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442 Reviews
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary
JLC's last bestseller "Our Kind of Traitor" OKT) had a mixed reception in the UK, but was a hit in the US. It drew few comments on the EN section of Amazon.de and Amazon.fr. But tens of thousands or more Germans and French readers must have read the book in translation...
Like OKT, this passionate novel is an assault on Britain's political establishment during the...
Published 20 months ago by Alfred J. Kwak

versus
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unambiguous. A pity.
The story telling is an intriguing as ever. He begins with the main event, and the book is the slow unfurling of the context of the event and the main character's moral and logistical stuggles to do the right thing. As usual with le Carre we have a foreboding that the hero will not win through.

The usual strengths and weaknesses apply , the dialogue is...
Published 10 months ago by Hugh Claffey


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars does the end justify the means?, 9 Jun. 2013
By 
markr - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Delicate Truth (Hardcover)
This is an exciting, and thought provoking, novel which is almost impossible to put down. I read it over one weekend - often keeping on reading when I should have been doing something else,fascinated by the story and how it is unfolded.

The plot is based around a covert operation carried out in Gibralter, which may have gone badly wrong, and the efforts of some of those who have been involved or affected to bring matters out into the open. There is a quality of darkness to the events in this book- wheels within wheels,and the threatening and wielding of power in some of its rawest forms to protect specific interests and those who operate within the wheels.

We can hope that this book is not based on similar real life events - but you will be left wondering about that, and thinking does the end ever justify the means?

Ultimately this is a great novel, with a fast paced, superbly written narrative, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Highly recommended
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Novel of Our Time, 27 Aug. 2013
By 
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This review is from: A Delicate Truth (Kindle Edition)
John le Carre's take on the conflict between the necessity for state secrets and the public's right to know: the conflict between private enterprise and state run institutions. It's a page turner with flawed characters that you can empathise with. At first I found the ending unsatisfactory but with a little time for reflection it is perfect. A real novel of our time.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious, 24 May 2013
By 
Steve HALL (Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Delicate Truth (Kindle Edition)
A terrific read, but worryingly all too plausible. Le Carre's writing pulls the reader headlong through an altogether nightmarish world, which is all too believeable.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, bleak and beautifully written....Le Carre at his very best!! !!, 28 April 2013
By 
A. Macpherson "Phoenix" (Kilchoan, Ardnamurchan, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: A Delicate Truth (Hardcover)
Now in his eighties and still firing on all cylinders....sharp, fluid and ferocious - this is a dark tale of our present troubled times. When you can no longer "speak truth to power" the whistle blower must "speak truth about power" and therein lies the rub....for "power" as defined as the "deep secret state" will do all to protect itself. Out of this moral clash, Le Carre has crafted a brilliantly tense, twisty tale that propels the reader towards a cracking climax, full of resonance and outrage. There are no pat answers or simple solutions here.....only thought provoking fallout and sinister echoes. We are blessed to have a writer of such energy, ability, perception and relevance..... Highly recommended!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A master at work, 20 April 2014
This review is from: A Delicate Truth (Hardcover)
As a Le Carre fan, I was surprised how long it took me to get into this book. The first chapter is brilliant, but then it meanders off into apparent cul-de-sacs, only coming back to life in the final third. The ending I had to read three times, my initial disappointment eventually turning to satisfaction. I want to hear more of Toby Bell.
The author is a master; it is a pity that, in the 21st century., nobody writes a story which goes from A to B without many detours- even blind alleys. Perhaps I have spent too much time reading Dickens, Hardy, Greene and Waugh recently!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars All too credible, 13 Jan. 2014
This review is from: A Delicate Truth (Kindle Edition)
In A Delicate Truth, we are told on the book's cover, John le Carre has come home: come home, that is, in the sense that he has returned to the specific espionage genre that made his name as a novelist. But this novel owes little, at least in terms of it subject matter, to those early tales of Cold War intrigue, where deception was traded by individuals but within an overall context of conflict between states. On the contrary, this latest novel's subject matter and approach are both utterly contemporary and appear to have grown organically out of a number of news stories of recent years, cross-fertilised to produce offspring.

As with all books of its genre, the plot of A Delicate Truth is all important, so any review should avoid spoilers. A list of elements, however, is essential and also gives nothing away. There is an operation in Gibraltar called Wildlife, an operation conducted jointly by the military of the United Kingdom and the United States. At least that's what appears to be happening to at least some of the participants. There are private interests involved as well, but exactly where lies the line between official and private action remains blurred. Ostensibly the target has something to do with the arms trade, but there is the use of the word "rendition" here and there, and agreements are discussed, arrangements that might lead to improved professional contacts, new lucrative contracts and employment opportunities. Whether Operation wildlife accomplished its aims also remains unclear, at least to those who observed its progress.

The idea, it seems, was hatched some time ago, when a British Minister had dealings with some pals who now operate in a heavily populated private sector. Might it be that most defence work is sub-contracted, sent out for tender to a bunch of self-seeking, but ostensibly ideologically-motivated old friends? Toby Bell, the Minister's Private Secretary, does not seem to be in the loop. Worse than that, he seems to be positively excluded from any detail.

