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In the forward to this book Forsyth writes that he seeks for ‘interesting, accurate, and feasible’, I would say he has succeeded with this book.
This is historical fiction in that the story is woven around people who actually existed and events that happened. French President Charles de Gaulle was hated by many of the French people and Jean Bastien-Thiry did organize an assassination attempt on 22 August 1962. As for the details of the French police and some events related (kidnappings and torture), those I am not sure of.
At first I thought the book was going to delve into this political stand and that conflicting stand, but we get enough to understand why de Gaulle was hated. What makes this book fascinating is the preparations the Jackal takes to assassinate President de Gaulle and the efforts of the French police to find him, all while operating under a clock of secrecy imposed by de Gaulle. Even the reader doesn’t know the Jackal’s real name but we are taken along with him as he moves toward his goal. We see the utter ruthlessness of the Jackal and the working of the brain of the little hen-pecked detective, forced to stand up to the scorn of the Ministers of the government. This is a fast paced political thriller as Forsyth counts down the days, then the hours up to the assassination attempt. I highly recommend this to people who enjoy thrillers, political and otherwise.