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Jan Guillou

Jan Guillou is a popular Swedish author and journalist. He is best known for his series of novels about a Swedish spy, Carl Hamilton, although he has written other things, too. He also revealed a Swedish spy scandal to the public, for which he was put in prison for ten months.

Jan Oscar Sverre Lucien Henri Guillou was born in 1944 in Södertälje. He worked as a journalist for the Folket i Bild - aktuellt in 1966 and 1967 and co-founded the Folket i Bild - Kulturfront magazine, for which he wrote between 1970 and 1977.

Table of contents
1 The IB affair
2 Coq Rouge
3 Crusades trilogy
4 Ondskan
5 Anna Holt

The IB affair

In 1973, Folket i Bild - Kulturfront published a series of articles written by Guillou and Peter Bratt that revealed that Sweden had a secret illegal military intelligence agency (Informationsbuerau or IB for short), similar to the CIA and even spying on Sweden's citizens for political purposes. This became a major political scandal, known as the IB affair (IB-affären). Guillou and Bratt were convicted of espionage.

The original FiB articles in Swedish are on the web.

Coq Rouge

While in prison, Guillou considered how he could write about what he knew without actually writing about it, as he was forbidden to do. He decided to write fictional stories of a Swedish spy. Thus was born the character Carl Hamilton. He is a Swedish spy, a US Navy SEAL with leftist background, dupped Coq Rouge by one of his superiors while he was temporarily in the Säkerhetspolisen. The first Coq Rouge novel was Coq Rouge. It was followed by nine more novels. In the last of them, En medborgare höjd över varje misstanke, Guillou destroyed the character (after reports that Swedish neo-nazis had taken him as their role model - is this true?).

The complete list of Coq Rouge novels:

A partial draft of an eleventh novel, along with Guillou's account on why it cannot be completed, was published as Hamlon in 1995.

A number of film and TV adaptations have been made based on the Hamilton character:

Crusades trilogy

After finishing the Coq Rouge series, Guillou wrote a trilogy about Arn Magnusson, a fictional Swedish character from the Middle Ages who was forced to become a Knight Templar and after returning to Sweden, was a leading military figure shortly before the time of Birger Jarl. The trilogy, dubbed the Crusades trilogy, consists of the following books:

He also wrote a follow-up novel about Birger Jarl, Arvet efter Arn (2001).


Guillou's has also written an autobiographical book about his school years, Ondskan (1981). A film of it (Malice) has just been completed.

Anna Holt

Guillou was a cowriter of the Anna Holt series.