Book Talk: Frederick Forsyth on new hunt for an assassin

Thu Oct 3, 2013 5:42am EDT
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By Billy Cheung

NEW YORK (Reuters) - More than 40 years after the release of his international best-selling espionage novel "The Day of the Jackal," British author Frederick Forsyth has published another thriller that also focuses on a manhunt for an assassin.

"The Kill List" draws upon Forsyth's research into some of the latest advances in counterterrorism to track down a fictional Muslim terrorist called The Preacher, who somewhat resembles Anwar al-Awlaki, the real-life al Qaeda militant who died in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011.

Like "The Day of the Jackal" and three other Forsyth novels, the film rights for "The Kill List" have already been sold.

Forsyth, 75, spoke to Reuters about the research behind the book and literary transformations to the big screen.

Q: The novel's plot unfolds in several cities, including Islamabad and Mogadishu. Can you describe how you put together such a detailed narrative?

A: For scenes that I have to describe at length, I like to visit to see first-hand. Of course, there are places where you cannot literally gain access. In those cases, I usually try to track down someone who had either been or worked there before.

In preparation for this book, I spent a fair amount of time around the Washington Beltway, which is a very intensive area for new consultancy and cyberspace corporations, and then Pakistan.

The toughest place of all was Mogadishu. I did not like many of the descriptions that I had read of the area since I did not think those authors had been there. If I wanted to get this really right, not just in terms of the geography but the smell and atmosphere of the place, I had to go there.   Continued...