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A Most Wanted Man [Paperback]

John Le Carré
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

25 Jun 2009

A half-starved young Russian man in a long black overcoat is smuggled into Hamburg at dead of night. He has an improbable amount of cash secreted in a purse round his neck. He is a devout Muslim. Or is he? He says his name is Issa.

Annabel, an idealistic young German civil rights lawyer, determines to save Issa from deportation. Soon her client's survival becomes more important to her than her own career. In pursuit of Issa's mysterious past, she confronts the incongruous Tommy Brue, the sixty-year-old scion of Brue Frères, a failing British bank based in Hamburg.

A triangle of impossible loves is born.

Meanwhile, scenting a sure kill in the so-called War on Terror, the spies of three nations converge upon the innocents.

Poignant, compassionate, peopled with characters the reader never wants to let go, A MOST WANTED MAN is alive with humour, yet prickles with tension until the last heart-stopping page. It is also a work of deep humanity, and uncommon relevance to our times.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre; 1st Paperback edition (25 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340977086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340977088
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 162,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John le Carré was born in 1931. His third novel, THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, secured him a wide reputation which was consolidated by the acclaim for his trilogy TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, THE HONOURABLE SCHOOLBOY and SMILEY'S PEOPLE. His other novels include THE CONSTANT GARDENER, A MOST WANTED MAN and OUR KIND OF TRAITOR.

Product Description

Review

One of the most sophisticated fictional responses to the war on terror yet published. ( Guardian )

A first-class novel about the most pressing moral and political concerns of our time. ( Telegraph )

le Carré is back on form in a cracking terror plot. ( Daily Express )

Wry, warm, compassionate. ( The Times )

A cautionary tale, rich in humanity, from a master storyteller back at the peak of his powers. ( Glasgow Herald )

This is black, brilliant, hypnotic stuff and yet another reason to count le Carré among this country's very finest contemporary writers. Unhesitatingly recommended. ( Independent on Sunday )

Book Description

A wonderful, classic le Carré now reissued in a stunning new package.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Erratic and Enigmatic 4 Nov 2009
By A. Ross TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I have to admit I haven't read any Le Carré in years -- and after this book, I doubt I will for years to come. In simple terms, it's the story of a half-Chechen illegal immigrant in Hamburg who is trying to lay claim on the considerable loot his dead father (a Russian military officer) salted away in a private bank. He manages to find legal aid in the form of a humorless, well-connected female lawyer, who acts as his intermediary in discussions with the 60ish English banker who controls this "dirty" account. At the same time, it tells a parallel story of competing German intelligence agencies seeking the Chechen as a possible terrorist, and the eventual involvement of British and American espionage agencies.

Actually, that description probably makes the book sound better than it is. The big flaw is that several of the key characters, especially the lawyer and the Chechen claimant, are both thinly drawn and really annoying. For the majority of the book, the Chechen is erratic and enigmatic, and I kept waiting for Le Carré to do a big reveal and let us in on what his true nature is -- alas, this never happens. That's kind of the problem with the whole book -- it builds very very slowly, almost teasing the reader with its deliberate pace and shadowy corners, only to climax in an incredibly weak ending.

Which is not to say the book is totally without bright spots. The banker character is reasonably sympathetic and compelling, as is the main German intelligence agent (both are assisted by coolly able women, who are fun supporting cast members in their own right). And despite the thinness of many characters, Le Carré still manages to do a nice job getting at the psychology of the post-9/11 intelligence community.
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137 of 146 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Return of the Master 27 Sep 2008
By G. J. Oxley TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Unbelievable to think it now, but the feeling a few years ago was that Le Carre and his fellow spy writers would struggle for storylines with the collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War. But the numerous civil wars around the world, particularly in Africa and Asia, and the west's War on Terror have proven a most fertile ground for new plots.

