If you love high quality printing, the feel of a hefty hardback in your hand, the smell of ink, paper and binding glue, as well as artful illustrations with your crime fiction, then this is the book for you. The Folio Society, which specialises in reprinting classics using the classiest of traditional production values, has turned its eye on The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth.
This 1971 thriller was a worldwide bestseller and won the Edgar Award for Best Novel. It has been added to in this edition with an introduction by Ken Follett, a preface by Frederick Forsyth, and 15 illustrations by Tatsuro Kiuchi whose designs also feature on the cover. It comes in a dramatic red slipcase with a die-cut hole in it (below). Through the hole you can see a silhouette of Charles de Gaulle with is trademark military cap. But slide the book out of its case and the silhouette becomes a mere detail reflected in the sunglasses of the assassin. See the images below.
The Day of the Jackal details the efforts of security forces to prevent the assassination of the French president. An extremist French political group has him in their cross-hairs and Claude Lebel, deputy commissioner of the Police Judiciare is charged with firstly identifying the key perpetrator, and secondly hunting him down.
The story was inspired by a real plot to kill de Gaulle in the 1960s, which Forsyth fictionalised. Later, an actual terrorist was dubbed The Jackal – Ilich Ramírez Sánchez – because it was believed he had read the book. Today he’s serving a life sentence for his crimes.
Several films have been based on or inspired by the story, and Frederick Forsyth went on to forge a stellar career writing political and espionage thrillers. In 2012, he was awarded the Crime Writers Association Diamond Dagger. However, as yet, jackals have not been recognised with their own official day.
The 408-page book sells for £34.95. However, watch our Facebook page on Saturdays. We’ve got a copy to give away and we’re going to put it up for grabs soon. To find out more about the book, visit the Folio Society website.
De Gaulle, seen through the hole in the slipcase. Is it a metaphor for the shooter’s rifle sight?
The book’s clever cover design alongside the strategically placed die-cut slipcase.
The red, white and blue ties in with the French flag, and hence the setting.
Rather than separate colour plates, the artist’s illustrations blend with the text’s layout.
More impressive illustration from Tatsuro Kiuchi.