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Sunday, 16 September, 2001, 14:23 GMT 15:23 UK
Forsyth dropped 'far-fetched' plot
Frederick Forsyth
Forsyth: Called on governments to "strike back"
Thriller writer Frederick Forsyth has revealed he considered writing a novel based on a terrorist flying a plane into a skyscraper almost 20 years ago.

But he dropped the plot because readers would find it too implausible and it would be too easy to copy.

He had the idea after 241 US Marines were killed when a terrorist drove a truck filled with explosives into a barracks outside Beirut in 1983.

"I had a what-if idea for a new novel: supposing that young martyr had flying training," he wrote in a letter to the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

"Could he not fly an airliner instead of a truck into the side of a skyscraper?"

Forsyth was afraid of his plots being copied
Forsyth was afraid of his plots being copied
Plane hijackings happened "almost on a monthly basis" at the time, Forsyth said.

But he said such a storyline would not be given credibility by readers.

And another "more powerful" reason was that he did not want to describe a scheme that could be imitated by terrorists.

Last month, a Columbian army spokesman said one of the alleged IRA members arrested in the country had copied Forsyth's novel The Day of the Jackal and stolen the identity of a dead child.

Notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal acquired his nickname after a journalist found a copy of The Day of the Jackal in his flat.

And two years ago, a plot outlined in the same book was copied by benefit cheats who claimed more than 100,000 illegally.

'No compromise'

Forsyth has also called on world governments to strike back against the US bombers.

He criticised leaders for being "complacent" and "deluded" that they could live with low-grade terrorism in the past.

"There is no point in compromise now," he wrote.

Forsyth is also the author of The Dogs of War, The Odessa File and The Fourth Protocol.


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See also:

17 Dec 99 | Northern Ireland
Fiction fraudsters escape jail
01 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Forsyth makes net debut
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