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on 6 September 2013
You read it once, and it's a gripping story. Read it twice, and you understand every little detail, every little nuance. Fabulous.
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on 7 June 2001
This is an excellent novel, which treats in a most thoughtful way the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. The relationship between Charlie and her trainer Joseph is a strong undercurrent throughout the book, and generates an erotic tension that I would not have expected in a spy novel. Joseph's ambivalence about his people's war with Palestine ... "You will find them an easy people to love" .. is both moving and thought provoking.
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on 20 January 2013
This is a brilliant, multi-layered spy story: mature le Carre at his best.
The writing is precise, playful, insinuating, the characters beautifully evoked, the plot unfurled like a strip-tease.
Anyone who enjoys delving into the complexities of le Carre's world of spying, in part based on his own experiences of the real thing, will love this.
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on 8 June 2015
Le Carre is a master story teller and this book is an example of how to weave many story strands without losing the plot. Obviously very well researched. Not the first time I have read this book and not the last. One of my favourites of a favourite author.
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on 7 August 2014
Love so many of JLC's masterful stories. This one is as entirely relevant today as it was when written about the intransitable tragedy of the Israel/ Palestine conflict. I've found this one a bit of a slog though. Love 'Charlie' and 'Kurtz'.
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on 23 April 2011
In this age of terrorism, it's amazing how well LeCarre analysied the creation of the terrorist. LeCarre puts forth a reasoned exercise of why terrorists believe that they have to act, and how they achieve their goals. He addresses the issues from both sides, the terrorist and the authority fighting the terrorism.

The Little Drummer Girl, is a cracking good read...written with great pace, interesting characters, and believable dialogue. You sympathise with the main characters, follow the action, the inertia, more action, waiting on the edge of your seat for the inevitable outcome...and then the twist.

The novel is well written, a topic addressed well ahead of its time(1993)and long before 911, predicting the rise of terrorism and read by LeCarre. What more could you ask for?
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on 14 February 2015
This 1983 thriller deals with deadly attacks on Jewish targets in Europe with primitive bombs. Its builder leaves his signature, an extra loop of wiring. Who is he? He is surely European-based and highly mobile. Not a loner, but supported and protected by highly professional, local teams.
JLC describes how Israel's military usually responds and overrules its spies in case of a terrorist attack from across the border by simply targeting Palestinian refugee camps and buildings shielding suspects or their leaders from the air or sea.
But these new bomb attacks happen in Europe, beyond the military's reach. Thus, a seasoned spy master and WW II survivor named Kurtz, is reluctantly given the nod to start a search on European soil for the bomb maker and his helpers. One of them is suspected to be his student kid brother. How to catch a lion? By baiting him with a goat. Enters British activist actress Charlie (26). Observed and studied long before being recruited during a Greek holiday. But is recruitment the right word? How she is being prepared for her new role in the theater of the real is for readers to discover...
This remains JLC's longest, most densely-plotted, difficult and morally-challenging novel, requiring great concentration from readers, with his beautiful prose reaching lyrical levels when Charlie or Kurtz hold centre stage. It is also a passionate account of the deep mutual hatred and anger of Jews and Palestinians and their histories of persecution and enforced displacement.
Finally, very rich re ideas and spy trade craft, perfectly plotted with many minor characters (Helga, Picton, Long Al, etc.) deftly portrayed, whereas the more central and truly complicated characters are drawn with great compassion. Thrilling to the last page. Relevant to the present day. Truly awesome.
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This is the point at which John le Carre went from being a niche spy novelist to a full-blown writer of intelligent fiction. His epic tale of the recruitment of an impressionable young actress into the Israeli secret service, in order to ensnare a Palestinian terrorist, instantly draws you in…and just keeps drawing you in. I had to persevere initially, as the opening few chapters are quite abstruse, however when it got going – boy did it get going! In my opinion, this is Le Carre's pinnacle.
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on 6 July 2015
I am currently reading my way through John Le Carre's books in chronological order.
After the George Smiley trilogy ending with 'Smiley's People' comes 'The Little Drummer Girl'.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Perhaps more so than some of his earlier books and that is saying something because I've enjoyed them all except the 'naïve and Sentimental Lover'.
I am a 61 year old avid reader. I have been aware of John Le Carre all my adult reading years. However I only started to read him last year.
My loss, redeemed by coming to him later in life.
Cracking good book this one, loved it. Only my opinion of course. Give it a go see what you think?
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on 13 December 2013
Not the usual genre for Le Carre . The subject matter deals with Israel/Arabic conflicts and the claimed rights/wrongs of each wrapped up in a love story between an English actor (female) and an Israeli in the guise of an Arab (or should that be vice versa?). Not his best piece of work, in my humble opinion, but even so Le Carre's less than best is a great deal better than most writers supposed best.
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