A counter-terror operation, codenamed Wildlife, is being mounted in Britain’s most precious colony, Gibraltar. Its purpose: to capture and abduct a high-value jihadist arms-buyer. Its authors: an ambitious Foreign Office Minister, and a private defence contractor who is also his close friend. So delicate is the operation that even the Minister’s Private Secretary, Toby Bell, is not cleared for it. Suspecting a disastrous conspiracy, Toby attempts to forestall it, but is promptly posted overseas.
Three years on, summoned by Sir Christopher Probyn, retired British diplomat, to his decaying Cornish manor house, and closely watched by Probyn’s daughter Emily, Toby must choose between his conscience and his duty to the Service. If the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing, how can he keep silent?
John le Carre was born in 1931 and attended the universities of Bern and Oxford. He taught at Eton and served briefly in British Intelligence during the Cold War. For the last fifty years he has lived by his pen. He divides his time between London and Cornwall.
©2013 John le Carré (P)2013 Penguin Books Limited
"One of those writers who will be read a century from now" (Robert Harris)
This novel is not strictly in Le Carre's usual genre of the spy novel but it has the pace and mystery and well written characteristics of his other novels. What sets this one apart is Le Carre's interpretation / reading of his own characters..He really brings them all to life and gets the accents and manerisms just down pat, to the extent that I could easily visualize each and every one of them and felt I knew them all intimately. Obviously he has an advantage in narrating his own work but I would still rate this the best narration of any book I have yet listened to. Somehow his writing has become more subtle and sophisticated with amusing nuances or perhaps it is his interpretation of his material that makes this a truly a great listen. Great story as well.
The narration is great, the story is good, I really enjoyed it, old spies, young spies it was a very human story. I enjoyed it very much, John LeCarres voice takes you there.
Yes I have, a great performance by John
Giles Oakley, intriguing tales
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, a great listen.
I was a little apprehensive when I downloaded this new book from John le Carre. I have enjoyed many of his previous novels on audio and one of the great delights is listening to Michael Jayston's performance. This book is narrated by the author and at first I thought this might get in the way of my enjoyment of the book. He is, however, an accomplished reader and delivered believable voices for all the characters.
The story is gripping from start to finish and the characters are believable and sympathetic. I thought this was one of his best for a while.
"Outstanding writing and narration"
This intelligent, measured and thought-provoking novel was quietly powerful. It really made me think about morality, accountability and what is acceptable behaviour of the individual, and of a government. It was gripping and the ending perfect - and as a bonus, it seems that Mr le Carre has left a door ajar. Not only was it beautifully written, but the narration by John le Carre himself was a revelation. His depiction of the characters was distinct and his accents were excellent. It is a privilege to hear him read his own words. He is 81 years old - and right up there with the very best narrators.
I have read and listened to books by Le Carre before, of course, and found the plots, the writing and the performances by Michael Jayston for the audio books all to be excellent. He is undoubtedly not just a good but a great modern writer. However, I think this latest story stands out for a number of reasons. First, there is the the story itself and the obvious commitment of Le Carre in developing it and the implicit critiques of both state and private commercial power. His use of language and descriptive power is once again outstanding. Secondly, however, it is Le Carre's own reading that is the revelation . I was surprised to see that he was voicing this presentation not least because Jayston has been so good, but also because, frankly, I was not sure from the various interviews etc. I've seen of him whether Le Carre would be suited to this role. I need not have worried: he gives the reading a quality and tone which seem, to me, to fit perfectly to the social and political contexts and the people he describes so well, and he also manages to present convincing characterisations of all the story's actors.
Overall, I think this is one of Le Carre's best tales in terms of content and also the quality of writing, at least amongst his most recent works, and his reading on this audio version made for a truly masterly production. Highly recommended.
"A real treat..."
Not only the masterly plot that one would expect from John le Carré, but the additional treat of the author reading the book himself. I know from past experience that this is not always something that is desirable, but in the case of this book it was wonderful and really added an extra dimension to the story.
"Disturbing in ways but disappointing ending"
Really excellent story and brilliantly read by the author. How accurate are the type of events he portrays promotes disturbing thoughts but there is an authenticity about his writing which is masterful. Only drawback was the rather abrupt ending which left you wanting more. Is this perhaps the first part of a ongoing story, I do hope so?
A wonderful and sinister story by a master storyteller at the height of his powers, while nonetheless in his eighties. And not only that, but he is also the reader and a very good reader he is too. Rivetting.
"Wonderfully plotted, well read by le Carre"
I very much enjoyed the book. Great characterisation, complex plot well put together. Have not had great experiences with books read by the author but le Carre does a great job. He's great at all his various accents!
"Excellent listen yet disappointing end."
I have to agree with a previous review that, whilst you cannot fault the superb writing, sublime narration and the gripping pace of the story, it just ended smothered in ambiguity. I would hate to think that we should have come to the most obvious conclusion. I would still highly recommend it .
"Some authors should stick to writing"
The narration. The breathing was really distracting
Not sure as could not get past the narration
Should have left it to a professional actor
"Classic le Carre"
A gripping story that keeps you interested until the end.
Believable, yet interesting and up to date. Still political and communicating the trappings of Whitehall.to the uninitiated.
Understated with no over the top accents or impressions. Steady.
Not emotional - just gripping.
If you like the Smiley stories, you'll like this. Unabridged is great as it keeps all the minute details and le Carre descriptions.
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