The Day of the Jackal (1971) is a thriller novel by English writer Frederick Forsyth, about a professional assassin who is contracted by the OAS, a French terrorist group of the early 1960s, to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France.
The novel received admiring reviews and praise when first published in 1971, and it received a 1972 Best Novel Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America.
While the OAS did exist as described in the novel, and the book opens with an accurate re-enactment of the attempt on the life of President De Gaulle led by Jean-Marie Bastien-Thiry, the remaining plot is fiction.
The book begins with the historical, failed attempt on De Gaulle's life planned by Col. Jean-Marie Bastien-Thiry in the Paris suburb of Petit-Clamart. After Bastien-Thiry's arrest, the French security forces wage a short but extremely vicious "underground" war with the terrorists of the OAS, a militant right-wing group who have labeled De Gaulle a traitor to France after his grant of independence to Algeria. The French secret service is remarkably effective in infiltrating the terrorist organization with their own informants, allowing them to kidnap and neutralize the...