2 Nov 2013

French spy writer dies aged 83

10:04 am on 2 November 2013

Best-selling French spy thriller writer Gerard de Villiers has died in Paris at the age of 83.

De Villiers wrote 200 books in his SAS series, which have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide.

The hero of the books, Austrian aristocrat Malko Linge, is often seen as the French answer to James Bond.

Starting in 1965, de Villiers churned the books out at the rate of four a year, the BBC reports.

The literary world despised the books, which have been described as formulaic.

De Villiers had been battling cancer and his lawyer says the death followed a long illness.

His 200th book was released last month.