The unrivaled master of spy fiction returns with a taut and suspenseful of dirty money and dirtier politics.
For nearly half a century, John le Carre's limitless imagination has enthralled millions of readers, listeners, and moviegoers around the globe. From the cold war to the bitter fruits of colonialism to unrest in the Middle East, he has reinvented the spy novel again and again. As menacing and flawlessly paced as The Little Drummer Girl and as morally complex as The Constant Gardener, Our Kind of Traitor is signature le Carre.
Perry and Gail are idealistic and very much in love when they splurge on a tennis vacation at a posh beach resort in Antigua. But the charm begins to pall when a big-time Russian money launderer enlists their help to defect. In exchange for amnesty, Dima is ready to rat out his vory (Russian criminal brotherhood) compatriots and expose corruption throughout the so-called legitimate financial and political worlds. Soon, the guileless couple find themselves pawns in a deadly endgame whose outcome will be determined by the victor of the British Secret Service's ruthless internecine battles.
©2010 John le Carre (P)2010 Penguin Audio
“Those readers who have found post–cold war le Carré too cerebral will have much to cheer about with this Russian mafia spy thriller…Le Carré ratchets up the tension step-by-step …His most accessible work in years, this novel shows once again why his name is the one to which all others in the field are compared.” (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review)
“le Carré's signature stark prose, pitch-perfect dialogue, authentic characters, and moral indignation have stood the test of time…Intriguing and tense, Traitor shines a blinding, angry, and welcome light on shady international finances and underhanded intelligence agents.” (Bookmarks Magazine)
“The venerable spy master is back with an intriguing story about a pair of novice spies who are aiding intelligence efforts to bring in a Russian businessman. Robin Sachs paints a fine portrait of the couple and shines even brighter for the host of British operatives. But it is as Dima--the Russian with a past--that he excels. The bellowing, likable, and commanding Russian is such a unique personality that he demands a distinctive voice, and Sachs comes through.” (AudioFile)
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
Maybe 3.5 stars. I liked it more than I was prepared to. Reminded me in a lot of ways of Single & Single. It was a tight morality tale in a world lacking morality. Like most of le Carré's post-Soviet/post-Cold War spy novels the real play here is not East v West, THAT is just a side show, the real conflict is ALL internal. William Faulkner's famous quote from his Nobel Prize speech that "the human heart in conflict with itself" is the only thing worth writing about, regardless of the genre" seems to perfectly capture le Carré. But le Carré doesn't just use that idea with people, he uses that idea with institutions (Secret Intelligence Service), and with whole counties. The modern world is a world in conflict with itself. God is dead. But maybe, just maybe, He still listens to all your phone calls, still reads all your text messages, and despite all the past promises made -- and He might just decide to screw you in the end.
Firstly, I don't often write reviews unless a book is outstanding or so far below par that a warning to potential purchasers is warranted. This book falls into the latter category. This is NOT a book you've come to expect from John le Carre. It is so slow and tedious and you keep waiting for some action...any action but there is none. Towards the end of the second download, I kept trying to give him a chance thinking that there must have been a 3rd download that I missed. When I got to the end of the second download which was truly and sadly the end, I was incensed that I spent so much time listening to absolutely nothing.
There has to be a sequel...because it is as though this book ended in the absolute middle. It didn't even dither off to a slow end. It just stopped. This is probably the worst book I have listened to or read in 4 years. Do not waste your time.
Retired Ex-Pat living Near San Jose, Costa Rica.
Book: typical le Carre. Builds slow and you have pay attention to get the players right. Once you do, it gets good. Then you get excited. Then you get nervous. Then you anticipate disaster. Then he builds tension. Then you cannot wait to see what happens to each of the ten or so characters the author has developed for you and to whom you have become attached or at least interested. Can't say more without spoiling.
Then you will want to pitch a brick through your PC or trash your iPod or what have you as for some unknown reason, the author simply ends the stupid book leaving you absolutely not knowing what happened to eight of those ten characters! For some idiotic reason, he is leaving them stranded and vulnerable. Then Audible thanks you for listening! I was soooo irritated! There is NO resolution to all the characters you have come to know. I HATE books that have open endings, but I NOW know I hate even more any book that simply drops you cold with no conclusion whatsoever as to ending OR characters. I am not speaking of a "this could happen" endings... I am saying you are dropped with no knowledge of anything. Just Terrible - Grade D
Reader: Solid. Bit of an issue distinguishing voices, but overall grade good B
I agree with many of the other reviewers that this book was boring, hard to follow and had an unsatisfactory ending. There are a lot more entertaining books out there to spend your time on.
I blamed a technical glitch for the absence of an ending to this book, only to learn after11 1/2 hours that the abrupt ending was no mistake. Surely he could have made his point in fewer words that bankers, politicians, criminals, and secret government agents are in cahoots to get rich at our expense.
I felt that this story was too long on details and character development not long enough on activities. I was shocked at the sudden ending; I felt cheated.
Le Carre has lost it. A pointless, meandering story with those awful British mannerisms. (Every sentence ends with a question...doesn't it?) After an hour of listening I had no idea what the wretched book was about and was just irritated with the awful,chatty,dialogue that made me want to punch someone, preferably an upper-class British twit. A dud!
I never feel strong enough to write a review, but I HAD to write about this book. I tried to listen to it 3 times and finally realized that it wasn't me but a book I just couldn't get into. It had SO many elements going on at one time, that I couldn't keep track what story I was trying to follow. Is this book about the defector? Is it about the couple? Is it about the British Agency characters? If I heard one more, "Hear me Now" I would die. This is not a book I would recommend unless you have trouble sleeping!
I started this book about 10 times. I finally made it to 2 hours and then asked myself why am I doing this? It is so awful, George Smiley would say Mr. LeCarre has reached the time to retire.
Sometimes when I have crab cakes I find some filled with too much bread and not enough crab. That is what it felt like when I put down one of my most favorite authors. I was pleased that he focused on powerful institutions that do much damage to our species. In The Constant Gardener we learned a good deal about how abusive pharmaceutical is and in this one he attempted to do the same thing with our financial empires that have gotten the world into such difficulties. Greed dominates, the powerful seek to hold on to what they have and to get even more. In this book there are too many characters to keep in touch with. His character development is shallow. Where is Smiley? Where are those wonderful figures who lack a true sense of self and who can take on the coloration needed to survive so easily to fill in the void of an ill defined or non-existent self. He copped out at the end and took the easy way out. I always enjoy reading LeCarre even if I find fault on occasion. A mature writer with a critical and insightful eye.I will continue to read everything he writes if I live long enough.
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