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A Delicate Truth

A Delicate Truth

3.6 40
by John le Carré

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, SpyThe Spy Who Came in from the Cold; and The Night Manager, now a television series starring Tom Hiddleston. 

John le Carré’s memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life is now available


From the New York Times bestselling author of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, SpyThe Spy Who Came in from the Cold; and The Night Manager, now a television series starring Tom Hiddleston. 

John le Carré’s memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life is now available from Viking. 

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

A counter-terrorist operation, code-named 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

Library Journal
As he approaches the microphone, he adjusts his tie as well as his accent, with just a hint of his Glaswegian upbringing on show, but not too much, of course. Man of the people. "Allegations have been made concerning an initiative undertaken by New Labour, supposedly in concert with the U.S. government and with the support of a fundamentalist U.S. conglomerate on the soil of gallant Gibraltar. I'm here to tell you unequivocally that no such initiative was sponsored by the British government," he lies, and takes a sip of water. Le Carré, the author of such 20th-century classics as The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, has nothing left to prove except that he can still be stung into turning out suspenseful, totally convincing political object lessons, as in his attack on the pharmaceutical industry in 2001's The Constant Gardener. His target of choice here is the mendacity of the British government and the easy camaraderie between the public and private sectors. VERDICT 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. [See Prepub Alert, 11/12/12.]—Bob Lunn, Kansas City, MO

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
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Penguin Group
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File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

John le Carré 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 0 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 More than 1 year 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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