'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.
A Delicate Truth
Very Carre, unputdownable!
Enthralled from the get go
John Le Carre is the master of narrative. First read A Delicate Truth in 2016 and reading it again in 2021 has been just as enthralling. The machinations of government cover ups laid bare for all to see. Probably more pertinent today than ever!
A roller coaster
Slow haul up the long slope of the story then a screaming down the other side at the end. A great read about the outsourcing of the state for private profit. Reflects the trend throughout the public sector.