cover image The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue

The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue

Frederick Forsyth. Putnam, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-0-399-17607-4

British author Forsyth’s real life has been almost as thrilling as the stories he’s created in his 15 novels. In this collection of autobiographical vignettes, Forsyth details his many once-in-a-lifetime experiences that helped shaped his work, including the inspiration for his debut novel, 1971’s spy classic The Day of the Jackal. A twist of fate allowed Forsyth to enter the Royal Air Force—his boyhood dream—at the unlikely age of 17. He crashed his 1949 MG sports car in 1960 and spent three days in a coma, then received his big break when the Reuters news agency sent him to Paris as a foreign correspondent to cover the uprising against French President Charles de Gaulle. And Forsyth claims to have almost started World War III. Eventually, Forsyth made the switch to broadcast journalism and joined the British Broadcasting Corporation in 1965, deflecting death in the African jungle during the Nigerian Civil War of the late 1960s before turning to fiction. Forsyth packs his stories with history both personal and global, and writes with the charm of a man recounting his escapades to grown grandchildren, making this a riveting and refreshing memoir. [em](Oct.) [/em]