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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"One of those writers who will be read a century from now" (Robert Harris)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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  • Tamara
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 08-04-13

You will love it !

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Sharron
  • Robinvale, Australia
  • 02-07-14

Not My Favourite

I have read all le Carre's earlier books but this was not what I expected. The plot was weak and the character development poor. That said there was still the mystery and intrigue of old but this will be the last of his books that I read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

Would you listen to A Delicate Truth again? Why?

Yes

Who was your favorite character and why?

Emily Probyn,

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

Yes I have, a great performance by John

If you could take any character from A Delicate Truth out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Giles Oakley, intriguing tales

Any additional comments?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, a great listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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grate story

there was a problem with the sound at the beginning, sorted out after a while

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Good crisp engaging listen.

Narrator was excellent. Provides insights into the privatisation of war. Voice modulation during narration was a welcome change.

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  • Tony
  • bury st edmundsUnited Kingdom
  • 10-10-16

excellent mystery!

excellent story well read the characters came to life an unhappy ending. will recommend it to my friends.

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topical political theory..

starts slow.. but builds up.. well read..the makings of a true story.. worth a read

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I really liked this even though it jumps around

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.

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  • Al
  • 05-14-13

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.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Setter man
  • 05-09-13

Masterly!

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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Anne
  • 05-02-13

Gripping 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.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

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  • steve
  • 12-05-13

Read it, & then listen to it

Would you consider the audio edition of A Delicate Truth to be better than the print version?

If I'm honest I preferred the read version because it is easier to go back through the book to check certain facts. I would highly recommend this version if you have already read the print book or simply want to get lost in many hours of quality espionage.

What did you like best about this story?

This is a very atmospheric listen. More so than the book. It's very easy to get lost in the narrative & emersed in the story. If you listen to this on a train you may well miss your stop.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

No scene particularly sticks out but like most well written thrillers you find yourself so immersed that you often have to rewind a chapter or two to get back into the story itself.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

When honesty sometimes is not the best policy

Any additional comments?

A good listen but not for the novice. You have to really enjoy this type of 'in depth' thriller & it would help if you are a fan of the author. Very easy to get lost in the narrative but if you are a Le-Carre fan & have read his works then you will enjoy. A book to be listened to when you are not going to be interrupted.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Sandra
  • 06-15-13

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?

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • N
  • 09-07-13

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 .

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-03-13

Classic le Carre

What did you like most about A Delicate Truth?

A gripping story that keeps you interested until the end.

What did you like best about this story?

Believable, yet interesting and up to date. Still political and communicating the trappings of Whitehall.to the uninitiated.

What about John le Carré’s performance did you like?

Understated with no over the top accents or impressions. Steady.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Not emotional - just gripping.

Any additional comments?

If you like the Smiley stories, you'll like this. Unabridged is great as it keeps all the minute details and le Carre descriptions.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Julian
  • 05-14-13

Brilliant

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Martin
  • 12-02-13

First Victim of War - a delicate Truth

What did you like most about A Delicate Truth?

le Carrie writes a cracking story. A Delicate Truth is based around a fictious Operation Wildlife, a top-secret mission in Gibraltar, involving private spy companies , special forces, and a cast of spooks dodgy Ministers and Civil Servants. <br/><br/>Operation Wildlife was "an utter cock-up" in which an innocent Muslim mother and child, were killed and their deaths hushed up. Three years later , one of the soldiers involved reveals that the greater horror of the "cock-up" is the government conspiracy to cover it up, and bury the truth<br/>

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

The meeting of the old soldier with a conscience Geb and "paul" "Paul Anderson" a retired diplomat, who was involved , get reengaged but wants to do the honourable thing. Together with Foreign Office high-flyer Toby Bell, who has to put his career on the line.

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

Very good performance.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

- "Outsourcing Honour"

Any additional comments?

Should be a follow up.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Crispin
  • 09-05-13

Some authors should stick to writing

What disappointed you about A Delicate Truth?

The narration. The breathing was really distracting

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

Not sure as could not get past the narration

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Should have left it to a professional actor

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Sarah
  • 07-26-16

So good but...

Loved the book and La Carrè is a magnificent storyteller but that ending😱😫 I still wanted more

2 of 2 people found this review helpful