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A Forsyth e-saga PDF Print E-mail

Ebook enthusiast Thomas Dohling emailed while trying to find the eBook of Frederick Forsyth's short story, The Shepherd.

The title didn't ring bells. But the author did, naturally. Forsyth was one of those strange phenomenain the book world: A story captures public attention somehow and takes off astronomically.

Rather like the shady tale of greys, and children's author, J K, now elbowing her way into adult fiction. Only, it has to be said, that Forsyth - nor anyone - seems to have matched the astonishing rise of Ms R.

Wikipedia records, 'His (Forsyth's) first full length novel, The Day of the Jackal, was published in 1971. It became an international bestseller and gained its author the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel.'

The story has the Organisation Armée Secrète (a real-life terrorist group, apparently) hire an assassin to kill then-French President Charles de Gaulle. It was made into a film of the same name.

To Forsyth's credit, I have to say, I've not seen any of those DCMA demands which come over the pond from the publishers of wealthy writers, including to her shame, that Scots gal and her publishing wonder.

Thomas contacted me hoping, in a way, to get more of Forsyth. However, it wasn't that Thomas desired more after ploughing through many pages. He looked at the package that shot across the world in the web miracle and it weighed much less than novels. Thomas wrote, 'It contains only 23 pages (47.1 KB), compared to 500KB and above in others ebooks. It appears to be incomplete. Do you have the complete ebook?'

From story to screen

I bought The Day of the Jackal back then, and intrigued by the way he set the story, went on to buy the next, The Odessa File, and the next, The Dogs of War. These two became popular fims, too, so one images that Mr Forsyth lives a contented life these days.

This is not to overlook the continuing success he enjoyed. There were other stories with international settings that won applause.

When I had the chance to buy a Forsyth collection in an eBook format, I grabbed it. I thought his witing would be very interesting to study. I confess I didn't get very far with the collection. But it gets its visitors on eBookTrove-dot-com and I presume it is borrowed, or e-borrowed, often for holiday reading.

Thomas Dohling was one of them. He had presumed that The Shepherd was a novel. That Wikipedia article refers to it as a novella. 'The Shepherd was an illustrated novella published in 1975. It tells of a nightmare journey by an RAF pilot while flying home for Christmas in the late 1950s. His attempts to find a rational explanation for his eventual rescue prove as troublesome as his experience.'

It was published just four years after the Jackal. Cynics could be forgiven for imagining that popularity had someone searching for simply anything he had written. I believe it is fair to say that it's not Forsyth's finest work. However, it did impress broadasters in Canada, and apparently gets read on the air every Christmas.

Fans of Forsyth will know that his novels were still appearing, up to 2006, as the Wikipedia piece relates.

Recommended, Thomas?

I asked Thomas about his choice because visitors to Trove appreciate recommendations.

I do enjoy Forsyth's novels. I was wondering if you'd have Robert Ludlum's ebooks. I had a number of his novels in Shillong but they aren't there any more. Since my nieces don't quite read novels (the younger generation is more into other activities than reading novels!), they hadn't taken care of my novels! I'm now enjoying P G Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster tele series, having downloaded them from YouTube. I'm buying the ultimate Sherlock Holmes, Poirot and Marple BBC series (DVD) locally, at rather affordable rates (around 33 Pound sterling, your currency). I haven't read The Shepherd yet. Will give an opinion after I manage to read it!

I haven't seen - or don't remember seeing - any of Wodehouse's stories as film, but I have enjoyed reading him. Yes, I recognise the nieces' syndrome when it comes to reading. Lucky the child who is introduced to the magic of reading early in life. I'll be keen to hear what you make of The Shepherd.

Sorry, but the file is only 19 pages long each.

Wikipedia ( describes it as a novella. In print, it has 54 pages. In pdf format, we have 19 pages. So I assume it wasn't much more than a short story. I'd better have a quick skim through.

It isn't as gripping as his longer novels!

It certainly doesn't sound gripping, Thomas, and if it really is broadcast every Christmas by Canadian radio, I'd suspect that even more so. I haven't really got the time, but as it seems to be a short short story, I'll go through it.

Don't bother! It's okay.

In a manner of speaking, Thomas, I took The Shepherd to bed, and can report that it's all there. Sorry, it's not really recommended. It might have been written as homework, or an assignment based on research. Strangely, in so many ways, it's all denouement. He lays out the story verbosely, almost as if he is padding tto make it reach a certain number of word. The drama happens early on and then follows the long explanation about the mysterious saviour - seemingly a dead airman. Apologies to report that sttory is not really recommended - IMHO.

Thank you for researching the book and the final suggestion!

Forsyth stories on Trove
Robert Ludlum on Trove

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