Set in contemporary, recession gripped Britain, a left-leaning young Oxford academic and his barrister girlfriend take an off-peak holiday on the Caribbean island of Antigua. By seeming chance they bump into a Russian millionaire called Dima who owns a peninsula and a diamond-encrusted gold watch. He also has a tattoo on his right thumb, and wants a game of tennis.
What else he wants propels the young lovers on a tortuous journey through Paris to a safe house in the Swiss Alps, to the murkiest cloisters of the City of London and its unholy alliance with Britain’s Intelligence Establishment.
©2010 David Cornwell (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.
Narrative makes the world go round.
I've been reading Le Carre for only 3 years and tend to like his less-well-regarded later novels better than his older classics. Audiobooks are, however, giving me better appreciation of the old, and THIS audiiobook seems the perfect marriage of Le Carre's traditional theme of innocents consumed by a compromising Brit insider-elite with the more overt social concerns of his later novels.
I found this as well-written, plotted and characterized as traditional LeCarre, but at the same time it's a very accessible listen.
Fascinating story, terrific characters. One of my favourite writers on excellent form. Wonderful reader too. Did all the dialogue brilliantly, which made the book even more exciting to listen to.
The first book I have bought from Audible that I was unable to finish
Very disappointing reading. Two examples: An Australian character is given a very bad cockney accent. Gail, the main female character, is read in a breathy voice that reminds my of Marilyn Monroe in those old films, Gail is a successful barrister! She would not speak like that.
The reading became so irritating, for these and other similar reasons, that I have been unable to finish the book.
If the reader can't do accents and voices accurately, he or she should just read it straight, without any attempt to be in character.
My first serious Audible disappointment. I will need to be much more careful in my purchases in future.
"Much ado about nothing really"
Well read (despite the dodgy Australian accent) and it did keep me entertained, but really the ending left me feeling so totally cheated and short changed, that in the end I could only think why had I bothered!
I have been listening to audiobooks for many years and have never ever listened to a book which bored me as rigidly as this one. Because I had never read one of John le Carre's books before I was keen to download one of his books to give it a try. Even the valiant attempts of the narrator to breath live into this dull book never manages to overcome the frankly very thin story line. None of the characters become more than cardboard caricatures, and his description of women seems to have successfully bypassed modern life. The end, when it finally comes, feels rushed and totally predictable. How is it possible that a writer with a reputation like his ends up writing such drivel. I was determined to listen to the whole book, but ended up wasting my time, never again!
"Dull, boring, slow, !!!"
I Have never not finished an audible book - until this one, it is unbelieveably slow, and frankly dull!!
I have given up.... Take my advice and dont bother, if you do hope you can stay awake.
I started to listen to this thinking that Le Carr? was a good writer of spy and suspense, but was very quickly annoyed by the totaly un-necessary use of very bad language. In the end it overtook tha story line and was turned off.
I will be very hesitant before I get another from le Carr?. Not impressed at all and would give it zero stars if that were possible!
"A great read!"
A first class john le carre book. One of his best. Topical and absorbing. Fascinating account of the cynicism of the Secret Service.
"Sorry - I usually love Le Carré...."
but I'm finding this one hard going!
It just seems to spend so long on the tennis matches and the Caribbean and not get down to the backroom people at MI6.
Beginning to look up a little now the action is back in London, but I stopped for a while round there (to listen to something else) and not sure I have the heart to take it up again.
Also, much as I admire Michael Jayston, found the interminable "Russian Accent" VERY wearing. Will give it one more go!
"Well read but totally pointless"
I am not going to say good things about the book simply because it is Le Carre.
This story started well but faded into nothingness. There seemed no point to the story whatsoever and the ending was most unexpected and disappointing.
First off: I love Michael Jayston and this is the only reason I clung on to this performance, always in the hope there'd be a turning point when the dull story of Mr. Le Carré would manage to draw me in at last. Well, it failed to do so. Gave up after the first 6 hours.
Very disappointing, I'm afraid.
"Can I have my 11 hours back please?"
A fairly dull story made worse by the comically bad dialogue of almost everyone in the book under 50 years old including the two main protagonists.
Furthermore the aforementioned protaganists were unintentionally irritating and one dimensional.
And to top it off the book ends at it's most (only?) interesting point...
"Good until the end..."
This is a great spy story all the way until the end - which is so sudden and unexplained as to leave me feeling cheated. I understand that in the real world things happen which defy explanation but in the world of spys I would have thought some sort of investigation would have been normal. In essence a great and gripping story which is missing the epilogue. Therefore only 3 stars instead of what should be 5.
(Narration was excellent.)
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