Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Most Wanted Man by John le Carre .

Meet Tommy Brue, the owner of a posh private British bank in Hamburg. He is contacted by Annabel Richter, a lawyer assisting an illegal immigrant called Issa Karpov. Many authorities want to arrest Issa Karpov and deport him back to Russia or Turkey, where he is the title of this book "A Most Wanted Man". The story unfolds where Tommy Brue, Annabel Richter and Gunther Bachmann of the German intelligence service, work together in the hope that Issa Karpov becomes a free man and achieves his dream of studying to become a doctor.

This novel has 416 pages and was written in 2008 and published in paperback in 2009. It is a realistic tale about the international war on terror. John le Carre's writing style is very polished and uses a very large vocabulary. This story develops at a good pace with a well developed plot. You may think that Islam and the war on terror are difficult subjects to write a novel about but John le Carre has done such good research that the realities of this story read like a dream. John writes with such a neutral balance about the war on terror that it makes this story so easy for the reader to follow.

The reader gets and understands the whole picture of everyone just trying to do their little bit and the right thing. The banker, the lawyer, the Turkish Muslim family and the intelligence community are all trying to do their best for Issa Karpov. John explains how counter terrorism agencies do their work and describes how good interview techniques can bring good results. As the story develops you begin to wonder about Issa Karpov and you start to have your own doubts about him. A few things do not add up and you wonder how much of the truth he is telling everyone, is he genuine or a fraud, is he a criminal or a terrorist?

Throughout this novel there are plenty of moral and political issues that the reader is forced to think about and form their own opinion. All the characters in this story are well developed and by the end of this book you reach a very sad ending and feel that all the characters have been betrayed. You are left with a sense of loss as you close this book and think back about it all. You then wonder who is winning the war on terror and how the work of many professionals can go to waste due to their country's special relationship with America.

I think that A Most Wanted Man is a good book and I shall be voting it 4 stars on goodreads . I rather enjoyed watching the More 4 documentary broadcast on Friday 10th December 2010, when Jon Snow interviewed John le Carre at his home in Cornwall. I saw this television programme before I started reading this book and John's voice does come out in the book as the character Gunther Bachmann of the German intelligence service. Because of John's old real life day-job as an intelligence officer with MI5 and MI6, you can be sure that his novels reflect real life rather than fantasy. John le Carre is an author of the old school, writing his novels in longhand using a pen and paper. He then edits his draft and tears the paper before using staples to piece his sections together. I was very surprised to watch this old school style writing technique on television but his finished books demonstrate just what a first class author John le Carre actually is.
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