A Delicate Truth

A Delicate Truth

3.6 40
by John le Carré
     
 

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John le Carré’s memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life, will be available from Viking in September 2016

"A novel that beckons us beyond any and all expectations."—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

A counter-terrorist operation, codenamed Wildlife, is being mounted on the British crown colony of

Overview

John le Carré’s memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life, will be available from Viking in September 2016

"A novel that beckons us beyond any and all expectations."—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post

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.

Three years later, 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 daughter, Emily, Toby must choose between his conscience and duty to his Service. If the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing, how can he keep silent?

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Olen Steinhauer
The narrative dominoes fall with masterly precision…and by the time [Toby's] joined by Kit's alluring daughter the story settles into classic conspiracy thriller territory, the two of them racing to assemble evidence before they can be silenced by the men who pull the strings. As ever, le Carré's prose is fluid, carrying the reader toward an inevitable yet nail-biting climax. This is John le Carré's 23rd novel, and neither prolificacy nor age…has diminished his legendary and sometimes startling gift for mimicry. More than the inventory of closely observed outfits, chronicles of public schools and slumped, bookish frames, it's the voices that give the characters in A Delicate Truth their most immediate claim to three-dimensionality.
The Washington Post - Colin Fleming
What makes A Delicate Truth work is that the story powers the writerly flourishes and, after a while, vice versa. This is popcorn reading—you can shovel buckets of it into your mouth as you turn the pages. At the same time, the narrative and temporal shifts enhance your sense of the complex choices that men like Paul, Jeb and especially Toby—he is our real hero in a three-man race—have to make, which in turn suggest choices we make as readers. In the case of A Delicate Truth, the rewarding choice is to follow le Carré down the labyrinthine corridors of a novel that beckons us beyond any and all expectations.
Publishers Weekly
State-sanctioned duplicity drives bestseller le Carré’s entertainingly labyrinthine if overly polemical 23rd novel, which features a corrupt British Foreign Office minister, Fergus Quinn, and an American private defense contractor “best known as Ethical Outcomes.” In 2008, a cloak-and-dagger plot to capture an arms dealer in Gibraltar under the mantle of counterterrorism goes awry. Quinn’s secretary, Toby Bell, who was kept out of the loop, has incriminating information about the mission and the chance to use it three years later when one of the soldiers involved ends up dead and a retired British diplomat, roped into participating against his will, tries to salve his conscience about some nasty pieces of collateral damage. As usual, le Carré (Our Kind of Traitor) tells a great story in sterling prose, but he veers dangerously close to farce and caricature, particularly with the comically amoral Americans. His best work has been about the moral ambiguity of spying, while this novel feels as if the issue of who’s bad and who’s good is too neatly sewn up. Agent: Jonny Geller, Curtis Brown. (May)
From the Publisher
Praise for A DELICATE TRUTH
 
“At the moment a new generation is stumbling upon his work, le Carré is still writing at something close to the top of his game…. [A Delicate Truth] is an elegant yet embittered indictment of extraordinary rendition, American right-wing evangelical excess and the corporatization of warfare. It has a gently flickering love story and jangling ending. And le Carré has not lost his ability to sketch, in a line or two, an entire character.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times Magazine

“The narrative dominoes fall with masterly precision....As ever, le Carré’s prose is fluid, carrying the reader toward an inevitable yet nail-biting climax.”—Olen Steinhauer, The New York Times Book Review (front page)

“Timelier than ever.”—The New York Times
 
“Well-wrought….A sharply sketched gallery of characters.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“Le Carré is fiercely modern…a confluence of styles, voices, approaches….A novel that beckons us beyond any and all expectations.”—Washington Post

“[L]e Carré is...at full power with a book that draws on a career’s worth of literary skill and international analysis. No other writer has charted—pitilessly for politicians but thrillingly for readers—the public and secret histories of his times.”—The Guardian (UK)
 
“Gorgeous writing. It’s sophisticated storytelling at its very best.”—USA Today
 
“A ripping, fun yarn.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
“Loyalty to the crown is tested; consciences are checked; and nothing is more terrifying than, as this novel’s protagonist puts it, ‘a solitary decider’ asking himself how on earth he talked himself into this mess.”—The Daily Beast
 
