'With A Delicate Truth, le Carré has in a sense come home. And it's a splendid homecoming . . . the novel is the most satisfying, subtle and compelling of his recent oeuvre' The Times
A counter-terror operation, codenamed Wildlife, is being mounted in Britain's most precious colony, Gibraltar. Its purpose: to capture and abduct a high-value jihadist arms-buyer. So delicate is the operation that even the Minister's Private Secretary, Toby Bell, is not cleared for it.
Suspecting a disastrous conspiracy, Toby attempts to forestall it, but is promptly posted overseas. Three years on, summoned by Sir Christopher Probyn, retired British diplomat, to his decaying Cornish manor house, and closely watched by Probyn's daughter Emily, Toby must choose between his conscience and his duty to the Service.
If the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing, how can he keep silent?
'No other writer has charted - pitilessly for politicians but thrillingly for readers - the public and secret histories of his times, from the Second World War to the 'War on Terror'' Guardian
'The master of the modern spy novel returns . . . John le Carré was never a spy-turned-writer, he was a writer who found his canvas in espionage' Daily Mail
'A brilliant climax, with sinister deaths, casual torture, wrecked lives and shameful compromises' Observer
State-sanctioned duplicity drives bestseller le Carr 's entertainingly labyrinthine if overly polemical 23rd novel, which features a corrupt British Foreign Office minister, Fergus Quinn, and an American private defense contractor "best known as Ethical Outcomes." In 2008, a cloak-and-dagger plot to capture an arms dealer in Gibraltar under the mantle of counterterrorism goes awry. Quinn's secretary, Toby Bell, who was kept out of the loop, has incriminating information about the mission and the chance to use it three years later when one of the soldiers involved ends up dead and a retired British diplomat, roped into participating against his will, tries to salve his conscience about some nasty pieces of collateral damage. As usual, le Carr (Our Kind of Traitor) tells a great story in sterling prose, but he veers dangerously close to farce and caricature, particularly with the comically amoral Americans. His best work has been about the moral ambiguity of spying, while this novel feels as if the issue of who's bad and who's good is too neatly sewn up.
What a tremendous all-consuming book. Loved it..... kept turning back the pages to reread, not because I had misunderstood, but because I just wanted to read the page again.
A delicate truth and a robust tale
A lucid and lively fictional account of all too real life in a world in which terror begets a sordid juxtaposition of public interest and private profit. Those offended by this dynamic soon realize that a whistleblower lives in a dark and dangerous place.
I am a big fan of Le Carre, but I have to,say this one was disappointing. I can only guess that this was written in haste to meet a deadline and so is rather 'underdone'.
I had trouble believing the actions and motivations of many of the characters. This is just a conspiracy too far for anyone who has worked on government. There are plenty of places for a whistleblower to go before they are forced to email The Guardian.
Waiting in hope for the next one.