The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue
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From the grand master of international suspense comes his most intriguing story ever—his own.
For more than forty years, Frederick Forsyth has been writing extraordinary real-world novels of intrigue, from The Day of the Jackal on. Whether writing about the murky world of arms dealers or the intricacies of worldwide drug cartels, every plot has been chillingly plausible because every detail has been minutely researched. But what most people don’t know is that some of his greatest stories of intrigue have been in his own life.
He was the RAF’s youngest pilot at the age of nineteen, barely escaped the wrath of an arms dealer in Hamburg, got strafed by a MiG during the Nigerian Civil War, landed during a bloody coup in Guinea-Bissau (and has himself been accused of helping fund a 1973 coup in Equatorial Guinea). The Stasi arrested him, the Israelis feted him, the IRA threatened him, and a certain attractive Czech secret police agent, well, her actions were a bit more . . . intimate. And that’s just for starters.
Nominated for the Edgar Award for best critical/biographical work of 2015.
times. I came up out of the valley and approached over the two playing fields known as Martins and Le Flemings. I think I was about six feet up. There was a quick blip to clear the line of elms between Le Flemings and the first X1 cricket pitch, the sacred turf of the Head. Then the school buildings were ahead of me: School House, where the headmaster lived, and Old Big School, the big assembly hall. The school was still on holiday and therefore empty of boys, or, at that hour on a summer
to think I would not survive till morning. Then luck set in. The cottage hospital was not a major unit. It handled mainly domestic and agricultural accidents, plus births and winter chills. On that night, Matron was summoned from her bed and began to call in a few favors. The near body in emergency was stripped of clothing and X-rayed as a team of four was assembled. There was a triangular hole in my skull on the left side with bone fragment embedded inside. A junior surgeon on the staff
King Size, asking the concierge to send them up to the number I figured had to correspond to the window. That night there was a brief flicker from a butane lighter, and that was all. But it was not all fun and games, and yanking the tiger’s tail needed a bit of caution. One of the nastiest pieces of work in the regime was the press secretary to the Politburo, a certain Kurt Blecha. He had perhaps the falsest smile on earth. But I knew a few things about Master Blecha. One was his birthday, and
British tanks pushed Nasser’s forces back to the Suez Canal. That three-day conquest, although fought along the northern rim of Sinai, brought the entire triangular peninsula under Israeli control. And that included the Sinai Bedouin, to whom Dr. Morris had been appointed official medical officer. The Egyptians, who had always treated the Bedouin contemptuously, had never accorded them a doctor. Because Sinai is girt on the west by the Suez Canal, which runs down to become the Red Sea, and on
into East and West, with the capital of West Germany not at Berlin but in Bonn, a small town on the Rhine, chosen because it was Chancellor Adenauer’s hometown. The reason for the impression of occupation was the omnipresence of the NATO forces, which were there not to occupy but to defend; it was NATO that held the line against the expansionist Soviet bloc, which had, until his death in March, been in the grip of the brutal tyrant Joseph Stalin. Westphalia was in the British Zone, which was