“A remarkably assured touch…. [Le Carré] has maintained full control of his prodigious literary talents.”—SF Gate

“The dirty deeds are brutal and crude. And so is the cover-up.”—The Huffington Post
 
“Heady and absorbing....John le Carré remains in full command of both the craft of writing and the art of espionage.”—Christian Science Monitor
 
“As fresh as today’s headlines….A ripping yarn in the le Carré tradition.”—Washington Times

“Le Carré further establishes himself as a master of a new, shockingly realistic kind of noir.”—Booklist (Starred)

“This is a guaranteed hair-raising cerebral fright, especially for anyone who enjoyed Robert Harris’s The Ghost or who just knows his or her email account has been hacked.”—Library Journal (Starred)

“Le Carré focuses on the moral rot and creeping terror barely concealed by the affable old-boy blather that marks the pillars of the intelligence community.”—Kirkus Reviews (Starred)

“A great story in sterling prose.”—Publishers Weekly

“Le Carré proves himself a master of character development.”—The Millions
 
“Another breathtakingly good work…. [the] story hurtles along with the speed of light.”—Newsday

“The upper register of a great writer’s oeuvre. Knowledge is not power in the novel: John le Carré believes that truth, difficult and generous on its own, can also kill you.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
 
“Characteristically clever.”—The Kansas City Star

“Stylish, taut storytelling….One of our finest writers.”—Tampa Bay Times
 
“Witty as it is insightful….A Delicate Truth is a delightful read that unnerves as it entertains.”—The Columbus Dispatch
 
“The master storyteller, le Carré, is still at war. His foes now are legion. But his battles, and his novels, are flooded with light and hope. He pins his faith, and that of his readers, on the fundamental decency of those most vulnerable and quirky of warriors – the average joes.”—OregonLive.com

“Expertly constructed and sharply detailed….How uncannily this [novel] reflects the headlines of the day.”—Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Vintage le Carré.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 
“A career’s worth of literary skill and international analysis…..No other writer has chartered…the public and secret history of his times.”—The Guardian (UK)

“Remarkable….[A Delicate Truth] displays the mastery of the early and the passion of late Le Carré.”—Robert McCrum, The Observer (UK)

“Writing of such quality that…it will be read in one hundred years….[Le Carré] found his canvas in espionage, as Dickens did in other worlds. The two men deserve comparison.”—Daily Mail (UK)

“The tension ratchets up superbly as revelation follows on revelation….[Le Carré] is a writer of towering gifts, whose fiction appeals to a reading public both popular and serious….A talent to provoke as well as unsettle.”—The Independent (UK)

 

Library Journal
Toby Bell, the foreign office minister's private secretary, tries to determine whether a 2008 counterterrorist operation aimed at abducting a jihadist arms buyer went awry. Le Carré's scenarios are up-to-date as his understanding of political intrigue is timeless.
Kirkus Reviews
The distinguished chronicler of Cold War espionage and its costs casts his cold eye on the fog of war and its legacy when the war sets terrorists against the mercenaries and independent contractors to whom international security has been farmed out. A colorless midlevel civil servant is plucked from the anonymous ranks of the Foreign Office, given a wafer-thin cover identity as statistician Paul Anderson and packed off to Gibraltar, where he's to serve as the eyes and ears and, mainly, the yea or nay of rising Member of Parliament Fergus Quinn, who can't afford to be directly connected to Operation Wildlife. On the crucial night the forces in question are to disrupt an arms deal and grab a jihadist purchaser, both Paul and Jeb Owens, the senior military commander on the ground, smell a rat and advise against completing the operation. But they're overridden by Quinn, who says, "I recommend but do not command" that Operation Wildlife be completed. Shortly after its execution, Paul, promised "[m]edals all round," is bundled back into a plane bound for home. Sure enough, he emerges from the hush-hush affair with a knighthood and the unspoken thanks of a grateful monarch. Three years later, however, he happens to run into Jeb and hears the ruined soldier tell a decidedly less glorious story of the operation that involves extraordinary rendition, a dead mother and child, and a callous coverup. At the same time, Quinn's Private Secretary Toby Bell also becomes painfully aware of irregularities in the official record and confronts Jay Crispin, the Houston-based head of the private intelligence firm Ethical Outcomes, for answers. What he gets instead are more questions and personal danger. Resolutely keeping potential action sequences just offstage, le Carré (Our Kind of Traitor, 2010, etc.) focuses instead on the moral rot and creeping terror barely concealed by the affable old-boy blather that marks the pillars of the intelligence community.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670014897
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/07/2013
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
702,909
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Praise for A DELICATE TRUTH
 
