Born in England on 25 August 1938 in the very small town of Ashford, Frederick Forsyth is an author who hardly needs any introduction. According to Frederick, the size of the town, spurred his curiosity to travel and see the world, a fact that inevitably influenced his writing. Remembering his childhood with fond memories, he still visits the areas where he grew up. As a young boy, he was sent to live in Germany and France by his father for a year in order to learn modern languages.
This was rather unusual for the son of middle-class English shopkeeper in those times as his parents taught him from a young age that money has to be earned only by hard work. He was an only child and grew up in a semi-detached house with an entire top floor to himself. His father’s support and influence was the key to his ultimate success is Frederick’s strong believe as he supported him regardless of what he wanted to do. His ultimate fluency in those two languages earned Frederick a scholarship at the prestigious Tonbridge School. The smart youngster earned his A-levels at a very young age.
He joined the RAF in 1956 to become the youngest pilot in England at the age of 19 years. Two years later at age 21 Frederick followed his dream to become a Foreign Correspondent. The humble Forsyth never considered becoming a writer and claims that it was purely coincidental. After a stint as London news reporter then his decision to work as War Correspondent in Africa for two years, he returned home with nothing to do. His decision to write a novel, which turned out to be a life-changer for him and map his illustrious career as author was his first, The Day of the Jackal.
The blockbuster as it turned out to be was written in just thirty-five days, and the humorous man likes to say that he has slowed down since then by taking forty-five days to complete a novel. His love for investigative journalism shows clearly in his writing with immense research and preparation in all his projects. In Forsyth’s own words, he explained that he wants only the truth and focuses heavily on details instead of making things up as he goes along.
The Day of the Jackal is what Frederick Forsyth is most associated with and his most celebrated. The plot was well researched by Forsyth when he realized the main shortcomings of the OAS, the group of extremists who opposed Charles De Gaulle’s 1961 policy in granting Algeria’s independence. The plot starts in 1962 France at Petit-Clemart with De Gaulle’s failed assignation attempt. The sheer audacity of the attempt drew fury of French Security and their retaliation leaves the extremists with no leader and demoralized ranks.
Lieutenant-Colonel Mark Rodin is introduced as taking command of operations aimed at De Gaulle’s assassination. Rodin undertakes the responsibility in finding an assassin to penetrate the French Security successfully. The Englishman as he was known is the chosen mercenary who is impossible to trace and a professional assassin. Code name the Jackal, the assassin keeps readers edged and interested with intrigues, games of cat-and-mouse and missions.
His second thriller, The ODESSA File that was published in 1974, plays of in 1963 with the main character of the plot, Peter Miller. Living in Hamburg, the freelance journalist stumbles upon an elderly German Jew, Salomon Tauber’s diary after he committed suicide. Tauber committed suicide after sighting a sadistic commander from a concentration camp during the Second World War. S.S. Captain Eduard Roschmann is the target of Miller’s obsession after reading the diary. A group called ODESSA assisted many S.S. to escape after the war and still active in Nazi Germany. ODESSA stops at nothing to protect members and with Israeli Intelligence’s assistance, Miller goes undercover as former S.S. needing assistance from ODESSA. Miller has his own personal reasons for finding Roschmann, which he eventually does even though the leaders of ODESSA find him out. Placing his own life and that of his girlfriend in danger, this book is a nail biter to the end.
His book, The Day of the Jackal was his first to be made into a movie, with his second book The ODESSA File also turned into a movie. In 1987 his thriller, The Fourth Protocol that he wrote in 1984 was filmed with Pierce Brosnan and Michael Caine playing the leads. Forsyth, despite his many successes as thriller writer and his books turned into major blockbusters has one book that stands out to him personally. His proudest work is The Fist of God, which is about the first Gulf War, is his revelation.
Frederik Forsyth has several books adapted for the big screen with his latest book, The Kill List, which was released in August 2013 by Penguin to be adapted. The director Rupert Sanders feels incredibly honored to direct the thriller set in a world of intrigue and international espionage. The plot starts with the deaths of holders of the Public Office in Britain and US. Suicide shooters are the killers and upon investigation, they all lead to the sermons of an Islamic preacher urging the deaths of Western officials. The problem facing former US Marine Corps officer, Kit Carson is not only finding an untraceable preacher, but also untraceable websites.
Still living in England the 76-year-old author was awarded in 1997 for his services to literature by the Queen and honored with the CBE award. Interesting fact is that he grew up in agricultural surroundings in Ashford and that that love remained with him despite all his world traveling. In 1988, be bought a farm near Hertford England, which he adores. Indulging in classic sports cars is another passion of the author and is proud to display his Austin Healy 3000 and Jaguar XKSS. His other passions are snorkeling and diving in the tropics twice a year. Another interesting fact to take note off is the fact that he does not trust computers and does not even do online banking. This great author is not computer literate and wrote all his books on his Japanese typewriter and proud of the fact.
Books in order of publication:
|The Day of the Jackal||(1971)|
|The Odessa File||(1972)|
|The Dogs of War||(1974)|
|The Devil’s Alternative||(1979)|
|The Fourth Protocol||(1984)|
|The Fist of God||(1994)|
|The Phantom of Manhattan||(1999)|
|The Kill List||(2013)|
|The Art of the Matter||(2011)|
Short Story Collections
|The Veteran and Other Stories||(2001)|
|Great Flying Stories||(1991)|
|The Biafra Story: The Making of an African Legend||(1969)|
|The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue||(2015|