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A Delicate Truth: A Novel | [John le Carre]

A Delicate Truth: A Novel

A Delicate Truth opens in 2008. A counter-terrorist operation, codenamed Wildlife, is being mounted on the British crown colony of Gibraltar. Its purpose: to capture and abduct a high-value jihadist arms buyer. Its authors: an ambitious Foreign Office Minister, a private defense contractor who is also his bosom friend, and a shady American CIA operative of the evangelical far right. So delicate is the operation that even the Minister’s personal private secretary, Toby Bell, is not cleared for it.
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Publisher's Summary

A Delicate Truth opens in 2008. A counter-terrorist operation, codenamed Wildlife, is being mounted on the British crown colony of Gibraltar. Its purpose: to capture and abduct a high-value jihadist arms buyer. Its authors: an ambitious Foreign Office Minister, a private defense contractor who is also his bosom friend, and a shady American CIA operative of the evangelical far right. So delicate is the operation that even the Minister’s personal private secretary, Toby Bell, is not cleared for it.

Cornwall, UK, 2011: A disgraced Special Forces Soldier delivers a message from the dead. Was Operation Wildlife the success it was cracked up to be - or a human tragedy that was ruthlessly covered up? Summoned by Sir Christopher ("Kit") Probyn, retired British diplomat, to his decaying Cornish manor house, and closely observed by Kit’s beautiful daughter, Emily, Toby must choose between his conscience and duty to his Service. If the only thing necessary to the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing, how can he keep silent?

©2013 John le Carré (P)2013 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (273 )
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  •  
    Jeff Radt Pasadena, CA, USA 05-11-13
    Jeff Radt Pasadena, CA, USA 05-11-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Breathtaking and beautifully written and read"

    The best Le Carre yet, revealing the impenetrable moral equivocations of the corporate ascendancy in politics and war. The author reads with such simplicity and depth.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Kanata, Ontario, Canada 05-11-13
    Robert Kanata, Ontario, Canada 05-11-13 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Story, and read beautifully by the author"
    What did you love best about A Delicate Truth?

    A well constructed story with a totally believable plot and well developed characters.


    What other book might you compare A Delicate Truth to and why?

    Mostly because of the reader it reminds me a lot of my personal favourite JLC book, Absolute Friends. The plot is of course different, but the quality of the writing and the reading is almost as good.


    Which character – as performed by John le Carre – was your favorite?

    The Minister


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    I dont think his books translate well to film, they are much better as TV series - for example the Smiley series, probably the best TV series I have ever seen.


    Any additional comments?

    There is a real benefit to having an author read his own work; the intonation, vocabulary and the "sense" of the story is far better than any other approach. Le Carre is truly blessed as an excellent writer with a superb reading voice and style.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cris Lake Waccamaw, NC, United States 06-29-13
    Cris Lake Waccamaw, NC, United States 06-29-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Cannot get into this book"

    Please let me exchange it. Audible advertises this service but they do not make it easy to actually accomplish this task.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig Los Angeles, CA, United States 06-05-13
    Craig Los Angeles, CA, United States 06-05-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    51
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    "You already know how it ends"
    What would have made A Delicate Truth better?

    If it wasn't so predictable. And if the characters were not so cartoonish. LeCarre's first few books were wonderful, complex, and unpredictable. His last few run like this: The good guys will end badly. They will end badly after making utterly stupid mistakes that the protagonists in his first few novels would have considered incompetent. In "A Delicate Truth" the good guys, all of them, achieve nothing toward their moral and praiseworthy goal, because they act like rookies, despite their years of experience and knowledge of tradecraft.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Something not by John LeCarre.


    Which character – as performed by John le Carre – was your favorite?

    Toby.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from A Delicate Truth?

    The last half of the novel.


    Any additional comments?

    I used to love John LeCarre. That was when his characters, both good and evil, behaved intelligently. His last 4 novels involve characters who behave like rank amateurs. In "A Delicate Truth", the main protagonist doesn't see things coming, which a 3rd grade reader would see coming a mile away. There is never any surprise anymore in his novels. The good guys are moral. They are self-defeating. They will end up very badly. The instrument of their bad ends will be telegraphed long before the end of the novel, and reader will wonder how the protagonist could not have seen it coming, when everyone else could. Sad ending for John LeCarre. He used to be able to write fiction. Now he writes cartoons.