All the action in `A Most Wanted Man' takes place in Hamburg, where an emaciated, illegal Chechen muslim immigrant, Issa Karpov, persuades a Turkish mother and son to take him in after following the son around for a few days.

Issa bears all the signs of having recently been tortured and he's a wanted man both in Sweden (from where he was smuggled in) and his homeland. Helped by human rights lawyer Annabel Richter, and Tommy Brue, a Scottish private banker who operates in the city, he apparently wishes only to qualify as a doctor to help those back home. He appears to be the son of a deceased Russian gangster, who opened an illegal account (a `Lipizzaner' - like the horse) with Tommy Brue's father back in Vienna before the bank relocated. And now Issa wishes to use that 'bad' money (some $12.5m) for the greater good. The German, British and American secret services are aware of him and in turn, wish to use HIM as bait to capture a bigger prize...

The plot is as complex as we've come to expect from the grand old man, and the humour just as sly and knowing. The motives of the leading players are deliberately hidden and almost right up until the very last page we're clueless as to how it will all end up.

He's great at portraying the duplicity, triplicity and even quadriplicity (I almost certainly made at least one of these words up!) in the spy world, and how no one can be taken at face value.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Espionage through the eyes of the Master 24 Oct 2008
By Julia Flyte TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Afficiandos of the John le Carre spy novel come in at least three basic types. There are many who savor a contemporary, stylish and intriguing plot with fully drawn (and inevitably fallible) characters. There are those who simply appreciate good writing. And then some who expect both.

None will be disappointed by A Most Wanted Man.

In this, his 21st novel, Le Carre returns to his roots: to a post-Cold War Germany and the internecine warfare of competing intelligence agencies (both domestic and international), balancing the conflicting consequences of illegal immigration, religion and the War on Terror.

Le Carre's unique literary style - long, complex, descriptive word paintings (the antithesis of modern, crisp journalism and airport potboiler novels) - draws the reader in from the first page. All his characters, whether principal players or bit parts, emerge fully rounded in all their capabilities and flaws. Each is human, realistic and memorable.

The plot is tantalising. Who is "this most wanted man"? Whom are we to like? Whom to trust? Apparently innocent bystanders, struggling to survive in the new Europe and wanting to believe in their future, are drawn into the action and suffer collateral damage in a contest that is superficially about terrorism but in reality between competing, morally corrupt intelligence agencies - the cream of the espiocracy.

Le Carre slowly, carefully unpeels his onion, layer by layer, to expose its inevitable, venal core. However in his world of deceit, disillusion and bureaucratic testosterone there are ultimately no winners, no solutions, no happy endings. Le Carre's world is not like that.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
un put downable
Published 3 days ago by Mr A Riding
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of his best.
Not one of the more memorable Le Carre novels and certainly not one I'll read again.
Published 5 days ago by Andrew Fraser
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent story
Published 5 days ago by Jono B
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The usual excellent Le Carre tale
Published 16 days ago by Mr. P. Marshall
4.0 out of 5 stars Left me wanting for more
With Corbijn's film around the corner I thought about diving into Le Carre's source text. And was absolutely gobsmacked by this little thing of beauty. Read more
Published 19 days ago by coronaurora
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it!
This book is amazing. Can't wait for the film now which is out next week!
Published 22 days ago by J Kirby
5.0 out of 5 stars Just superb!
Le Carre tells a very topical story that cannot fail to shock even the most cynical reader. We know that there is duplicity, agenda building, hypocrisy and lies in the security... Read more
Published 29 days ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Hard work for what?
As exciting as paint drying! The new film must have been incubated on another continent.
I feel quite virtuous having managed to finish it.
John.
Published 1 month ago by Prof John S. Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
GREAT MANY THANKS
Published 1 month ago by yvonne
4.0 out of 5 stars well written and intriguing but lacks the "Le Carré-ish...
"A Most Wanted Man" is one of the newest Le Carré's, portraying the "new" post cold war spy novels. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jon Dee
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