|The son of shopkeepers, Frederick Forsyth left his home in England at the age of 17 and traveled to Spain to study Spanish, only to find himself more interested in becoming a matador. Two years later, he eschewed a college education to become the RAF's youngest pilot. Following his service in the air force, Forsyth worked as a reporter for Reuters and the BBC, but after 13 years in journalism, he turned his talents toward writing novels, a vocation which quickly brought him fame. His first novel, "The Day of the Jackal" (1971), won numerous awards and became an instant international hit. He followed this novel with an unbroken string of best-selling thrillers, often basing the plots on little-known historical facts. Forsyth builds his thrillers using a delicate balance of suspense meant to slowly pull the reader toward a climactic finish, at the same time remaining careful to paint the slightest details, ensuring both accuracy and credibility.