Some time later, when Wildlife's failure or success has possibly been confined to history, Bell comes across a retired diplomat called Probyn. Sir Christopher, as no doubt he prefers to be called, would dearly like to live out his Cornish retirement in as much of the company of his daughter, Emily, as can be arranged. The outcome - or not - of Operation Wildlife, however, returns to haunt the desired idyll. Contact with Sir Christopher Probyn unearths some of the detail that Toby bell has always felt had been denied him.

Events pursue Bell and Probyn as they attempt to find out why Wildlife still has consequences for them and thus continues to affect their lives. Noses are poked into personal, official, public and private detail, and not everyone is amused, since careers have come and gone, and some of those have been made on what Wildlife did or did not accomplish.

Technically, A Delicate Truth is a beautifully accomplished work. The pace is brisk, without ever leaving the reader behind. The language is elegant at worst, certainly many degrees above the merely functional. But what is so impressive about John Le Carre's book is that the scenarios he develops are all utterly convincing. As ever with his work, one feels that there may be more than a grain of truth in Le Carre's description of these interrelationships within the dark recesses of power. Though the subject matter is clearly fictitious, one feels that the mechanisms used by these characters might be quite real.

And there we have the extra dimension that Le Carre always brings to his work. This is why, on completing this tale of fictional espionage, the reader might just be left with a real sense of fear and foreboding. It sounds all too possible, even probable, and thus the ideas nag uncomfortably in the memory. A Delicate Truth thus becomes much more than a spy story. There is real comment here about how our political life is conducted, a life where fact may be questioned or redefined as fiction, especially when it might present inconvenience. Later, after all, there can always be an enquiry followed by an admission and an insincere apology, before everything returns to normal. Nothing new here, then...
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5.0 out of 5 stars three options, 7 Jun. 2013
By 
A. J. Roycroft "JohnR." (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Delicate Truth (Hardcover)
The first option was BBC Radio 4's Book at Bedtime, when A Delicate Truth was rendered into ten 15-minute instalments, available only for a week, so no longer a real option. It didn't work, being simultaneously confusing, cryptic, disjointed, and, to me, simply hard to follow: the main character (who was he? His name, even?), the sequence of events (what related to what?), and even the sex of several contributors (female name, male voice).

The second option: the published hard copy book. Much better, and one could refer back ('Matti', 'Laura'). But, again for me, the desire to 'get on with the story' resulted in skipping the occasional adjective, adverb, even phrase. This was both unhelpful to me and unfair to the author. And intonation was missing, to the same effect.

The third option: the whole text, on nine CD's recorded 99% by le Carré himself. Not a word is missed, so the listener cannot skip. Intonation is vividly present throughout. Pauses are themselves informative.

So, pay for the CDs is my considered recommendation. I'm old enough (le Carré's senior by a year or two) to have grown up with 'rendition' having a translator's context only; but no longer -- it's the chilling undertow to Giles Oakley's interrogation of Toby Bell, rubbing in what had previously been no more than hinted at.

The 'over the shoulder' narrative technique works, the shoulders being multiple, if highly selective. The shoulders do not obtrude, because we are inside the heads which the shoulders support.

Five stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 29 Mar. 2015
By 
M. Oswell "o'swell" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Delicate Truth (Kindle Edition)
A chillingly believable tale of the dominance of big money over honour, loyalty, and truth. Read it if you dare - it kept me up at night and woke me in the morning
Le Carré not only tells marvellously intricate stories, and creates totally beievable people, but writes as well as anyone writing in English today, and very much better than most. When reading most thrillers we know we are really in the realm of fantasy - not so with Le Carré. His characters inhabit the same world as us. That is what makes his books so perfectly terrifying.
Don't miss this!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cover-Up, 8 Sept. 2013
By 
Ted Feit (Long Beach, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Delicate Truth (Hardcover)
In the present atmosphere of clandestine operations, the result of which the public has been ill-informed and too often kept in the dark, John Le Carre has fashioned a novel built around a bungled black op covered up for three years. The story begins with the hatching of "Operation Wildfire," comprising British special force soldiers and American mercenaries employed by a private company. The aim is to capture an arms dealer who, according to intelligence, is to visit the British colony of Gibraltar.

A Foreign Office functionary is selected to be the on-the-spot eyes-and-ears for a minister of Her Majesty, nominally in charge of the operation. Like many such actions, it results in failure, but is declared a total success, despite the fact that two innocents are killed and the subject never captured. Three years later, various persons, directly or tangentially, separately begin to question the silence and attempt to uncover the facts. The promised "transparency" never seems to arrive.

After a somewhat muddled beginning, in which Mr. Le Carre jumps all around, a bit confusing to the reader, he begins to move the plot straightforwardly and with dispatch. The author raises the basic question of right and wrong, also lambasting the use of private armies to wage "little wars" around the globe and old boy networks where mistakes are covered up and witnesses bought off. A topic that is, unhappily, very timely.

Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Is anything going to happen?, 15 May 2014
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This review is from: A Delicate Truth (Kindle Edition)
This book seems interminable and I have only read 100 pages. Is anything going to happen? Is Le Carre ever going to write another good book or is he coasting along on past glories? I am not sure if I care anymore.
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