The Day of the Jackal

By Frederick Forsyth
Read by Simon Prebble

13.37 Hours 11/24/2009 unabridged
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One of the most celebrated thrillers ever written, The Day of the Jackal is the electrifying story of an anonymous Englishman who, in the spring of 1963, was hired to assassinate General Charles de Gaulle. France was infuriated by Charles de Gaulle’s withdrawal from Algeria, and there were six known attempts to assassinate the general that failed. This novel dramatizes the seventh, mostly deadly attempt, involving a professional killer for hire who would be unknown to the French Police. His code name was Jackal, his price half a million dollars, and 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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Summary

Summary

Winner of the 1972Edgar Allan Poe Award

An Audible.com Bestseller

One of the most celebrated thrillers ever written, The Day of the Jackal is the electrifying story of an anonymous Englishman who, in the spring of 1963, was hired to assassinate General Charles de Gaulle.

France was infuriated by Charles de Gaulle’s withdrawal from Algeria, and there were six known attempts to assassinate the general that failed. This novel dramatizes the seventh, mostly deadly attempt, involving a professional killer for hire who would be unknown to the French Police. His code name was Jackal, his price half a million dollars, and 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.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

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.” New York Times
“A masterpiece tour de force of crisp, sharp, suspenseful writing.” Wall Street Journal
“In a class by itself. Unputdownable.” Sunday Times (London)
“Compelling, utterly enthralling…Some of the tensest thriller writing I can remember reading.” Sunday Express (London)
“If ever there was a book that fits the can’t-put-it-down category, this is it.” Minneapolis Tribune
“I was spellbound, riveted to this chilling, superbly researched story.” Guardian (Manchester)
“Narrator Simon Prebble is the perfect complement to Forsythe’s matter-of-fact style of writing…Prebble’s clipped English accent helps to conjure the atmosphere of Europe in the 1960s.” AudioFile
“Exciting…A paraprocedural documentary which you can read at 140 kilometers per hour.” Kirkus Reviews

Reviews

Reviews

by Bertie Wooster 9/13/2017
Overall Performance
Narration
Story

Ian Fleming Spoiled Me

It was inevitable that I would compare DOTJ to the only other books like it that I have heard: James Bond. Flip some circumstances—here, for example, the playboy with all the gadgets is the bad guy, while the good guys look and act more like Columbo—and the milieu isn’t dissimilar. The difference is in the writing.

An exceptional meal, the bite of cheap wine, a jet liner touching down—these are the type of details over which Fleming would lavish his gift for the crystal clear image or the more-than-apt metaphor, in language that described each event in arresting, tactile ways.

With Forsyth it sometimes feels like you’re listening to a movie script. Conversations are reported, action is described, but that’s about it. The meal is eaten, the wine drunk and the plane engines “sigh” as they wind down, which is about as close to a description of phenomenon as he gets.

Until Chapter 9. That’s where things begin to pick up: a policeman directing the “lethal Parisian traffic” likened to “a bullfighter fighting a bull”.

Why not a matador? Ok, now I’m getting picky.

It could be that I just got used to Forsyth’s style, or the story picks up a good deal by Part 2 or maybe Forsyth, on his first outing as a published novelist, was learning his craft as he practiced it. Whatever the reason, I came to like this book more and more as the plot moved closer and closer to its crescendo.

Certainly, the writing gets more vigorous; ideas and associations start to play in and out of the narration; we get some insights into the workings of a police bureaucracy—which, not surprisingly, works a lot like the office where you earn the bi-weekly stipend. No one wants to assume too much responsibility. It’s a parallel that makes the extraordinary situation of the book seem somehow familiar, drawing you into the story.

Simon Prebble, as always, does a superb job.

Author

Author Bio: Frederick Forsyth

Frederick Forsyth was born in England in 1938. He settled on a career in journalism, working as a reporter in Norwich and then as the Reuters News Agency’s correspondent in Berlin and Paris, which provided the background for his bestselling novel The Day of the Jackal. He worked for the BBC for several years and then as a freelance journalist.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Thrillers/Suspense
Runtime: 13.37
Audience: Adult
Language: English