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The Day of the Jackal

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  119,043 ratings  ·  2,051 reviews
Librarian note: an alternate cover for this edition can be found here.

The Jackal. A tall, blond Englishman with opaque, gray eyes. A killer at the top of his profession. A man unknown to any secret service in the  world. An assassin with a contract to kill the world's most heavily guarded man.

One  man with a rifle who can change the course of history. One man whose mission
Mass Market Paperback, 358 pages
Published September 1979 by Bantam (first published June 1971)
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Joy A brilliant suspense novel. I strongly recommend it. Some people who prefer non-stop action will find the assassin's preparation too cerebral.
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Floyd Truskot If it was another fictitious leader and not de Gaulle it would have worked. It still is a 5 star novel.
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  119,043 ratings  ·  2,051 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spies, book-to-film
”A professional does not act out of fervour and is therefore more calm and less likely to make elementary errors. Not being idealistic, he is not likely to have second thoughts at the last minute about who else might get hurt in the explosion or whatever method, and being a professional he has calculated the risks to the last contingency. So his chances of success on schedule are surer than anyone else’s, but he will not even enter into operation until he has devised a plan that will enable him ...more
To those that gave this 4 or 5 stars…I completely get it…I really do.

I found much impressiveness in this classic spy story, despite the 3 star ceiling I ended up placing on it. Technically proficient and drenched in details, this is as authentic an anatomy of an assassination attempt I have ever seen. Forsyth’s “Jackal-like” control over the narrative was singular and I can certainly understand this being considered a classic among the spy-thriller genre.

Despite the significant amount of superi
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: let-down
The day of the jackal was over, and I was glad of that. Just because this old thriller was related to a favored genre of mine - the historical fiction - didn't mean I would like outdated thrillers with no idea that hasn't been milked by movies of various characteristics. But I learned one thing after reading this book, and that was that archaic books like this died intestate.

There were defining aspects in this hefty - not too much though - novel. There were new characters that kept making entr
Tim The Enchanter
Still Amazing the Second Time Around - 5 Stars

In the past 16 years, with the exception of the Bible, I have never read a book twice. I enjoy the unknown and the mystery of the unravelling. When doing a Book Pal read, I decided to pick up a book that is in my Top 10 and to break my rule about never reading a book twice. What an excellent decision. Even the second time around, I was amazed by the excellent story and the author's ability to created suspense even when you know the eventual out
Apr 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of classic suspense novels
One of the things that I like about Goodreads is that it's more than just a bunch of book reviews. It's a location where book-lovers can exchange stories, discuss books, buy and sell books and simply go on and on about their favorite (and not so favorite) books. So please indulge me as I provide a longish backstory before actually getting into my review because that is part of the fun. To begin with please look at my bookshelves. You'll notice that one of them is labeled "seventies-classics". I ...more
Re-reading The Day of the Jackal, Frederick Forsyth's 1972 Edgar winner for Best Novel, was perhaps even more satisfying than reading it for the first time (can it really have been 36 years ago?) I would never quibble with the committee's choice on this one.

As most people probably know, the book deals with a plot to assassinate Charles de Gaulle, President of France, by a group opposed to his policies on Algeria. Not only does the reasonably well-informed reader know that, historically, de Gaull
Miranda Reads
I'm not too versed with spy/espionage novels but I expected something more interesting.

The beginning was a sheer cliff of a learning curve. So, so many details, dates and people. I reread it 3 times before giving up and hoping that I'd catch on eventually. (I did catch on, I think...there still may be one or two things that just never caught).

This was entirely too much page space given to one day. Yes there are flashbacks but still... cut about half and this would've really gripped me. As is, I
Sanjay Gautam
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is one of the best books in its genre. Haven't found a book which can be at par with The Day of the Jackal.
Apr 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: published-1971
This swept through our lives like a simulacrum of the fire of London. Everyone was reading and loving this story that took just over a week to write.

It was the first time there was a generic book buzz in my life and I became hooked on that buzz :Right.There:And:Then:

Wasn't so long after that Forsyth did it all again to our utter, utter amazement. A moment in time and book-love was created.

