Book of the Week

The Outsider: My Life In Intrigue by Frederick Forsyth.  PA Photo/Bantam Press.
The Outsider: My Life In Intrigue by Frederick Forsyth. PA Photo/Bantam Press.

The Outsider: My Life In Intrigue by Frederick Forsyth is published in hardback by Bantam Press, priced £20 (ebook £8.03).

The Day Of The Jackal writer Forsyth has made headlines with this book, in which he reveals that while a reporter behind the Iron Curtain, in Africa in the 1960s and later, he had an occasional sideline with MI6. These are matters only really mentioned in passing in what is ultimately an adventure focusing mainly on Forsyth’s pre-Jackal days, first as a Reuters reporter in Paris and East Berlin at the height of the Cold War, and then as a BBC staffer and freelancer in Biafra. It’s full of derring-do, be it battling Communists or being embedded with Biafran rebels in the short-lived but horrific Nigerian civil war in the late 1960s, an assignment that seems to have deeply affected him since. Indeed it sometimes feels amazing Forsyth ever sits still long enough to write novels, as a lifelong desire to go see the world runs like a pulse throughout the book. It occasionally has a distinctly old-fashioned feel to it - no surprise given Forsyth’s age - but it provides a fascinating glimpse into the mind of the man, and also into the events he has witnessed.

7/10

Review by David Wilcock