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maia C. Larkin Denver, CO 05-16-13
    Maia C. Larkin Denver, CO 05-16-13
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    "Le Carre at his brilliant best"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Would and did.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Delicate Truth?

    For me, the most memorable moments are when Le Carre puts you in the midst of a terrifying and crucial moment, and slows time down to the point where you can smell, hear and feel the environment in which that moment exists.


    What does John le Carre bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Le Carre is a SUPERB narrator. One of the best. I would always, always prefer to hear him read his own books (or anyone's book, for that matter). He has everything - a craftsman's acting talent, a beautiful voice, the gravitas and subtlety necessary to convey the material without ever overplaying it. And I have to say that he is in the peak of form here - one of his best narrating jobs, and that's saying a lot.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    This book, perhaps because of the extent of the author's human experience at this stage of his life, is extremely moving on some very subtle levels, but possibly the most moving character of all is Jeb. Wonderful character. If he weren't so beautifully and honestly fleshed-out as a character, his storyline might be melodramatic. But he is sketched out with such plain truth, and in such simple lines, that he rings absolutely true and is therefore ten times more tragic.


    Any additional comments?

    This is, to my mind, Le Carre at his very best. I love him as an author, but some of his most recent books have not hit home for me as deeply as his some of his earlier work. With this one, he returns triumphantly in his finest form and it makes me so happy. I could not be more delighted.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Vista, CA, United States 06-30-14
    Mary Vista, CA, United States 06-30-14 Member Since 2011
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    "He used f--- so many times. Offensive!!"
    Would you try another book from John le Carre and/or John le Carre?

    I've read all of his books. If he leaves out f___ in his next book, I'll get it. If not, I won't.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    This one looks like he just discovered 'f___', he used it so many times. I lost track of how many. The story could have been told just fine without it. I don't swear and I don't read books that are filled with swear words. I wish he had left it out.


    Have you listened to any of John le Carre’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I love the Smiley books. I wish he would write more. This one doesn't compare at all with them.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No. I saw 'The Constant Gardener'. I think if a person hadn't read the book first, they wouldn't have a clue about the story.


    Any additional comments?

    Give me old fashioned spy novels!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Attleboro, MA, United States 04-22-14
    William Attleboro, MA, United States 04-22-14 Member Since 2005
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    "Tough to listen to."

    Le Carre is a wonderful author, and I have enjoyed his books in the past. I suspect there is in fact a good story in this one, somewhere, I have just found it impossible to listen to. With the author as narrator, I expect the accents and inflections are genuine and accurate, but it strikes me as listening to an aged relative recounting a story from their youth that you've heard a hundred times before. You love them dearly, but sitting through the story makes you want to scream. I've made it through an hour or so, and can't go any further. Can't recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily FREMONT, CA, United States 02-18-14
    Emily FREMONT, CA, United States 02-18-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Brilliant All The Way Around"

    A Fabulous Treat! Thank you Mr LeCarre. I look for your genius in print and the wait is always worth the while. Now in Audio you deliver the package of your brilliance as the Master of all masters! Encore! Encore!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DiK SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA, United States 01-08-14
    DiK SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA, United States 01-08-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Awful Reader Quality"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    No one. If you want to listen to the story then forget this book. Le Carre is a great writer but nearly unintelligible as a reader.


    What could John le Carre have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Speak more clearly. Avoid mumbling.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Totally.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Who knows. I could hardly understand a word. Only could stand listening for a half an hour.


    Any additional comments?

    Le Carre needs to have someone else read his wonderful books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J.B. Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States 01-02-14
    J.B. Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States 01-02-14 Member Since 2004

    Economic litigation attorney. Reading, the arts and physical activity are all necessary.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "In you can trek through its slow methodical pace"
    Would you try another book from John le Carre and/or John le Carre?

    Of course. His stories dig deep into the frailities and evils of those holding power. [Did I miss something; was there a reason the Audible review inquiries needed to name le Carre twice?]


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The story was interesting but it is dfficult to explain why? The characters were not at all dynamic, (although one was frustratingly unaware), the plot was plottingly sketchy, and the story was not believeable. I would imagine one gets carried along with le Carre's wonderful use of the English language and manner in which this master can describe - whatever.


    Do you think A Delicate Truth needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Not necessary. There is a lot more value out there to read - including many other of le Carre's works.


    Any additional comments?

    The book was not wonderful yet le Carre leaves one thinking about this and that and you end up saying no so bad of a read. Yet, there are bettter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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