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Our Kind of Traitorby John Le Carre
"The week I opened up John le Carre's latest bitter excavation of the spiritual affinities of criminal Russians and their Western counterparts, ten Russian spies under deep cover for somewhat indeterminate purposes were rounded up in America. Meanwhile, in Siberia, the mayor of a fishing village on Lake Baikal was on trial at the behest of the FSB, the country's chief domestic security agency, charged with abuse of power for having filed suit (on public safety grounds) against a resort under construction. (The resort in question happened to be owned by the FSB.) I could practically hear le Carre chuckle offstage. The Cold War may have ended in ambiguous triumph, but the new world is not running short of sinister material for the master transnational moralist of our time. In le Carre's world, apparent coincidence is only a conspiracy yet unmasked. He is, like the British agents who pull strings throughout his latest adventure in unintended consequences, 'professionally disposed against the workings of chance.'" Todd Gitlin, The New Republic (Read the entire New Republic review)
Synopses & Reviews
The unrivaled master of spy fiction returns with a taut and suspenseful of dirty money and dirtier politics.
For nearly half a century, John le Carré's limitless imagination has enthralled millions of readers and moviegoers around the globe. From the cold war to the bitter fruits of colonialism to unrest in the Middle East, he has reinvented the spy novel again and again. Now, le Carré makes his Viking debut with a stunning tour-de-force that only a craftsman of his caliber could pen. As menacing and flawlessly paced as The Little Drummer Girl and as morally complex as The Constant Gardener, Our Kind of Traitor is signature le Carré.
Perry and Gail are idealistic and very much in love when they splurge on a tennis vacation at a posh beach resort in Antigua. But the charm begins to pall when a big-time Russian money launderer enlists their help to defect. In exchange for amnesty, Dima is ready to rat out his vory (Russian criminal brotherhood) compatriots and expose corruption throughout the so-called legitimate financial and political worlds. Soon, the guileless couple find themselves pawns in a deadly endgame whose outcome will be determined by the victor of the British Secret Service's ruthless internecine battles.
"Those readers who have found post-cold war le Carré too cerebral will have much to cheer about with this Russian mafia spy thriller. While on holiday in Antigua, former Oxford tutor Perry Makepiece and his lawyer girlfriend, Gail Perkins, meet Dmitri 'Dima' Vladimirovich Krasnov, an avuncular Russian businessman who challenges Perry to a tennis match. Even though Perry wins, Dima takes a shine to the couple, and soon they're visiting with his extended family. At Dima's request, Perry conveys a message to MI6 in England that Dima wishes to defect, and on arriving home, Perry and Gail receive a summons from MI6 to a debriefing. Not only is Dima a Russian oligarch, he's also one of the world's biggest money launderers. Le Carré ratchets up the tension step-by-step until the sad, inevitable end. His most accessible work in years, this novel shows once again why his name is the one to which all others in the field are compared. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"While other novelists are doing everything they can to inflate their tales of cloak and dagger, trust le Carré to make his story of international money laundering, political infighting and unwitting treachery into a chamber symphony of exquisite delicacy." Kirkus Reviews
"It is a complex but fascinating subject, and le Carré dissects it brilliantly....In the world as le Carré finds it, grace under pressure is about as good as it gets." Booklist
"Le Carré's execution is perfect. There are no narrative missteps. His gift at character shorthand is as strong as ever... It is always a pleasure to be in the hands of an entirely competent writer." New York Times
"A tale that rings with authenticity at every stage.... If a better thriller than Our Kind of Traitor has been published this year, I'd like to see it." Washington Post
"As fresh as this morning's dish on Twitter and as nerve-racking as the evening news, this novel is sure to thrill faithful fans and attract newcomers.... A sure bet." Library Journal
The unrivaled master of spy fiction returns with a taut and suspenseful novel of dirty money and dirtier politics. Perry and Gail are idealistic and very much in love when they splurge on a tennis vacation at a posh beach resort in Antigua. But the charm begins to pall when a big-time Russian money launderer enlists their help to defect.
A counter-terrorist operation, codenamed Wildlife, is being mounted on the British crown colony of Gibraltar. Its purpose: to capture and abduct a high-value jihadist arms buyer. Its authors: an ambitious Foreign Office Minister, a private defense contractor who is also his bosom friend, and a shady American CIA operative of the evangelical far-right. So delicate is the operation that even the Ministers personal private secretary, Toby Bell, is not cleared for it.
Three years later, a disgraced Special Forces Soldier delivers a message from the dead. Was Operation Wildlife the success it was cracked up to be—or a human tragedy that was ruthlessly covered up? Summoned by Sir Christopher (Kit”) Probyn, retired British diplomat, to his decaying Cornish manor house, and closely observed by Kits daughter, Emily, Toby must choose between his conscience and duty to his Service. If the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing, how can he keep silent?
"Haven't you realized that only appearances matter?"
The British Embassy in Bonn is up in arms. Her Majesty's financially troubled government is seeking admission to Europe's Common Market just as anti-British factions are rising to power in Germany. Rioters are demanding reunification, and the last thing the Crown can afford is a scandal. Then Leo Harting—an embassy nobody—goes missing with a case full of confidential files. London sends Alan Turner to control the damage, but he soon realizes that neither side really wants Leo found—alive.
Set against the threat of a German-Soviet alliance, John le Carré's A Small Town in Germany is a superb chronicle of Cold War paranoia and political compromise.
With an introduction by the author.
About the Author
John le Carré is the nom-de-plume of David Cornwell, who was a member of the British Foreign Service from 1959 to 1964. He has written twenty-one novels that have been published in thirty-six languages around the world.
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