Synopses & Reviews
"Gripping and moving. . . . A marvelous return to the John le Carre of old, with all the captivating characters, finely rendered landscapes, and messy complexities that have always powered his best work." -San Francisco
Hailed everywhere as a masterpiece of suspense, John le Carre's return to Africa is the story of Bruno Salvador (aka Salvo), the 25-year-old orphaned love child of an Irish missionary and a Congolese woman. Quickly rising to the top of his profession as an interpreter, Salvo is dispatched by British Intelligence to a top-secret meeting between Western financiers and East Congolese warlords, where he hears things not intended for his ears--and is forced to interpret matters never intended for his reawoken African conscience. By turns thriller, love story, and comic allegory of our times, The Mission Song recounts Salvo's heroically naive journey out of the dark of Western hypocrisy and into the heart of lightness.
"Entertaining... Salvo may be the author's most naive creation to date, but he is also one of the most fascinating and engaging... The atmosphere of intrigue builds nicely and convincingly."-Baltimore Sun
"An incendiary tale... Le Carre's understanding of how the world ticks is, as always, machete sharp." -USA TODAY
"To categorize Le Carre, as many do, as a 'spy' novelist is to do him a disservice; he uses the world of cloak-and-dagger much as Conrad used the sea--to explore the dark places in human nature.' -Washington Post Book World
"Le Carre's insight into the dense, dangerous nexus of corporate and government interests is chillingly assured." -New York Times Book Review
"Engaging, masterfully told... The Mission Song offers an emotional resonance that stays with a reader long after the book is done." -Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Bestseller le Carré (The Constant Gardener) brings a light touch to his 20th novel, the engrossing tale of an idealistic and nave British interpreter, Bruno 'Salvo' Salvador. The 29-year-old Congo native's mixed parentage puts him in a tentative position in society, despite his being married to an attractive upper-class white Englishwoman, who's a celebrity journalist. Salvo's genius with languages has led to steady work from a variety of employers, including covert assignments from shadowy government entities. One such job enmeshes the interpreter in an ambitious scheme to finally bring stability to the much victimized Congo, and Salvo's personal stake in the outcome tests his professionalism and ethics. Amid the bursts of humor, le Carré convincingly conveys his empathy for the African nation and his cynicism at its would-be saviors, both home-grown patriots and global powers seeking to impose democracy on a failed state. Especially impressive is the character of Salvo, who's a far cry from the author's typical protagonist but is just as plausible. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Metaphors abound, both in deeds and words, and le Carré maintains a tight, three-act plot....Another fine work of intrigue from a skilled interpreter of all things topical." Kirkus Reviews
"The start is slow and the middle mind-boggling, but pay attention and you'll pick up le Carré's ingenious tune. (Grade: B+)" Entertainment Weekly
"The opening half of this novel is a bit static the dynamics of multilingual interpretation are difficult to convey in print but the power of the human drama takes hold toward the end." Booklist
"[A] marvelous return to the John le Carré of old, with all the captivating characters, finely rendered landscapes and messy complexities that have always powered his best work." San Francisco Chronicle
"[I]t is good to see le Carré, at 74, moving briskly again, trying on irony for size and permitting the pain his hero and heroine suffer to be lightly measured instead of heavily tragic." Los Angeles Times
"The Mission Song is the riveting work of a master." Denver Post
"At 74, le Carré is as astute as ever. This is his 20th novel, and his understanding of how the world ticks is, as always, machete sharp. It's all part of his brilliance as a writer and a thinker." USA Today
"As if to defy his critics, le Carré's latest novel...engages the complexity of contemporary international relations by focusing on the language that expresses it the language of diplomatic obfuscation and corporate newspeak." New York Times
"[S]lightly sub-par le Carre still beats 95 percent of everything else in the field." Baltimore Sun
"It turns out that truth is better than fiction, but, when it comes to le Carré, fiction is always better written." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"Even in his mid-seventies, Le Carré is still a master of cloak and dagger....And he is deeply attuned to the billions of ways in which Africa is well and truly fucked. What he lacks in The Mission Song
, however, is a narrator who can tell his story with the gravitas it deserves. For a novel with so much to say including some trenchant things about the West's cynical manipulation of Africa it's a shame that much of it gets lost in translation." Ben Hughes, Esquire
(read the entire Esquire review
A naive young interpreter stumbles into the heart of an outrageous British plot in the astonishing new novel by the master of the literary thriller.
Abandoned by both his Irish father and Congolese mother, Bruno Salvador has long looked for someone to guide his life. He has found it in Mr. Anderson of British Intelligence.
Bruno's African upbringing, and fluency in numerous African languages, has made him a top interpreter in London, useful to businesses, hospitals, diplomats and spies. Working for Anderson in a clandestine facility known as the "Chat Room," Salvo (as he's known) translates intercepted phone calls, bugged recordings, snatched voice mail messages. When Anderson sends him to a mysterious island to interpret during a secret conference between Central African warlords, Bruno thinks he is helping Britain bring peace to a bloody corner of the world. But then he hears something he should not have...
Building upon the box office success of le Carré's The Constant Gardener (like The Mission Song, built around turmoil and conspiracy in Africa) and le Carré's laser eye for the complexity of the modern world (seen in Absolute Friends' prediction that the Iraq war would be based on phony and manipulated intelligence), this new novel is a crowning achievement, full of politics, heart, and the sort of suspense that nobody in the world does better.
Hailed everywhere as a masterpiece of suspense, John le Carré's return to Africa is the story of Bruno Salvador (aka Salvo), the 25-year-old orphaned love child of an Irish missionary and a Congolese woman. Quickly rising to the top of his profession as an interpreter, Salvo is dispatched by British Intelligence to a top-secret meeting between Western financiers and East Congolese warlords, where he hears things not meant for his ears - and is forced to interpret matters never intended for his reawoken African conscience. By turns thriller, love story, and comic allegory of our times, THE MISSION SONG
"Think of David Oyelowo as a single musician playing all the instruments in a symphony. That is essentially what he manages in this inspired performance of John le Carré's suspense novel about a planned coup in the Congo and the interpreter of mixed parentage who wrestles with his conscience and his past to determine what he is to do about it. The cast of characters is wide and exotic, and Oyelowo's capacity to invest them not only with sumptuous accents but also distinctive, often biting personality is matchless. Can it really have been only one man in the narrator's recording booth? This virtuoso performance makes that seem impossible." --AudioFile Magazine
WINNER OF AUDIOFILE EARPHONES
About the Author
John le Carré is the author of numerous classic, bestselling novels, including The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Little Drummer Girl, and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Several of his novels have been made into major motion pictures, including The Constant Gardener, The Tailor of Panama, and The Russia House. In the 1950s he worked for British Intelligence. He lives in Cornwall, England.