apprehending an assassin about whom they know nothing about. He remains cool under pressure, and deduces many things that lead him closer and closer to the Jackal. Even when a member of the security council he has to report to unknowingly divulges critical information to an OAS spy, Lebel quickly finds the leak by wiretapping each of the council members' homes. He is persistent and unrelenting in his investigation, which is why he eventually catches his prey.Forsyth, an accomplished and acclaimed political thriller author, wrote this novel in soon after the events took place, amid the turmoil of the Warren Commission to determine the circumstances of Kennedy's death. The topic of assassination was most likely very popular at that point in time, and may have inspired Forsyth to write The Day of the Jackal. He spent many years as a diplomatic correspondent for the BBC, and became an expert at international politics, which also inspired him to write Jackal, his first novel, using the reporting and researching techniques he had learned.A...

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