“At the moment a new generation is stumbling upon his work, le Carré is still writing at something close to the top of his game…. [A Delicate Truth] is an elegant yet embittered indictment of extraordinary rendition, American right-wing evangelical excess and the corporatization of warfare. It has a gently flickering love story and jangling ending. And le Carré has not lost his ability to sketch, in a line or two, an entire character.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times Magazine (front page)

“The narrative dominoes fall with masterly precision....As ever, le Carré’s prose is fluid, carrying the reader toward an inevitable yet nail-biting climax.”—Olen Steinhauer, The New York Times Book Review

“Timelier than ever.”—The New York Times
 
“Well-wrought….A sharply sketched gallery of characters.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“Le Carré is fiercely modern…a confluence of styles, voices, approaches….A novel that beckons us beyond any and all expectations.”—Washington Post

“[L]e Carré is...at full power with a book that draws on a career’s worth of literary skill and international analysis. No other writer has charted—pitilessly for politicians but thrillingly for readers—the public and secret histories of his times.”—The Guardian (UK)
 
“Gorgeous writing. It’s sophisticated storytelling at its very best.”—USA Today
 
“A ripping, fun yarn.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
“Loyalty to the crown is tested; consciences are checked; and nothing is more terrifying than, as this novel’s protagonist puts it, ‘a solitary decider’ asking himself how on earth he talked himself into this mess.”—The Daily Beast
 
“A remarkably assured touch…. [Le Carré] has maintained full control of his prodigious literary talents.”—SF Gate

“The dirty deeds are brutal and crude. And so is the cover-up.”—The Huffington Post
 
“Heady and absorbing....John le Carré remains in full command of both the craft of writing and the art of espionage.”—Christian Science Monitor
 
“Le Carré further establishes himself as a master of a new, shockingly realistic kind of noir.”—Booklist (Starred)

“This is a guaranteed hair-raising cerebral fright, especially for anyone who enjoyed Robert Harris’s The Ghost or who just knows his or her email account has been hacked.”—Library Journal (Starred)

“Le Carré focuses on the moral rot and creeping terror barely concealed by the affable old-boy blather that marks the pillars of the intelligence community.”—Kirkus Reviews (Starred)

“A great story in sterling prose.”—Publishers Weekly

“Le Carré proves himself a master of character development.”—The Millions
 
“Another breathtakingly good work…. [the] story hurtles along with the speed of light.”—Newsday

“The upper register of a great writer’s oeuvre. Knowledge is not power in the novel: John le Carré believes that truth, difficult and generous on its own, can also kill you.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
 
“Characteristically clever.”—The Kansas City Star

“Stylish, taut storytelling….One of our finest writers.”—Tampa Bay Times
 
“Witty as it is insightful….A Delicate Truth is a delightful read that unnerves as it entertains.”—The Columbus Dispatch
 
“The master storyteller, le Carré, is still at war. His foes now are legion. But his battles, and his novels, are flooded with light and hope. He pins his faith, and that of his readers, on the fundamental decency of those most vulnerable and quirky of warriors – the average joes.”—OregonLive.com

“Vintage le Carré.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 
“A career’s worth of literary skill and international analysis…..No other writer has chartered…the public and secret history of his times.”—The Guardian (UK)

“Remarkable….[A Delicate Truth] displays the mastery of the early and the passion of late Le Carré.”—Robert McCrum, The Observer (UK)

“Writing of such quality that…it will be read in one hundred years….[Le Carré] found his canvas in espionage, as Dickens did in other worlds. The two men deserve comparison.”—Daily Mail (UK)

“The tension ratchets up superbly as revelation follows on revelation….[Le Carré] is a writer of towering gifts, whose fiction appeals to a reading public both popular and serious….A talent to provoke as well as unsettle.”—The Independent (UK)
 

Meet the Author

New York Times bestselling author John le Carré (A Delicate Truth and Spy Who Came in from the Cold) 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.

