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4.4 out of 5 stars356
4.4 out of 5 stars
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First published in 1993 this novel actually starts in 1991 just after the Gulf War has started. Jonathan Pine is the night manager of the title in a Swiss hotel, and we can see that he is waiting for an important guest to arrive, one that he hates. We then learn of Pine’s past, and why he hates this man, Mr Roper. The year previous due to a woman, Pine handed over certain documents to the British Embassy in Cairo, with fatal consequences.

Pine wants his revenge on Roper, but it will take the intervention of a British intelligence agency to help him. This isn’t James Bond; this is much slower paced and more thoughtful. Roper is an illegal arms dealer and some want him brought down, made an example of, and a warning to others who also carry out the same business, but as you read along here, you see how the real world works. Selling arms illegally is a crime, but it does help to bolster investments, with some institutions not too worried where their money comes from, as long as they see a good return. Roper needs some serious finance to pull off a greatly profitable sale and so he needs backers, and thus starts touting for investors. At the same time an operation to get Pine in with Roper is put under way. But what will the outcome be?

With intelligence agencies in-fighting to have the greatest authority and sway, it looks like the whole operation to bring Roper down could be in jeopardy, and how high does this go? There is a lot of money needed for Roper to do his business, and there are some major financiers involved. Who can trust who, when a single sentence could put someone onto the plan, and a lot of powerful people in the line for prosecution? Pine is on the front line doing his job, but what will his masters do back in London?

With a two edged tale, and some romance thrown in Carré makes you wonder about certain things that go on in the world, and why these carry on, in a story that is just as much about politics as it is about spying. In all this is a great read, which I’m sure many will want to read time and again.
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on 8 February 2016
Great read, I would say typical Mr Le Carre. A must read if this is your genre, even if it's not your genre, still a bloody good read.
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on 4 March 2016
This is Le Carre, I'd give him ten stars if I could. Pity the jacket is showing the latest BBC characters from their adaption (did they read the same book as me?) because they are not the same as the ones I've got in my head, or the ones Le Carre wrote.
One of the best things about the characters in this book is that they are so vivid, they leap from the page taking on a life of their own, all through the day, at odd moments, I find myself thinking about something they have done or said, their stories come back as encounters with 'real' people tend to do.
It's a bad mistake to read the book and watch the TV version at the same time, the TV story bears little resemblance to the book, even the sex of some of them have changed.
There is no doubt whatsoever that as good as it is the TV thing is not nearly as good as the book.
As most of the Le Carre 'hero's' Jonathan Pine is a deeply flawed individual, but that makes his redemptive acts even more heroic. The others around Pine are, mostly, a pathetic and nasty bunch, they mirror the government departments nasty, pathetic acts until Pine becomes Everyman, fighting against the injustices heaped by the Foreign Office/ MI5 /6 on us all.
As ever you don't read Le Carre if you want cheering up or you want to view the world through a warm cosy, glow; you read Le Carre because he's a cynical old ***** and he is one of the best writers living.
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on 6 May 2016
I haven't finished it yet but I must say the book is brilliant especially after watching the TV series. The characters are brought to life after watching the programme. As you would expect the book has far more detail and this authors ability to utilise the English language is excellant. You will not be disappointed, it enhances the TV series ten fold. The different characters and the fine details about them draw you into s story that will hold you and not disappoint.
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on 27 August 2015
A gripping tale, for me the best since The Honourable Schoolboy. Le Carré on awesome form. Can't wait for the BBC adaptation.
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on 9 May 2016
I have to admit I find John LeCarré can be a bit hard going at times. Rather like Dickens he can clog up the action with lengthy description and I find myself speed reading parts of the story. Having said that I enjoyed this immensely. For those expecting a 'book of the series' this story was written 23 years ago and was updated, with the approval of John LeCarré, for the series, which deviates slightly from the book. But who cares, its a good story.
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on 5 March 2016
I could not put this book down. Cracker of a story, beautifully written and an absolute page turner.
A must read.
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on 16 April 2016
I was inspired to read this based on how much I enjoyed the BBC 6-part series that was aired recently (starring Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie - it was awesome!) However the book wasn't and merely reminded me why it has been so long since I've read a le Carre. While the skeleton of the plot is interesting, there is just too much convoluted detail and unnecessary description to make this the kind of gripping spy story I like.
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on 31 March 2016
Far better than the TV series
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on 5 October 2013
Liked this a lot - the author certainly has the touch and obviously has a background in espionage.
Le Carre just seems to know his protagonist(s) so well and his style of writing is good.
I just wish he wouldn't think it necessary to spend wasted time on romance stuff - a waste of time in my opinion and he never gets it right somehow.He should leave the slushy stuff to the chiclit brigade.
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