‘The Day of the Jackal’ is set in the 1960s after the Algerian War. It follows the French President of that time, General De Gaulle who decided to give up Algeria. This led to the formation of the Organisation de l’armée secréte or OAS, a secret organisation against the Algerian Independence.
After a number of failed attempts to assassinate De Gaulle, the OAS hire an English contract killer who is only known as the Jackal. However De Gaulle would be virtually impossible to kill after all those failed attempts.
The book is divided into three parts- ‘Anatomy of a Plot’ which deals with the assassination attempts, the OAS and all the planning done by the Jackal.
‘Anatomy of a Manhunt’ deals with the how the French police finds out about the plan and how it tries to stop the Jackal.
‘Anatomy of a Kill’ is the ending and the tensest part of the whole book.
There is also an Epilogue which reveals a single fact which changes everything we all had presumed from the very beginning.
The characters are portrayed very nicely and seem realistic with no clichés. My personal favourite is the Jackal who has been portrayed as a tall, blonde well-built Englishman with grey eyes. But don’t let his looks fool you, he is a dangerous man has planned a cunning plot to the minutest of details. He takes every bit of precaution and has the mind of a genius. His steely grey eyes don’t reveal any emotion or thought that goes inside his mind.
The book is full of twists and turns. Every time you turn a page something new happens and just when you think you know what really is going on and put your inner detective to use, a new fact or evidence comes up which takes you back to square one.
My favourite part is just before the ending when the story becomes so lightning paced that you are literally on your toes and biting your nails, anxious to know what finally happens.
Overall, the book is a must read for all the thriller aficionados out there. Frederick Forsyth does a great job and paints a picture of each scene in the reader’s head. You can literally see the characters talking to each other. The book is quick and in the span of a single page, the whole plot can take a serious turn.