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A Delicate Truth: A Novel 3.6 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 41 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Delicate Truth is a total joy to read. Classic in style while remaining current with wonderful characters as only le Carre can create. The exploration of ' soldiers for hire' supported financially by wealthy political blocs with an agenda is fascinating and their collaboration with duplicitous politicians elected to 'serve' from both sides of the ocean is perfection. As always le Carre has a deft understanding of the capacity for those in power to justify anything and for those who serve to be outraged and sometimes do something. I know I will read this again as I have so many of le Carre's creations, just to savor his style and descriptive sentences -such beautiful sentences- that make one go back just to taste them again !
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
In the present atmosphere of clandestine operations, the result of which the public has been ill-informed and too often kept in the dark, John Le Carre has fashioned a novel built around a bungled black op covered up for three years. The story begins with the hatching of “Operation Wildfire,” comprising British special force soldiers and American mercenaries employed by a private company. The aim is to capture an arms dealer who, according to intelligence, is to visit the British colony of Gibraltar. A Foreign Office functionary is selected to be the on-the-spot eyes-and-ears for a minister of Her Majesty, nominally in charge of the operation. Like many such actions, it results in failure, but is declared a total success, despite the fact that two innocents are killed and the subject never captured. Three years later, various persons, directly or tangentially, separately begin to question the silence and attempt to uncover the facts. The promised “transparency” never seems to arrive. After a somewhat muddled beginning, in which Mr. Le Carre jumps all around, a bit confusing to the reader, he begins to move the plot straightforwardly and with dispatch. The author raises the basic question of right and wrong, also lambasting the use of private armies to wage “little wars” around the globe and old boy networks where mistakes are covered up and witnesses bought off. A topic that is, unhappily, very timely. Recommended.
Patarma6 More than 1 year ago
A very fine example of the kind of self-serving chicanery that may never see the light of day. One has to wonder whether or not "fiction" is a vehicle to reveal a "truth".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to work to read this book but it was worth it. The problem was the many characters he introduced. I finally kept a written list of their names and referred to the list when I got confused.
emeka More than 1 year ago
le Carre returns to the yarns and convoluted stories which we so much enjoy. His characters are believable and true to form . There are no great surprises but a warm feeling of a good read .
CMAJORME More than 1 year ago
Author usually subtle ironic but this is perfunctory,a screed that has, of late become his Output. I long for the early LeCarres return.
MartaGS More than 1 year ago
Very up-to-date but not as psychologically grabbing as his earlier books.
smjazz More than 1 year ago
Some of LeCarre's recent novels have been thin on the character development and plot twists that have distinguished his earlier work. While perhaps still not as gripping as the Smiley trilogy, A Delicate Truth was for me his best work in a number of years. The main characters are more fully developed and we learn more about them and in the case of Kit his family. The nature of the story and its moral are very apropos in today's world of hidden government and private contractors. And the ending was just right for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Exceptional.  Would that our elected leaders would read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Return to fine form This is Le Carré's best novel since The Constant Gardener. He is my favorite contemporary writer, and I read all his books. In my opinion, Le Carré's output was somewhat erratic in late 80s and 90s, as the Cold War ended. Still fine novels, interesting reads, but not on par with his Smiley classics of 1970s. Then, Le Carré had a hit in The Constant Gardener - his best novel, I think, since The Little Drummer Girl. It was followed by a number of rather less enticing stories. And now, finally, A Delicate Truth: edgy, well-constructed, spot-on story of post-recession, post-privacy, post-democracy world of corporate power that we live in. This is just as relevant as The Constant Gardener was 12 years ago and, if anything, is even better laid out, but just as chillingly realistic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent read
Fyodor More than 1 year ago
This is a fabulous read. If you like well-plotted novels with memorable characters, you'll love this book. Le Carre has never been better. Dale
Anonymous 28 days ago
The story is slow to start but once you figure out the characters, it moves along. The ending is horrible. It stops right in the middle of some action and you have no idea how things are resolved. Worse ending ever!
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If you don't know John le carre you should start with this novel. Good espionage in post cold war world, with current affairs mirroring front page news. Pales with the spy who came in from the cold, and does not even resemble this writer's earlier writing, but the issues raised make you think.
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