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A Delicate Truth Hardcover – May 7, 2013
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“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)
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Top Customer Reviews
Now comes his 23rd novel, "A Delicate Truth." If you are hoping this title suggests le Carré has written about espionage that is sophisticated and civilized --- espionage as an art form --- you should leave now with your illusions intact. In these pages, the dirty deeds are brutal and crude. And so is the cover-up.
What is delicate? In these pages, most of the action occurs in England. For the first time in a le Carré novel, it's Brit against Brit. They wear good clothes and went to good schools and they sure can talk the talk --- when they speak of protecting our freedom from terrorists, they're quite moving.
So"delicate" is an irony. That cool English charm has worn thin. The bad guys? They're in the government, or were. Since the end of the Cold War, le Carré's books have been moving in this direction. It took George Bush ("The US has gone mad") and Tony Blair ("A leader who takes his country to war under false pretenses is simply not an acceptable person") to concentrate le Carré's disgust.
Thrillers may be his traditional literary category, but that no longer describes his work. The author of "A Delicate Truth" has become a moralist, enraged that the powerful commit great crimes, lie and get away with it. In essence, he's writing the books that Charles Dickens would be writing now. For that alone, I say: three cheers.Read more ›
In "A Delicate Truth," le Carre examines the delicate fragility of democracy, the delicate concepts of personal freedoms and equity that underlay the foundations of democracy. The author peers through the looking glass and asks the question: are the great democracies of western civilization sliding towards the same corruption of third world, developing countries, corruption in which leaders pursue power and greed with no concerns for moral ambiguity, as long as they avoid personal consequences.
Le Carre explores the potential conflicts and entanglements of the modern military and secret service use of contracting traditional services far beyond anything Eisenhower envisioned in his: beware the power of the military-industrial complex. Toby Bell is a young, rapidly rising, mid-level officer in the Foreign Service, a Private Secretary to the overly ambitious Quinn, Assistant Director of the Foreign Office. Quinn launches into a secretive operation, but keeps Toby completely isolated from the action, although he suspects an illegal operation. But his mentors tell him to stay out of the way to protect his career. The story begins with Toby breaking the law in an amateur attempt to expose Quinn.Read more ›
Three years later one of the members of the operation approaches others involved to assist in going public with events as he has been hung out to dry by his masters.
From here the 'system" begins to close in on the three who have decided to bring the failed operation to public attention.
The book has a very small cast of characters but the way it is written there is a continual build up of tension right to the end. It almost a 'tilting at windmills' tale as three or four men decide to follow their conscience rather than take easy options which are made to them.
A great cameo from a character called 'Brigid' fantastic dialogue from her.
All in all it shows that Mr Cornwell still has what it takes to write a decent thriller even though he is becoming more overt and much less subtle in a dislike for certain aspects of government.
Not a huge book or a long read but money well spent.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is typical Le Carre. If you don't like him ,don't bother. I like him and the yarn was exactly as I expectedPublished 7 days ago by Joe O'Sullivan
Excellent thriller!! I first listened to the audiobook narrated by Le Carré himself, with an incredible array of English accents. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Elsa Soriano
Once again another stellar novel by such an accomplished author. Complex, inventive and and compelling.Published 17 days ago by Amazon Customer
Forward flashes. Back flashes. Characters with aliases. Have a pen and notepad with you to keep track. Otherwise you're lost midway through.Published 26 days ago by Michael J. Gray
John Le Carré’s ‘A Delicate Truth’ harks back to the classic Smiley novels in many respects. Yet the subjects treated in the book are far more up-to-date. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Enrico Grafitti
Disappointing. The first Le Carre book that seems to me to be a failure. Le Carre has let his dislike of modern government - in particular, it seems, Tony Blair's New Labour - to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ken Nielsen
Suspense and a complex plot meet your gaze at every page. Toby is a very likeable, courageous character that anybody would value as a friend.Published 1 month ago by hermesnessy
I bought this for Kindle reading. It was a mistake.The characters' names change, the time periods change and side stories all combine to make this book unreadable on Kindle. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Stephen Maturin
The writing was sophisticated, greatly paced and Le Carre had lots of characters in a story that, by the end, left anyone with any moral fibre gasping for air. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kamiyahagi