from The Federalist

How Legendary Spy Novelist Frederick Forsyth Learned He’d Been ‘Bowdlerized’


“Good morning. A pleasure to meet you. Please forgive my attire. A difficult night.”

Somewhat disheveled and wearing only a bathrobe and slippers, Frederick Forsyth greeted me from what I assumed to be a favorite armchair in his living room. I felt slightly envious of a man who had reached an age and level of success where he doesn’t care what people think about him and doesn’t need to care.

Crisp, unwrinkled copies of The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph sat neatly on an ottoman in front of him awaiting his inspection. With an unexpected display of strength, his 60-something personal assistant lifted a substantial chair off the floor and moved it close to her employer, inviting me to sit down before she withdrew to get us coffee.

“So what is required of me?” Forsyth began with a formality that belied his ensemble. “An interview, is it?”

Now 85, his impeccable English manners were on display and, once primed, so was his agile mind.

Frederick Forsyth must be considered one of the inventors of the modern thriller novel. The author of such bestsellers as The Day of the JackalThe Odessa FileThe Dogs of War, and The Fourth Protocol, all major Hollywood productions, his career has spanned six decades, and with Eddie Redmayne set to play the Jackal in a television miniseries reboot of the 1971 novel-turned-film, his popularity shows no signs of slowing down, even if he does. To date, Forsyth has sold more than 70 million books in more than 30 languages.

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