30.08.2015: Frederick Forsyth reveals MI6 spying past
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019

Of faith and hope, belief and confidence, there was nothing left. Just hate. Hate for the system, for the politicians, for the intellectuals, for the Algerians, for the trade unions, for the journalists, for the foreigners; but most of all hate for That Man.

I have chosen this particular passage to start my review because I find it disturbingly still relevant in the world of today. I am seeing all around me Hatred in the ascendancy and Reason getting thrown in the dustbin, as more and mor
Joshua Rigsby
This is, without question, the best thriller I have ever read.

Forsyth builds the narrative slowly and expertly, then crescendos to a satisfying finale.

There are so many things to like about this book, it's hard to know where to begin. First of all, the premise is extraordinary, yet extremely realistic. A group of disaffected former military officers fail repeatedly to kill the president of France, so they hire a professional. Everything from the descriptions of the characters, the offices they
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Any details I give about this book will quaff the fun out of this engaging read, so I would stick to the literary basics. The author does very well in setting up the context in the first half and drives the reader to fast-paced action that follows. The Day of the Jackal is a captivating battle between two meticulous professionals, two experts of their trades on either side of the law. And finally, beneath all its action, drama and chases, it actually boils down to which of them is more disciplin ...more
Said AlMaskery
Oct 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: english-novels
I was walking around a library in Malesya when I found a shelf selling "classic" books. I wondered what does the Jackal mean ? Why is this book sold on a shelf that is presented infront of the entrance ?

I took the book without knowing any history about it, never heard of the author & never thought I was entering a new world of thrillers!

Since my native language is Arabic not english, I had difficulties understanding the first chapetr, especially with the small letters used in the edition I baugh
Vit Babenco
Sep 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Day of the Jackal is a very remarkable and memorable thriller – while the other novels of this sort are usually forgotten too soon this book has stuck in my head for good. It is a real duel of masterminds –one staying on the side of crime and the other serving on the side of justice. Frederick Forsyth's meticulous and competent elaboration of the tiniest details made this novel unique.
David Lucero
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just finished my 2nd (or 3rd?) reading of a favorite book I've had in my collection for years. It's still taut, suspenseful, and chilling!

Like a lot of readers, I enjoyed the movie so much I bought the book at a time when you actually had to go to bookstores and place an order. Online purchases were a thing of the future at that time. I found a first-edition hardcover copy in a used bookstore or thrift store (can't remember).

In 1962 a score of irritated French paratroopers have formed an organi
Pramod Nair
Usually i don't re-read thrillers but 'The Day of the Jackal' & 'The Dogs of War' are two books from the genre that i have repeatedly read over the years. And each time they provide me with such an intense feeling of thrill and suspense.

The plot takes place in the turbulent France of the early 60s which was bracing itself for a civil war. The steps taken by the French government from 1961 to consider and form a referendum on self-determination concerning Algeria and later the Evian Agreements of
Paul Alkazraji
Sep 24, 2015 rated it really liked it

'The Jackal' had Charles De Gaulle in his sight on Rue de Rennes.

“Half a million dollars is the price,” says the blonde Englishman being hired to assassinate French President Charles De Gaulle. “Considering you expect to get France itself, you esteem your country very cheap,” he adds noting the shock at his fee. With the contract made, the story commences of how the Organisation Armée Secrète (OAS) hire ‘Charles Calcot’ - the first three letters of each name making CHA-CAL (jackal in French
Oct 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Day of the Jackal was published in 1971 and takes place in 1963. The story opens with an assassination attempt on Charles de Gaulle in August 1962 by the Organisation armée secrète (OAS). The OAS had targeted de Gaulle for his Algerian initiatives. Frederick Forsyth's story picks up from there.

The French secret service has been very successful in infiltrating the OAS. They have managed to seize and interrogate the terrorists' operations commander, Antoine Argoud. The leader of the failed ass
A terrific read, fast paced, tautly written and excellent characterisation. Remember reading this many years ago but thoroughly enjoyed it the second time around. Liked the premise of the story, the lone assassin taking on the might of the French Police, a real game of cat and mouse. Thought the differences between the two main characters, the unknown assassin and the French Detective Claude Label well nuanced.......most of all I appreciated the "twist" at the end. Time and money well spent.
Jenny Baker
3.5 stars
Oct 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
A tight and fantastic political/cat-and-mouse thriller. Edgar award winner 'The Day of the Jackal' is well-paced, originally plotted and filled with amazing research. Forsyth clearly belongs among the top ranks of the great thriller writers. He is often immitated (Clancy, Thor, McBain) but NEVER really replicated.

