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Three Complete Novels [The Day of the Jackal / The Odessa File / The Dogs… (1978)

av Frederick Forsyth

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I like this 1980 trilogy edition because of its preface written by the author who describes his creative process. Mr. Forsyth's style is what links those three stories and perhaps their heroes/anti-heroes: an assassin, a Commissaire, a journalist/an ex-Nazi, a mercenary.

The Day of the Jackal, published in 1971gained its author the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel.
In this book, Forsyth - later turned conservative politician - describes with some empathy the inner operating activities of the "Organisation Armée Secrète" which tried to revert the policies of France in respect to the independence of Algeria:
"It is cold at 6:40 in the morning of a March day in Paris, and seems even colder when a man is about to be executed by a firing squad."

Mr. Forsyth wrote that his anti-hero, the assassin hired by the discomfited OAS leaders shortly after the failed Petit-Clamart assasination attempt on Charles de Gaulle, France's President, had to have "no face, no passport, no documents on file, he must have no name."
He explains his creative process:
"I rolled the first sheet through the typewriter and, two-fingered as always, pecked out the words: "The Day of the Jackal".
Commissaire Lebel then hunts the elusive Jackal accross France just in time to avoid his terrorist action. "The day of the Jackal was over"
This chase over a period of 5 months is well written and led at a brisk pace.

In Forsyth's second full-length novel, The Odessa File (1972), a reporter infiltrates and exposes an organization which gathers ex-Nazi SS officers in modern Germany. The conducting thread being given to him by the discovery of the diary of a Jewish Holocaust survivor. I have good memories of the movie starring Jon Voight.

The Dogs of War (1974) is a brilliant story over how business interests step in governmental affairs in Africa. It is seen through the eyes of a mercenary hired by a mining company to overthrow a government and replace it with a more business friendly figure head. It is historically situated after the secessions, Katanga, Biafra and has a late 1960's atmosphere throughout.

I do not recall that the 1981 movie, starring Christopher Walken and Tom Berenger explained with so much details as in the book how Shannon puts the crew and the logistics together for what has to be a brief intervention from the sea.
The whole affair is described with feelings for the woeful plight of mineral rich Africa and set in an imaginary country which could be Liberia or South Sudan nowadays:
"There were no stars that night on the bush airstrip, nor any moon:just the West African darkness wrapping round the scattered groups like warm, wet velvet."
With the ease of an accomplished journalist, Mr. Forsyth guides his readers through the meanders of complex situations and knows how to build a suspensful ending to each of his stories. ( )
1 rösta Artymedon | May 19, 2012 |
Jackal's good; Odessa's OK; and Dogs is poor. ( )
  nancyboy | Sep 18, 2008 |
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