Beyond the merits of the novel itself, the Day of the Jackal has also influenced actual assassins (Yigal Amir and Vladimir Arutinian), inspired the nickname for Ilich Ramírez Sánchez (
So I actually saw the movie and the other movie well before reading this book. While the Bruce Willis version adapted the book to an American setting, the original was slavishly loyal to the book (and excellent to boot). In a way that is good and bad.

On the one hand the plot of this book is very well constructed. It opens with an actual historic event, an attempted assassination on French President Charles de Gaulle. From there Forsyth weaves a fictional assassination plot to be carried out by a
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
shelf cleaning, I'd already put this in the get-rid-of pile. But when I checked and found I'd rated it a five, put it back. A five is supposed to mean (for me) that I might want to read it again. I trust my ratings, though there's no reason to.

Great movie too.

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Previous library review: Troubles J.G. Farrell
Next library review: Basil Street Blues H
Jul 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
“It is cold at six-forty in the morning on a March day in Paris, and seems even colder when a man is about to be executed by firing squad.”

One of the best opening lines ever.

This was a re-read for me, and I am glad I re-read this one.

While the descriptions of the police work are now dated, this is still a great thriller. And I guess, it could even pass as historical fiction now since Forsyth gives a great overview of the political tension between France and Algeria in the 1960s and the presi
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I didn't realize how hooked I was on this book until I was actually dismayed at the thought of the Jackal being caught by the detective.

The story is about a fictional assassination attempt on Charles de Gaulle. The OAS has a grudge against de Gaulle and after several failed assassination attempts they realize that they have a leak and they decide to hire a professional assassin. It's very suspenseful and, more importantly, the whole thing was very realistic and highly plausible. I completely lov
Lewis Weinstein
Jul 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The beginning of a genre. Still powerful today. An excellent example of how to create tension when you know the outcome (DeGaulle was not assassinated!)
Executive Summary: Slow at times, but with a great finish. I liked but didn't love this one.

Audiobook: Simon Prebble is a great narrator. I liked him more in the last book I read by him, but he speaks clearly with good inflection and adds some voices into the mix. He was a good fit for this book making the audio a good option for this book.

Full Review
Apparently the real life "Carlos the Jackal" was given his nickname because this book was spotted on him. I'm not sure if that's true, but I ha
La Tonya  Jordan
Mar 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to La Tonya by: Thirller Book Group
Shelves: favorites
My impression is that the book started off slow giving you so much detail about Algeria, OAS, and other secret services. This book is a true story; therefore, to me it starts to get good when the Jackal enters the novel. It kept me in suspense and excitement because I did not know the Jackal's next move or how clever he could be to alter his plans when necessary.

The French police working with other countries' security forces to track one man seems unreal. But, the respect people of different ba
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
It doesn't matter to write one more review about this book when it has already received zillions of accolades but i couldn't stop myself to write a crisp review.
ahhh.. What a book ,Loved it thoroughly. Can't find any book in this genre even close to it. Very nicely written.

I picked this book with great expectations and Frederick Forsyth lived up to my expectation. Thanks to Forsyth for being very astute in the realm of international intrigue, will keep u hooked till the last page. If you are in
Nandakishore Varma
Sep 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
This was the quintessential thriller during my teens, where we keep on rooting for the villain while praying at the same time that he doesn't succeed. "The Jackal" has become an iconic figure.
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Frederick Forsyth, CBE is an English author and occasional political commentator. He is best known for thrillers such as The Day of the Jackal, The Odessa File, The Fourth Protocol, The Dogs of War, The Devil's Alternative, The Fist of God, Icon, The Veteran, Avenger, The Afghan, and recently The Cobra and The Kill List.

The son of a furrier, he was born in Ashford, Kent, educated at Tonbridge Scho

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